Two New Tenants Move into NASA’s Kennedy Space Center

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Two more companies are taking up residence at the Kennedy Space Center (KSC) in Florida, which is in the midst of a transformation into a shared-use facility.

Santa Maria, Calif.-based United Paradyne Corp. will take over maintenance and operations of the spaceport’s Hypergolic Maintenance Facility (HMF) under a 15-year lease agreement that begins June 1.

The company intends to provide storage, delivery, handling and maintenance of hypergolic and green propellants, as well as supply satellite fueling services. It also plans to manufacture, refurbish and test ground support equipment.

Initially, United Paradyne intends to staff the HMF with 12 employees and has plans to expand the work force to 50 during the next four years. The facility, once used to support the space shuttle program, is one of dozens that have been transferred into commercial hands or razed in the wake of the shuttle program’s end.

Helping NASA is its transformation is Space Florida, a Brevard County-based aerospace economic development agency that often serves as a middleman between the federal government and private industry.

Space Florida owns and/or operates several facilities at KSC, including the Space Life Sciences Laboratory (SLSL), located just outside the center’s secured perimeter. Its newest tenant is Bionetics, based in Yorktown, Va., which develops hardware for microgravity science experiments.

The company signed a two-year lease with Space Florida for laboratory and administrative space at the SLSL. It intends to use the facility to design, test and manufacture LED lighting systems for the international space station. The new lights are expected to help astronauts with circadian rhythm regulation, resulting in better health and adaptation to long-duration spaceflight.

Other firms already leasing space in the SLSL include Innovative Health Applications, Molecular Power Systems and the Center for the Advancement of Science in Space, NASA’s contractor for the operation of the national laboratory components of the space station.

One of the next pieces of KSC real estate slated to be transferred into private hands is likely to be its most visible — Launch Complex 39A. Proposals to take over maintenance and operations of one of the shuttle’s two launch pads are due July 5. NASA wants at least a five-year lease that would begin no later than Oct. 1.