Plans To Initiate Falcon 9 Commercial Operations At Cape In Q4
Fledgling commercial space launch provider SpaceX announced
Wednesday it has been granted an Operational License by the US Air
Force for the use of Space Launch Complex 40 (SLC-40) at Cape
Canaveral Air Force Station on the Florida coast.
Receipt of the license, in conjunction with the approved Site
Plan, paves the way for SpaceX to initiate Falcon 9 launch
operations later this year.
As ANN reported, SpaceX broke ground on the
facility in November 2007.
"We are developing Falcon 9 to be a valuable asset to the
American space launch fleet," said Elon Musk, CEO and CTO of
SpaceX. "The support we received from General Helms and the US Air
Force has been immensely helpful in developing the pathfinder
processes necessary for SpaceX to realize commercial space flights
from the Cape."
"Our developments at Complex 40 continue with great speed,"
added Brian Mosdell, Director of Florida Launch Operations for
SpaceX. "We have moved our massive oxygen storage tank into place,
and expect to complete construction of our hangar later this
Mosdell cited other supporters instrumental to SpaceX’s
efforts including the members of the Florida congressional
delegation, the USAF Space Command, Col. Scott Henderson,
Commander, 45th Launch Group, Col. (ret.) Mark Bontrager, formerly
Commander of the 45th Mission Support Group, the public-private
partnership Space Florida, and the Space Coast Economic Development
In operation since 1965, and located south of NASA’s
launch sites for the Apollo moon missions and Space Shuttle
flights, SLC-40 has hosted numerous historic launches, including
the departure of two interplanetary missions: the Mars Observer
satellite, and the Cassini spacecraft now exploring the rings and
moons of the planet Saturn.
SpaceX is developing a family of launch vehicles -- Falcon 1,
Falcon 9 and Falcon 9 Heavy -- to increase the reliability and cost
effectiveness of both manned and unmanned space transportation.
Falcon 9 is a two-stage, liquid oxygen and rocket grade kerosene
powered launch vehicle, offering reliability derived from the
nine-engine, single tank first stage configuration.