Elon Musk has announced that SpaceX has begun constructing a launchpad for its Starship rockets in Florida. It is located in Cape Canaveral.
SpaceX has reportedly begun constructing a launchpad for its Starship rockets in Cape Canaveral, Florida. Starship manufacturing and testing operations currently take place from the company’s facilities at Boca Chica, Texas, which has seen numerous launches and test flights of SpaceX’s prototype rockets over the years. In fact, with the influence of SpaceX on Boca Chica, Musk has lobbied for the town to be renamed Starbase, Texas.
SpaceX has also already launched its Falcon 9 and Falcon Heavy rockets from Launch Complex 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The launches took place from facilities leased from the U.S. space agency as part of a 20-year lease agreement signed by the two parties in 2014. The company also reportedly started building a Starship-specific launchpad at the same location in 2019, but the project was halted as the operations in Texas ramped up rapidly.
According to a tweet this Friday by Elon Musk, SpaceX has started the construction of a “Starship orbital launch pad” in Cape Canaveral. There is, however, no further information on the subject, including when the project will be completed and how much it will cost. Meanwhile, in another tweet a few hours later, Musk described LC-39A as “hallowed ground” and claimed that there’s no place more deserving of a Starship launchpad.
Construction of Starship orbital launch pad at the Cape has begun
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) December 3, 2021
SpaceX : NASA Is Not Providing Funding For The New Infrastructure
In a statement to CNBC, NASA confirmed that SpaceX has restarted work at the LC-39A complex and said that the company is within its rights to modify or construct new infrastructure “within the boundaries of the pad.” The agency further clarified that it is not providing SpaceX with any funding for the new construction. Per the report, NASA initially gave SpaceX permission to start construction at the site in 2019. However, the plan only covers the construction of new infrastructure, which means SpaceX will still need additional permission for launches and landings.
LC-39A is the first of Launch Complex 39’s two launchpads and has been the preferred takeoff site for most of NASA’s Apollo missions and space shuttle flights. Along with LC-39B, it was initially designed for the Saturn V launch vehicle and has been used to launch multiple crewed spaceflight missions by NASA over the past several decades. Now, with SpaceX renewing its work on the site, Launch Complex 39A is expected to be the base for several Starship test flights next year, provided it can ramp up its Raptor engine production to prevent the company from going bankrupt.