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Businesses Space Science

Want To Buy a Used Spaceport? 99

Hugh Pickens writes writes "Want to buy a 15,000-foot landing strip? How about a place to assemble rocket ships or a parachute-packing plant? Have we got a deal for you. The Orlando Sentinel reports that with the cleanup and wind-down of the shuttle program, NASA is quietly holding a going-out-of-business sale for the its space-shuttle facilities including Launch Pad 39A, where shuttles were launched; space in the Vehicle Assembly Building, the iconic 526-foot-tall structure first used to assemble Saturn V-Apollo rockets; the Orbiter Processing Facilities, essentially huge garages where the shuttles were maintained; Hangar N and its high-tech test equipment; the launch-control center; and various other buildings and chunks of undeveloped property. 'The facilities out here can't be in an abandoned state for long before they become unusable,' says Joyce Riquelme, NASA's director of KSC planning and development. 'So we're in a big push over the next few months to either have agreements for these facilities or not.' The process is mostly secret, because NASA has agreed to let bidders declare their proposals proprietary, keeping them out of the view of competitors and the public. Frank DiBello, thinks the most attractive facilities are those that can support launches that don't use the existing pads at KSC and adjacent Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. 'Anything that still has cleaning capabilities or satellite-processing capabilities, the parachute facility, the tile facility, the OPF, all three of them, they have real value to the next generation of space activity,' says Frank DiBello, President of Space Florida, an Independent Special District of the State of Florida, created to foster the growth and development of a sustainable and world-leading space industry in Florida. 'If the infrastructure helps you reach market, then it has value. If it doesn't, then it's just a building, it's just a launchpad, and nobody wants it.'"
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Want To Buy a Used Spaceport?

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  • Nice trick NASA (Score:4, Interesting)

    by buttfuckinpimpnugget ( 662332 ) on Sunday January 06, 2013 @04:37PM (#42497981) Homepage
    Dump it on a rube, let them clean it up. No way that's not a toxic mess.
  • SLS? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by multi io ( 640409 ) <olaf.klischat@googlemail.com> on Sunday January 06, 2013 @04:55PM (#42498129)
    Aren't they supposed to use those facilities for the SLS [wikipedia.org]?
  • Re:Nice trick NASA (Score:5, Interesting)

    by anorlunda ( 311253 ) on Sunday January 06, 2013 @05:05PM (#42498207) Homepage

    That's no joke. The superfund law (i.e. The Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act of 1980) makes current owners or leaseholders responsible for cleanups even though a prior tenant did the pollution.

    My company almost got nailed by this on a property owned by New York State but was used by the federal governement for rocket research in 1947. We even found a V2 rocket wreck hidden in the bushes. Spilled rocket fuel was the contaminant. In the end, EPA had mercy on us because we were truly innocent and too poor to pay anyhow, but they could have nailed us.

    Now the site has been taken over by a brand new billion dollar semiconductor foundry. I sure hope the owners of that have made their peace with EPA.

    Any potential tenant of NASA land could have the same problem. IANAL so I don't know if NASA can grant them immunity to EPA's demands.

  • Re:Nice trick NASA (Score:5, Interesting)

    by anorlunda ( 311253 ) on Sunday January 06, 2013 @05:22PM (#42498351) Homepage

    You don't need pics. It was donated to The Smithsonian and is on display in D.C. (I think) in one of the Air & Space museums.

  • by lingon ( 559576 ) on Sunday January 06, 2013 @05:28PM (#42498377)

    The summary makes absolutely no mention at all of the next-gen rocket, SLS (capable of well over 100mT to orbit), which is being finished up.

    I didn't know they started using magnetic engines! ... and with a field strength of only 100 millitesla to orbit, that's perfectly alright, nice!

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday January 06, 2013 @09:11PM (#42499749)

    There was still a requirement to be near water because the Saturn V first and second stages were too large to be economically transported by any other means. Plus, launching from the east coast of Florida meant a clear path over water for the first and second stages, which had substantial safety benefits. Launching from anywhere in Texas could possibly have led to the second stage coming down somewhere in the southeastern U.S. in the event of a problem. Even if the launch had been made at the southernmost tip of Texas, the Saturn's trajectory would have still have crossed directly over Florida.

  • by hairyfeet ( 841228 ) <bassbeast1968 AT gmail DOT com> on Monday January 07, 2013 @01:16AM (#42501219) Journal
    That was actually something I find fascinating about the cold war, how much blatant theft was going on between the superpowers. You had Israel having one of their spies sleep with an Arab Christian pilot for nearly 3 years, just to get their hands on the MiG-21 (Steal The Sky has a good if watered down account), you had the Soviets actually buying a dud Sidewinder that had gotten lodged in the wing of a Chinese MiG 17 and using it to make copies so good of Sidewinder that you could mix and match parts from their Atoll and our Sidewinder and it would work perfectly, and when my grandfather was stationed in West Germany in the 50s and 60s he said if the Soviets ever wanted to take out our forward bases all they would have to do is send a single plane with a nuke as they had orders DO NOT FIRE if they detected a single Soviet plane as we had spread the word through our spy networks behind the curtain that there was a large bounty for each new MiG or Sukov and they didn't want to risk possibly shooting down somebody trying to collect the reward.

Think of it! With VLSI we can pack 100 ENIACs in 1 sq. cm.!