Feeds

NASA space shuttle landing site to turn commercial

Florida facility to be repurposed for private spaceplane use

5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup

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. ®

Boost IT visibility and business value

More from The Register

next story
China building SUPERSONIC SUBMARINE that travels in a BUBBLE
Shanghai to San Fran in two hours would be a trick, though
Our LOHAN spaceplane ballocket Kickstarter climbs through £8000
Through 25 per cent but more is needed: Get your UNIQUE rewards!
Cutting cancer rates: Data, models and a happy ending?
How surgery might be making cancer prognoses worse
Boffins ID freakish spine-smothered prehistoric critter: The CLAW gave it away
Bizarre-looking creature actually related to velvet worms
CRR-CRRRK, beep, beep: Mars space truck backs out of slippery sand trap
Curiosity finds new drilling target after course correction
SpaceX prototype rocket EXPLODES over Texas. 'Tricky' biz, says Elon Musk
No injuries or near injuries. Flight stayed in designated area
Brit balloon bod Bodnar overflies North Pole
B-64 amateur ultralight payload approaching second circumnavigation
prev story

Whitepapers

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.
Endpoint data privacy in the cloud is easier than you think
Innovations in encryption and storage resolve issues of data privacy and key requirements for companies to look for in a solution.
Scale data protection with your virtual environment
To scale at the rate of virtualization growth, data protection solutions need to adopt new capabilities and simplify current features.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?