Dec 17, 2021

SpaceX to replicate Starbase, build multiple Starship launch pads in Florida

Posted by in categories: Elon Musk, space travel

Less than two weeks after CEO Elon Musk revealed that SpaceX has restarted construction of a Starship launch site at Kennedy Space Center’s existing LC-39A pad, NASA has revealed the company’s plans for an entirely different Starship launch site just a few miles to the north.

Known as Launch Complex 49 (LC-49) and located where NASA once considered building LC-39C, a third Saturn-class pad to match 39A and 39B, NASA now says that SpaceX aims to develop the site into a dedicated Starship launch pad. The plot of land NASA deemed LC-49 as recently as 2017 sits about 1 mile (1.6 km) northwest of NASA’s LC-39B Space Launch System (SLS) pad and 3 miles (5 km) northwest of LC-39A, which SpaceX has leased since 2014 and launched out of since 2017. Unlike 39A, though, SpaceX has a huge amount of work – and major environmental reviews – ahead of it to turn LC-49 into a site capable of launching a rocket more than twice as powerful as Saturn V.

As of today, “LC-49” amounts to a mostly arbitrary dotted line on a map. Situated a few thousand feet south of the lovingly named Mosquito Lagoon Aquatic Preserve and Canaveral Seashore National Park, the site encompasses a variety of wild wetlands and is fully undeveloped. While substantially wetter, the land SpaceX hopes to develop is actually quite similar to the site that now hosts Starbase’s Starship launch facilities in Boca Chica, Texas. Prior to SpaceX’s arrival, the area was empty coastal mudflats.

Leave a reply