Dec 13 NASA will turn over one of its mothballed
space-shuttle launch pads to privately owned Space Exploration
Technologies, or SpaceX, which intends to set up a second site
in Florida for its Falcon rockets, officials said on Friday.
NASA's decision to lease out Launch Pad 39A at the Kennedy
Space Center in Florida to SpaceX followed a challenge by rival
bidder Blue Origin, a startup rocket company owned by Amazon
founder Jeff Bezos.
On Thursday, the Government Accountability Office dismissed
Blue Origin's protest over NASA's bidding process. Privately
owned Blue Origin had proposed a multi-user concept for the
In its ruling, the GAO said NASA was free to consider both
exclusive and multi-use operational concepts for the launch pad.
GAO's review of the protest delayed NASA's plan to turn over
the launch pad by Oct. 1, 2013. NASA has said it spends around
$100,000 a month to maintain the site.
The terms of the lease agreement with SpaceX were not
"NASA will begin working with SpaceX to negotiate the terms
of its lease for LC-39A. During those ongoing negotiations, NASA
will not be able to discuss details of the pending lease
agreement," the agency said in a statement.
SpaceX already is flying its Falcon rockets from a leased
launch pad at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, just south of
the NASA spaceport. It also has a launch pad at Vandenberg Air
Force Base in California, and is considering developing a
commercial complex in Texas.
The company, founded and run by technology entrepreneur Elon
Musk, has a backlog of more than 50 missions for NASA and