Feeds

NASA space shuttle landing site to turn commercial

Florida facility to be repurposed for private spaceplane use

A new approach to endpoint data protection

The Florida facility used by NASA as a landing site for its retired space shuttle fleet could see new life as a commercial spacecraft facility.

Local news station WFTV reports that the US space agency is in talks with the state's Space Florida agency on plans that would turn the portion of the Kennedy Space Center previously used to land the shuttle into a commercial space flight center.

The 4,600-meter concrete runway had served as one of several facilities capable of handling the shuttle on its returns from space. The reusable craft relied on the extended runway to complete a glider-like landing process which saw the shuttle touch down at speeds of 226mph following re-entry from orbit.

Following the 2011 retirement of the shuttle fleet, NASA was faced with the task of repurposing much of the infrastructure used to support the program. While some of the assembly and maintenance facilities have been adapted for use in other projects, the decision by NASA to adopt a capsule-like craft in the Orion program rather than another glider design meant the landing strip would no longer be needed.

According to WFTV, NASA and Space Florida are looking at a plan that will extend one side of the current runway to house a multi-use spaceport. Initial plans would call for federal approval to build in the surrounding wetlands region, followed by official handover of the facility from NASA to Space Florida, at which point construction work on the commercial facility could begin.

The report has yet to name possible tenants for the facility. While the SpaceX corporation has set up one of its launch sites in Cape Canaveral, the company has thus far relied on rockets and capsules which would not require a runway.

Richard Branson's Virgin Galactic has used extended runways to land its SpaceShipTwo suborbital commercial craft, but that company has thus far opted to focus its operations on the other side of the country in the Mojave Desert. ®

The Essential Guide to IT Transformation

More from The Register

next story
Just TWO climate committee MPs contradict IPCC: The two with SCIENCE degrees
'Greenhouse effect is real, but as for the rest of it ...'
Asteroid's DINO KILLING SPREE just bad luck – boffins
Sauricide WASN'T inevitable, reckon scientists
Brit amateur payload set to complete full circle around PLANET EARTH
Ultralight solar radio tracker in glorious 25,000km almost-space odyssey
Boffins spot weirder quantum capers as neutrons take the high road, spin takes the low
Cheshire cat effect see neutrons and their properties walk different paths
NASA Mars rover FINALLY equals 1973 Soviet benchmark
Yet to surpass ancient Greek one, however
Famous 'Dish' radio telescope to be emptied in budget crisis: CSIRO
Radio astronomy suffering to protect Square Kilometre Array
prev story

Whitepapers

7 Elements of Radically Simple OS Migration
Avoid the typical headaches of OS migration during your next project by learning about 7 elements of radically simple OS migration.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Solving today's distributed Big Data backup challenges
Enable IT efficiency and allow a firm to access and reuse corporate information for competitive advantage, ultimately changing business outcomes.
A new approach to endpoint data protection
What is the best way to ensure comprehensive visibility, management, and control of information on both company-owned and employee-owned devices?