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Florida, NASA Wrangling over Spaceport Real Estate

The land the state of Florida is looking to take from NASA is a defunct citrus growing community known as Shiloh. Credit: Photo by Ken Badgley

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. — “We would like to further discuss how we might make lands on [Kennedys Space Center] available for Florida’s use,” Statler wrote.

After an outcry from project supporters, NASA on Jan. 25 said it had not rejected Florida’s proposal for Kennedy Space Center property.

“The land in question has not been designated as excess, however we are assessing available options as we continue to work with the state of Florida to achieve their goals. There are many authorities that will allow us to support commercial launch activities — transferring land is only one of those mechanisms,” NASA said in a statement.

Space Florida also had requested NASA turn over the shuttle runway and related facilities, with the idea of leasing it out to commercial firms interested in horizontal takeoff and landing vehicles.

NASA said it would handle this request separately and in conjunction with its ongoing assessment of proposals by other entities wishing to operate the Shuttle Landing Facility.

“We are continuing dialogue with NASA regarding next steps,” Space Florida spokeswoman Tina Lange said.

Article Comments

One of the persistent problems with NASA in general - and NASA Headquarters in particular - is that the bureaucracy proper does not take seriously our legal mandate to promote the use of commercial space to the maximum extent practical. In this case it appears the agency has no planned use for this property, other than to let it sit there; there is a valid commercial space purpose it can be put to; yet the agency uses the excuse that it has not yet been excessed as an excuse to do nothing at all. Those of us within the agency who promote the commercial use of space - as we all are required to do - run into this attitude constantly. While I honestly believe that the top two people in NASA support commercial space (and in meeting our mandates), middle level executives traditionally do not support that attitude and will generally not change unless someone forces them too.

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