Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.


Nasa picks Space Florida for landing strip

01 July 2013, 13:58

Cape Canaveral – Nasa has selected Space Florida, a state-backed economic development agency, to take over operations, maintenance and development of the space shuttle's idled landing site at the Kennedy Space Centre in Florida, officials said on Friday.

Terms of the agreement, which have not yet been finalised, were not disclosed, but Space Florida has made no secret about its desire to take over facilities no longer needed by Nasa to develop a multi-user commercial spaceport, somewhat akin to an airport or seaport.

The state already has a lease for one of the space shuttle's processing hangars, and an agreement with Boeing to use the refurbished facility for its planned commercial space taxi.

The so-called CST-100 is one of three spaceships under development in partnership with Nasa to fly astronauts to the International Space Station, a permanently staffed, $100bn research outpost that flies about 402km above Earth.

Nasa ended its 30-year space shuttle program in 2011, leaving Russia's Soyuz capsules as the sole means to transport crews to the station, a service that costs the United States more than $70m per person. Nasa hopes to buy rides commercially from a US company by 2017.

The shuttle's retirement left the Kennedy Space Centre loaded with equipment and facilities that are not needed in Nasa's new human space initiative, which includes a heavy-lift rocket and deep-space capsule for journeys to asteroids, the moon and other destinations beyond the space station's orbit.

Last year, Nasa solicited proposals for agencies or companies to take over the shuttle landing facility and its 4 572m runway, one of the longest in the world.

Additional landing site infrastructure includes an aircraft parking ramp, a landing aids control building, a 27m wide shuttle tow way, an air traffic control tower and a 2 137m² enclosure used by convoy vehicles that serviced the shuttles after landing.

In addition to shuttles returning from orbit, the runway is used by heavy transport aircraft, military cargo planes, T-38, Gulfstream G-2 and F-104 aircraft, and helicopters.

Space Florida would like that list to also include suborbital passenger ships, such as the two-seater Lynx space plane being developed by privately owned XCOR Aerospace, orbital vehicles like Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen's air-launched Stratolaunch Systems, and unmanned aircraft.

“We look forward to working with Nasa and KSC leadership in the coming months to finalise the details of this transaction in a way that will provide the greatest benefit to incoming commercial aerospace businesses,” Space Florida President Frank DiBello said in a statement.

Turning the shuttle landing facility over to a commercial operator will save Nasa more than $2m a year in operations and maintenance costs, documents posted on the agency's procurement website showed.

The landing facility also includes a 4 645m² hangar that Space Florida already owns. A commercial flight services company, Starfighters Aerospace, currently operates there.

Nasa said it received five bids for the shuttle landing facility, including the winning one.

The announcement that Space Florida had been chosen was made by Nasa administrator Charles Bolden who was in Florida for the opening of the shuttle Atlantis exhibit at the Kennedy Space Centre Visitor Complex.

Proposals to take over one of the shuttle's two launch pads are due on 5 July.

- Reuters

Tags nasa space

Read News24’s Comments Policy

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Read more from our Users

Nigeria @ 56: Words to my green f...

A leader’s job is not to dictate, but rather to be respected, admired and be a trustee, of the land we love, with so much potential, a land which should be freer than free. Its still a long way to fufilling our destiny! Read more...

Submitted by
Isaac Asabor263
Recession: An opportunity for Nig...

The recession should be seen as an opportunity for the country’s promotion as long as we all collectively conduct ourselves in a patriotic manner, writes Isaac Asabor.  Read more...

Submitted by
Black and White

We want to imitate the whites in everything because we are ignorant of our inherent originality and content. We spend all our Naira to acquire his inventions because we so oblivious of our natural endowments that we allow him have it for free. Read more...

Submitted by
Nate Nat
Adamawa State University Mubi: A ...

ADSU integrity forum has accused the Sunday Joshua Wugira, a lawyer, of adopting unorthodox tactics by abusing his privilege by attacking the integrity of ADSU Vice Chancellor Dr. Moses Zira Zaruwa, writes a News24 reader. Read more...

Submitted by
Abdulsalam Jubril
My Country Nigeria (Part One)

Poetry by Abdulsalam Jubril.

Submitted by
Abdulsalam Jubril
Recession, dearth in leadership a...

Every leader has the opportunity to become great and making himself immortal in the lives and hearts of people for generations to come. Will Mr. President seize this opportunity?, questions Abdulsalam Jubril. Read more...