NASA on Thursday posted a “For Lease” sign on one of its space shuttle launch pads, as it continues to downsize and revamp the Kennedy Space Center following the program’s retirement.
The space agency is looking for a commercial company or companies to take over operations and maintenance of Launch Complex 39A beginning no later than Oct. 1. The lease would last at least five years.
“Such commercial use would not only preserve the pad against the deterioration that would result from nonuse, it would further support NASA in fulfilling its mandate to, ‘seek and encourage, to the maximum extent possible, the fullest commercial use of space,’” the agency wrote in its solicitation.
NASA intends to develop the shuttle’s second launch pad, 39B, for its heavy-lift Space Launch System rocket and Orion capsule, a follow-on to the space shuttle that is needed to send astronauts to destinations beyond the space station’s 250-mile (400-km) high orbit.
With SLS launches only expected every year or two years, NASA also is looking for commercial partners to use pad 39B as well.
Proposals for Pad 39A are due by July 5.
Image: KSC’s Launch Complex 39 is strategically located next to a barge site and a variety of structures, including a Vehicle Assembly Building (VAB), Orbiter Processing Facilities (OPF), Press Site, Launch Control Center (LCC), and a crawlerway to the pads. Credit: NASA