back to article NASA space shuttle landing site to turn commercial

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 …


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  1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

    Isn't going to work

    There is a reason that high risk space startups who need to build things to fail are in Nevada, rather than sharing a federal facility in a national park in a state with some "interesting" political issues.

  2. Don Jefe

    Instant Commercial Spaceport, Just Add Spacecraft

    I've got a buddy whose thing is elevated highways and rail lines. He's been in China for six or seven years helping the Chinese build these insanely high capacity highways. The engineering is impressive, in a function over form kind of way. The photos are awesome, and very surreal.

    There are no cars on a lot of those highways, very, very few anyway. That's exactly what I expect with this as well. It's going to cost approximately 1 years GDP just to fight off the wetlands preservation people and there still isn't going to be anything space bound happening there. They'd have much better returns if they made it a giant bowling alley.

    1. noominy.noom

      Re: Instant Commercial Spaceport, Just Add Spacecraft

      @Don Jefe

      Not sure why you think any new conservation fights would happen. The runway has been there and in use for several decades. And the surrounding facilities. I don't think any new land would need to acquired to make it a commercial space port.

      I agree though that they would get better returns by making it a giant bowling alley.

      Not that it matters or you care, but I'm not the downvoter. I normally think your comments are well thought out and frequently will upvote. I'm neutral on this comment.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Instant Commercial Spaceport, Just Add Spacecraft

      Posting anonymously because I'm involved in this . . .

      There's about 40 acres of wetlands which will have to be relocated/restored at this site. Since this is a Gubmint facility, they'll just go ahead and do it. Wildlife is VERY protected at KSC, so much so that wild hogs have become such a problem that the feds are seriously considering allowing people to enter the KSC restricted areas to hunt them - crossbows only, no firearms. It is one of the few places where the deer have F-16s as a backup.

      The REAL environmental fight is just up the road - Space Florida wants two twenty acre plots (of the 165,000 acres in the wildlife preserve) at the north border of KSC for a pair of vertical launch facilities. The environmentalists have gone absolutely nuts - and the FAA is doing a $5MM environmental impact study for the area. "We're all gonna die!" is one of the MILDER allegations, they are worried that "terrorists might shoot down the rockets" and "I-95 will have to be closed for the launches" (they didn't do it for the Shuttle or Saturn 5s, these rockets are downright puny in comparison, but never let the facts interfere with a good panic attack).

      Fun for all, stay tuned.

  3. Martin Budden Bronze badge

    Ken Block

    Just lease it to Ken Block and rake in the money from energy drink sponsors. Plus, you'll get more awesome YouTube clips of incredible driving skills.

  4. Martin Budden Bronze badge

    mixed units

    4,600-meter* concrete runway... ...speeds of 226mph

    Grrr. I really really HATE mixed units. How come a supposedly techie site is even worse at this than the average press? Please stick to either SI units or official El Reg units.

    *what were all those meters measuring, anyway? Oh, you meant "metre". Sheesh, you couldn't even get that right.

    1. Captain DaFt


      “A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds, adored by little statesmen and philosophers and divines. With consistency a great soul has simply nothing to do."

    2. Annihilator

      Re: mixed units

      The metric system is the tool of the devil!! My car gets 40 rods to the hogshead, and that's the way I likes it

      1. Martin Budden Bronze badge
        Thumb Up

        Re: mixed units

        My car gets 40 rods to the hogshead

        Mine gets about 0.1 square millimetres.

    3. Vic

      Re: mixed units

      > Grrr. I really really HATE mixed units.

      Don't buy tyres, then.

      Mine are 205/60R16C. So they're 205mm wide, with the sidewall height being 60% of that, to fit on a 16 inch wheel...


  5. Vic

    My mate flew along this runway

    He overflew in a PA28.

    Apparently, it's *so* big you feel like you've landed, even though you're still at 1000 feet...


  6. Swarthy Silver badge

    I could see Skylon using this

    It should be out of political limbo about the same time Reaction Engines Ltd has the Skylon ready to go. As REL is a commercial entity and not (overly) beholden to any one government, Florida could be a useful Spaceport for them; especially if the US gov't cures its chronic case of rectal-cranial inversion and makes travel in/into the country less violating.

  7. Anonymous Vulture

    So once again we're going to..

    ..subsidize a private business which is highly unlikely to get off the ground -terrible pun, I know- with the fruits of Government spending.

    I am not saying I have a better idea of what to do with that much reinforced concrete, but there has to be something better than giving it away in support of a yet to be determined business that is likely to need additional government funding and/or tax breaks. Oh and that is not to mention the additional environmental impact of draining and filling more wetlands.

    The idea behind capitalism was to let businesses succeed or fail based on their merits. Clearly this definition has been replaced by the one where businesses are launched on the whims of lobbyists and politicians and succeed based on how well they repay those who back them.

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