Space News | Congressmen Register Concern Over Possible Exclusive Lease of Pad 39A
Congressmen Register Concern Over Possible Exclusive Lease of Pad 39A
By Dan Leone | Space News | July 22, 2013
WASHINGTON — Two members of the House Appropriations subcommittee that funds NASA, including the chairman, are concerned that the agency might lease out an old space shuttle launch pad at Kennedy Space Center in Florida on an exclusive basis.
In a July 22 letter to NASA Administrator Charles Bolden, U.S. Rep. Frank Wolf (R-Va.), chairman of the House Appropriations commerce justicescience subcommittee, along with colleague Rep. Robert Aderholt (R-Ala.) also said NASA was planning to let Pad 39A go too cheaply, and for too long a period: up to 20 years.
But “above all, we question we question the seeming desire by NASA to lease LC-39A to a single user for sole use rather than to an entity that would ensure that the pad was re-developed as a multi-user pad,” the lawmakers wrote. A copy of the letter was obtained by SpaceNews.
Wolf and Aderholt identify the company in question, but a congressional source said it is Space Exploration Technologies Corp. (SpaceX) of Hawthorne, Calif. SpaceX, which is already hauling cargo to the international space station for NASA, is seeking launch facilities besides those it already has at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, which is co-located with Kennedy, and Vandenberg Air Force Base in California.
Also bidding for Pad 39A is Blue Origin, the Kent, Wash., company that is quietly working on various vehicles for suborbital and orbital spaceflight. A Blue Origin executive told SpaceNews the company was interested in Pad 39A for future orbital operations.
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