New Facilities To Loft Falcon 9 Rockets
Space Exploration Technologies Corp. (SpaceX) held official
ground breaking ceremonies Thursday at Space Launch Complex 40
(SLC-40) at the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, opening a new era
in commercial space operations. SLC-40 will be the primary launch
site for SpaceX's upcoming Falcon 9 launch vehicle, with operations
beginning in late 2008.
Located on the Florida coast, just south of NASA's launch site
for all Apollo moon missions and Space Shuttle flights, SLC-40 is
capable of supporting both the Falcon 9 and future Falcon 9 Heavy
missions. In operation since 1965, SLC-40 has hosted numerous
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.
"Initiating activities at the Cape in Florida is a major
milestone in our mission to decrease the cost of reliable access to
space," said Elon Musk, founder and CEO of SpaceX, at the
"This is truly the beginning of a new era in commercial space in
Florida and we are thrilled to help bring SpaceX to Florida"
commented Space Florida CEO Steve Kohler, who also participated in
The event included representatives from NASA, the US Air Force,
the FAA, Space Florida, the State of Florida, SpaceX and
representatives from the offices of US Senators Bill Nelson and Mel
Martinez. After the official groundbreaking ceremony, Space Florida
hosted a reception for all attendees.
In the coming months, SpaceX will perform extensive upgrades and
removal of outdated infrastructure to transform the site into a
state of the art facility for commercial satellite launches, supply
missions to the International Space Station (ISS), and eventually
lofting crew carrying missions to the ISS and future orbiting