Who can forget the iconic events that happened from the Kennedy Space Center? The Apollo mission, for example, was one of the most historic – not just in space exploration, but also for mankind as a whole.
The Apollo mission – as proposed by President John F. Kennedy for whom the space center was named after – was drawn to a close in 1972. As such, it cannot be denied that there have been important facilities in the Space Center that have, regrettably, been neglected.
But all this is about to change as the 52-year-old John F. Kennedy Space Center opens its wings to more partners in the space exploration field, and slowly transitions to being a multi-user spaceport.
An overhaul, not just of its electronic and computer systems, but also of its infrastructures, has already begun. With the Space Center’s goal of being the premier spaceport not just in the US, but in the world, it is already undergoing the long-awaited work to bring its facilities back up to speed and even more up-to-date to make it ready for launches from both the government and the private sector.
In NASA’s video about this transition, they recognize the need for this new partnership to move forward into the future. They acknowledge that making their facilities available for commercial space flights is crucial for success in space exploration and in ushering in the next Space Age. By opening up their facilities to these commercial partners, they are assisting these companies in conducting their own space experiments and allowing its passengers to also experience outer space.
Aside from this branching out, the overhaul is also meant to prepare the Space Center for the next biggest event in space explorations, Orion. Orion, which is set to launch in 2030, is the first deep space exploration craft that will carry out manned space flights to Mars. In order for this mission to be a success, several teams, including that of the Kennedy Space Center, have to be able to help the development of the new US Space Launch System, which will, upon its completion, be the most advanced launch vehicle for deep space explorations beyond the lower orbit.
The Kennedy Space Center already has partnerships with Boeing and SpaceX, and has also leased several of its assets. Space Florida is using the Orbiter Processing Facility Bay 3, the Department of Defense, the OPF Bays 1 and 2, and SpaceX’s Falcon, Launch Complex 39A. Space Florida will also be given the control of the Shuttle Landing Facility in the near future.
Bob Cabana, the KSC Director, announced that they will soon issue an Announcement for Proposals that will make the process of leasing identified available land for commercial activities easier for all potential partners. He encourages all interested parties to create and submit their proposals.