For Rent: Slightly Used Space Shuttle Launchpad

Kennedy Space Center is looking for tenants
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 21, 2012 12:50 PM CST
For Rent: Slightly Used Space Shuttle Launchpad
Ponds surrounding the launchpad for Space Shuttle Discovery reflect the orbiter's flame during liftoff Tuesday Oct. 23, 2007 at the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Fla.   (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara)

Wondering where to park your space shuttle? Consider Cape Canaveral's Kennedy Space Center. "We’re putting out the word officially and unofficially that Kennedy Space Center is open for business," says a chief architect at the facility. "I have a lot of facilities that we, NASA, no longer need," adds Kennedy’s director. "I don’t have the money to maintain them, I don’t have the money to tear them down. They’re just going to sit and rot"—unless someone rents them out. The available facilities include a launchpad, two mobile launch platforms, two maintenance hangars, and a 15,000-foot runway.

It's a sad state of affairs as the spaceport turns 50, having seen 9,000 employees laid off since 2009. The director's new vision is for NASA to share the center with private companies; indeed, SpaceX is one of the potential customers considering renting the shuttle launchpad. But the growth of a commercial space industry has slowed amid a lack of Congressional funding, the Washington Post notes. For now, Lockheed Martin is renting one "clean room" that was formerly used to prep Apollo capsules, and Boeing will move into one of the hangars and hopes to eventually employ 550 people. (Read more Kennedy Space Center stories.)

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