Space Florida said May 14 it expects to finalize an environmental assessment that will enable the expansion of the state-funded development agency’s two launch sites at Cape Canaveral.

Space Florida aims to expand Pad B at Launch Complex 36 to support the static test firing of all varieties and sizes of rocket motors and launch of university-developed or other small sounding rockets. The environmental assessment nearing completion supports that expansion. It also is expected to help the Federal Aviation Administration as it evaluates a joint Launch Site Operators License application for Launch Complex 36 and Launch Complex 46.

The environmental assessment is analyzing the environmental impacts associated with a number of potential users of one or both pads, including:

  • Lockheed Martin’s Athena 1 and 2 rockets; Orbital Sciences Corp.’s Minotaur, Taurus and other Castor 120-based or Minuteman-derived boosters; Peacekeeper-derived boosters; and small sounding rockets.
  • Liquid propellant medium-class launch vehicles with a solid propellant second stage and bipropellant third stage.
  • Vertical take-off and vertical-landing vehicles.
  • The Orion Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle ascent abort test flights.

The environmental assessment is also considering the static testing of liquid, hybrid and solid propellant motors of various sizes.

Masten Space Systems of Mojave, Calif., is currently slated to use Launch Complex 36A in June for test launches of its liquid-fueled, small-lift reusable launch vehicle.