SpaceX plans its own futuristic patch at the Kennedy Space Center

SpaceX and NASA are getting serious. Elon Musk’s private space business has put forward plans to have a bigger, permanent presence at the Kennedy Space Center (KSC) in Florida, with a brand new launch control centre, hanger and rocket garden across a vacant 67 acres of land. It’s the astronautic equivalent of going to the next step in relationship, only with clothes and toiletries replaced with spaceships and computer equipment.

SpaceX plans its own futuristic patch at the Kennedy Space Center

The draft plans are pretty ambitious: a 133,000-square-foot hangar; a 280,000-square-foot utilities yard; a 2,500-foot security centre; a rocket garden to display historic space vehicles (minus hazardous materials); and a 300-foot tall control centre, which looks a bit like an emaciated Eve from Wall-E overlooking everything.spacex_plans_its_own_futuristic_patch_at_the_kennedy_space_center_-_3

Within Eve’s head, there will be a data centre; a firing room; an engineering room; a customer controle centre; meeting spaces; and control centres for Falcon 9, Falcon Heavy and Dragon vehicles. The viewing windows will give a clear view of SpaceX’s two nearby launch pads: 39A at KSC and 30 a few miles to the south at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. A nearby parking lot will host up to 200 cars – presumably with electric car chargers for Teslas, given Musk’s other business.

Explaining the proposal, James Gleeson a SpaceX spokesman said: “As SpaceX’s launch cadence and manifest for missions from Florida continues to grow, we are seeking to expand our capabilities and streamline operations to launch, land and re-fly our Falcon family of rockets.”spacex_plans_its_own_futuristic_patch_at_the_kennedy_space_center_-_2

The KSC, for its part, says that the plans chime nicely with the aim to turn itself into a multi-user spaceport following the retirement of the NASA space shuttle in 2011. SpaceX’s involvement, it says, will “support the NASA goal of encouraging activities by the private sector to strengthen and expand U.S. space transportation infrastructure.”

The draft environmental report – which is open to public comment for the next month – stated that there were no negative impacts listed. Other than detailing the estimate of 63 launches per year, it’s pretty light on key details. There’s no suggestion of cost, or how many jobs will be created, for example.

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