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WASHINGTON — SpaceX plans to significantly expand its footprint at NASA's Kennedy Space Center, a sign that its Falcon 9 and Falcon Heavy rockets will play a key role for the company for years to come even as it develops a more powerful vehicle.
A draft environmental assessment by NASA, dated April 11 but only recently released, discusses a proposal by SpaceX to develop facilities that would include a booster processing hangar and launch control center on 67 acres of KSC property. News of the plan was first reported by Florida Today.
Action - Order - Cost - Operation - Space
"This action is needed in order to increase the effective and cost efficient operation of space flight by providing Space X [sic] with facilities to support staff in planning, processing, and operating launches as part of their current returnable, re-usable space vehicles program (Falcon 9 and the Falcon Heavy)," the environmental assessment document states.
"The Proposed Action is necessary to support the growing Falcon 9 and Falcon Heavy launch manifest at LC-39A and LC-40," the two launch pads SpaceX currently uses at Cape Canaveral, according to the document. That includes up to 10 launches a year of the Falcon Heavy rocket, which made its first and, to date, only launch in February. The document doesn't mention how many Falcon 9 launches are expected, but the document anticipates up to 54 landings a year of the Falcon 9 first stage, either at Cape Canaveral or on a drone ship at sea.
Centerpiece - Facility - Control - Center - Launch
The centerpiece of the facility would be a new control center. "The launch control center is envisioned to be world-class, architecturally distinctive, and equipped for satellite, cargo, and crew missions," it states. Illustrations of the center include a tower up to 90 meters tall, along with other facilities to handle launch and landing operations and related activities.
The facility would also include a...
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