Air Force expects more Cape Canaveral launches in 2014

Space Coast could see as many as 21 launches this year

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CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. - The Space Coast could see as many as 21 launches this year, the Air Force's 45th Space Wing reported Tuesday.

According to Local 6 News partner Florida Today, that would be a 50 percent increase over last year, which saw 14 launches of spacecraft on Atlas V, Delta IV and Falcon 9 rockets, plus submarine-launched Trident missile tests.

United Launch Alliance is preparing an Atlas V rocket for a Jan. 23 launch of a NASA Tracking and Data Relay satellite, the first of its 10 local launches planned this year.

SpaceX already has one Falcon 9 launch of a commercial satellite under its belt this year, and is targeting a Feb. 22 launch of cargo to the International Space Station for NASA.

The 45th Space Wing is also launching what it calls a "year of innovation," striving to improve efficiencies and performance with a tighter budget, said its commander, Brig. Gen. Nina Armagno, during a presentation to the National Space Club Florida Committee in Cape Canaveral.

The space club presented the 2013 Forrest S. McCartney National Defense Space Award to Air Force Capt. Joshua Carmer for his work supporting launches of GPS satellites.

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