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SpaceX in Talks with NASA to Use Space Shuttle Launch Pad for Falcon Heavy

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Buster's Uncle:

--- Quote ---SpaceX in Talks with NASA to Use Space Shuttle Launch Pad for Falcon HeavyBy Mark Whittington | Yahoo! Contributor Network – 20 hrs ago.. .


SpaceFlight Now is reporting SpaceX is in negotiations with NASA to use Pad 39A as the launch platform of the company's upcoming heavy lift launcher, the Falcon Heavy. Such an arrangement would permit the launching of a variety of large payloads.
 
What is the Falcon Heavy?

According to SpaceX, the Falcon Heavy is to be a launch vehicle capable of boosting 53 metric tons into low Earth orbit, almost twice the capacity of the now defunct space shuttle fleet. The first stage would consist of three Falcon cores, each with nine upgraded Merlin rocket engines. The second stage has a single Merlin engine. The company claims the price of using a Falcon Heavy to launch a payload would be $80 million to $125 million. This would constitute a great deal of savings over the heavy versions of the Delta IV and the Atlas V. The launch vehicle is to be man rated to satisfy NASA requirements.
 
A variety of payloads -- defense, NASA and commercial -- are contemplated for the Delta Heavy. Discovery News suggests a Mars sample return mission would be made more affordable with the launch vehicle. Robert Zubrin, an advocate of Mars exploration and settlement, proposed a human mission to the Red Planet using three launches of the Falcon Heavy.
 
A demonstration flight of the Falcon Heavy is planned from Vandenberg Air Force Base in 2013. There are no Florida launches manifested for the launch vehicle, but the Kennedy site is needed for any interplanetary payloads that might be launched.
 
What is Pad 39A?

Pad 39A, along with Pad 39B, was used to launch Apollo missions to the moon in the late 1960s and early 1970s as well as the Skylab mission, according to NASA. After the end of the Apollo program, the pads were modified to launch the space shuttles, which they did for three decades.
 
NASA also reports Pad 39B is being modified to be used to accommodate the Space Launch System, a heavy lift vehicle designed to launch the Orion Multi Purpose Crew Vehicle on expeditions beyond Low Earth orbit. The pad will also be able to accommodate a number of commercial launchers.
 
What modifications are needed to Pad 39A?


SpaceX contemplates assembling the Falcon Heavy and its payload in the horizontal position, rolling it up to the pad, and then moving it to the vertical position for launch.

--- End quote ---
http://news.yahoo.com/spacex-talks-nasa-space-shuttle-launch-pad-falcon-203500798.html

Unorthodox:
Told ya.  Red tape.   :(

(gotta see if I can somehow weasel a trip to VAFB for that launch...)

Buster's Uncle:
It's agravating, isn't it?  The need to have something that isn't NASA, emasculated by Washington trolls, doesn't change that NASA is bound to be a huge customer needed to get off the ground.  There's no escaping the trolls.

Unorthodox:
It's stupid for NASA as well, that's what I don't get.  Do the modifications and make a deal that SpaceX provides X number NASA launches.  Or, have them pay for the modifications and rent out the tower every time they need to launch, netting you an actual income. 

If NASA is going to go private, it needs to be all in, not this half assed BS. 

Buster's Uncle:
NASA hasn't done anything with a whole behind in about 40 years, though.  It's the poli-trolls second-guessing and sabotaging everything, I tells ya.  I'd venture that a wise business model would plan on milking NASA initially, but hope to grow beyond needing to deal with that bureaucratic nightmare long-term...

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