NASA to Lease Out Old Shuttle Launch Pad
May 20, 2013 | WMFE - Wanted: commercial space company to maintain and launch from an old shuttle pad. NASA isn't using the pad anymore, and the space agency can't afford to maintain it.
[Photo: Space shuttle Endeavor on launch pad 39A]
39A was one of two launch pads used by the shutte program. The pad originally was built for the Apollo program.
But NASA says it doesn't need the pad for its next mission – to land on an asteroid and eventually Mars. Scott Colloredo of Kennedy Space Center says NASA is soliciting proposals to lease the pad.
"NASA funding for performing the operations and maintenance is no longer available. And so that will be ending, and we prefer to take this action while the pad is still in a fairly useful state."
NASA says the appeal is part of Kennedy Space Center's transition after the shuttle program toward commercial space flight. The space agency is renovating pad 39B so it can accommodate commercial spacecraft and NASA's next vehicle, Orion.
NASA also will consider bids from consortiums and state agencies. Candidates have to demonstrate their financial capability and technical experience. Leases will extend at least five years. Proposals are due in about a month.