KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, Fla. - For more than 2 and a half years, pad 39-A at the Kennedy Space Center has sat empty, rusting away in the harsh Central Florida rains and deteriorating fast in the scorching Spacecoast sun.
NASA has been spending $100,000 per month to maintain the pad after the final shuttle launch in 2011.
Space X has offered NASA a solution: lease pad 39-A, refurbish it, maintain it, and launch NASA-related missions from it. Space X has even said it would allow other commercial companies to use the pad to launch manned spaceflights.
NASA and Space X are negotiating the terms of the deal. Space X is seeking the additional launch capability because of its backlog of upcoming launches, despite 2 current launch sites in California and the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station.
Business owners in nearby Port Canaveral already see a boom when a rocket goes up from the AFS.
"It is an absolute boom for our business from the people that come from all over the country, even the world," said Joe Penovich, owner of Grills Seafood Deck and Tiki Bar in a row of restaurants known as The Cove in Port Canaveral. "You cannot get a better view than right here. It just comes over the water, just spectacular. It's a huge part of our business so we're excited that things on the horizon might be back to the way they were during the shuttle days."
Penovich said his father started working at the Kennedy Space Center in the Apollo era and retired after 37 years.
"This is the Space Coast. It's got its name for a reason. So the fact that it could ramp up again, that's fantastic, I just can't wait," said Penovich.
Several commercial fisherman and charter captains based out of Port Canaveral are former space shuttle workers, like Josh Jacobs. He's hopeful additional Space X launches will create additional jobs.
"That's a good thing to me," said Jacobs. "You never know, I might be able to get back out there and fish on the side for extra money, instead of fish for a living."
Space X would resupply the International Space Station and eventually send astronauts there from the Kennedy Space Center while it continues to launch commercial and military missions, like satellites, from the Cape Canaveral Air Force station.
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