Author Topic: SpaceX wants NASA’s LC-49 for Starship Super Heavy launches  (Read 67430 times)

Offline su27k

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https://www.nasa.gov/feature/nasa-conducts-environmental-assessment-practices-responsible-growth

NASA released the above info.

Articles:

https://www.nasaspaceflight.com/2021/12/starship-lc-49-ksc/


https://twitter.com/NASASpaceflight/status/1471868635748700168

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https://spaceexplored.com/2021/12/15/spacex-wants-nasas-lc-49-for-starship-super-heavy-launches/
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SpaceX has reached out to NASA to conduct an environmental assessment for Starship Super Heavy launches out of Launch Complex 49 at Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

The proposed launch site, LC-49, is north of NASA’s LC-39B, and is meant to support Starship launches and landings.

“LC-49 has been a part of Kennedy’s master plan for several years,” said Tom Engler, Kennedy’s director of Center Planning and Development. “The Notice of Availability was updated in 2014.”

The environmental assessment is an important first step to determine whether this launch site can be developed for Starship.


Description of LC-49 from KSC Master Plan:
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Future Development - In keeping with previous recommendations from the 1966, ‘72 and ‘77 KSC Master Plan’s, when the market demands an expansion of vertical launch capacity this Plan recommends an additional vertical launch pad, Launch Complex 49 (LC-49), to be sited to the north of existing 39B.  As part of the EIS process, this area was consolidated from two pads (formerly designated as 39-C and 39-D) to one that provides greater separation from LC-39B.  The area was expanded to accommodate a wider variety of launch azimuths, helping protect against potential overflight concerns of LC-39B.  LC-49 could accommodate medium to large class launch vehicles.


Also in 2018 Blue Origin is said to be looking at LC-49 for New Armstrong according to this NSF article:
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Blue Origin is currently talking with NASA about constructing a new, large launch facility for their New Armstrong rocket north of 39B, where the original Pad 39C would have been located. This new facility, if built, would be named Launch Complex 49. The Environmental Impact Study for the planned launch site is currently underway.
« Last Edit: 12/17/2021 02:48 pm by Chris Bergin »

Offline harrystranger

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Offline Lars-J

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It would sense to leave 39A as a dedicated F9/H pad until Starship has proven itself to be capable of replacing F9/H for NASA and DoD use. It would reduce risk to surrounding equipment during the early Starship flights.

And since the SS/SH infrastructure is going to be scratch-built anyway, why not build it at a new area?

But perhaps that is not what SpaceX is planning - if the article is correct.

Offline Hamish.Student

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Is the Environmental Assessment the same one as the FAA may require for Boca? Or does NASA have its own process? This is all legislated by NEPA I believe? Australian, so not up to speed on exactly how the process goes in America. Just curious as to a timeline for this launch site, would 3-4 years sound right? ~2 years for environmental reviews and the inevitable lawsuit from BO because they want LC-49, then 1-2 years for construction and commissioning activities. Am I far off the mark here?     
 
It will certainly be very interesting to follow along with this and see what improvements SpaceX make after their experience building out the pad at Boca. One last question, would the works be performed by NASA or SpaceX? As in, will NASA build the pad and then lease it (Such as 39A) or will SpaceX lease the site empty and build it out themselves. I assume it will be the latter?
« Last Edit: 12/16/2021 06:59 am by Hamish.Student »

Offline woods170

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It would sense to leave 39A as a dedicated F9/H pad until Starship has proven itself to be capable of replacing F9/H for NASA and DoD use. It would reduce risk to surrounding equipment during the early Starship flights.

And since the SS/SH infrastructure is going to be scratch-built anyway, why not build it at a new area?

But perhaps that is not what SpaceX is planning - if the article is correct.

There is going to be multiple Starship launch sites at the Cape. Elon mentioned, just a few days ago on Twitter, that construction of the first Starship launchpad at LC-39A has (re)started.
SpaceX is interested in building a second one at LC-49.

Online edzieba

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Is the Environmental Assessment the same one as the FAA may require for Boca? Or does NASA have its own process? This is all legislated by NEPA I believe?
Yes, NEPA is the regulation federal agencies must abide by (short version: before taking an official action, an environmental assessment must be performed to determine the environmental impact). NASA would have to abide by NEPA for the land use modifications to build the pad, as would the FAA before issuing a launch license (though they would be referencing the assessment previously conducted for launch site construction, so only assessing the impacts of the launch itself, unlike the recent PEA for Boca Chica). Other federal and local agencies would also be involved in the assessment (e.g. USFWS) as with Boca Chica.
Or SpaceX may push to do everything at the same time, so would be conducting an assessment to suit both NASA and the FAA. The actual assessment would likely be 'easier' than Boca Chica, as public access is not at stake (space coast beaches are regularly closed and there is not public access enshrined in state legislation, and nobody lives on or near the site) and launches are a regular occurrence in the area rather than a new addition.
Quote
Australian, so not up to speed on exactly how the process goes in America. Just curious as to a timeline for this launch site, would 3-4 years sound right? ~2 years for environmental reviews and the inevitable lawsuit from BO because they want LC-49, then 1-2 years for construction and commissioning activities. Am I far off the mark here?
As with Boca Chica, SpaceX and NASA could agree to start construction prior to completion of an EA, at SpaceX's risk. It could be argued that by allowing SpaceX to start works, NASA would be performing an action and be subject to NEPA beforehand, though, so it may not be that simple. Some works at LC-49 were already approved via a previous EA, so an argument could be made that works similar in scale and impact could be performed prior to completion of a new EA.
SpaceX's SLC-40 EA process appeared to complete in around 1 year from submission of application (submitted 2006, FONSI 2007), with the actual assessment - by a contractor hired by SpaceX at that time, though today would likely be by SpaceX themselves - starting preparation work prior to then (one appendix item dated 2003)). We do not know how much prep work has already been undergone for LC-49 specifically, but plenty of modelling has already been undergone for LC-39A and BC, so that can be re-used when applicable.
Whilst the 'original LC-39A' (then LC-39C, then never built) assumed a Nova-class launch vehicle comparable to SS/SH, that was over half a century ago and was never completed, so LC-49 is closer to a new pad than the modified-for-a-smaller-vehicle pads at LC-39A and SLC-40, so impact from construction is a far greater item in the EA than for those prior EAs. 1-2 years would not be unlikely. If construction occurs in parallel, the site could well be ready by the time assessment is completed. Boca Chica pad readyness seems to be in a very close race with EA completion, and that included more "learning how to build the pad" that hopefully will not need to be undertaken again for LC-49 unless the pad design is radically changed, despite a hopefully shorter EA process.
 
Quote
It will certainly be very interesting to follow along with this and see what improvements SpaceX make after their experience building out the pad at Boca. One last question, would the works be performed by NASA or SpaceX? As in, will NASA build the pad and then lease it (Such as 39A) or will SpaceX lease the site empty and build it out themselves. I assume it will be the latter?
NASA would hire a contractor for construction for any baseline works (e.g. roads, pipelines, etc that connect to NASA infrastructure), so making that contractor SpaceX would certainly simplify things. Actual pad works would be under SpaceX, as the modifications to LC-39A and SLC-40 were.

Offline Rocket Surgeon

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So whats a rough ETA for when LC-49 will be up and running?

LC-39A will probably be the priority in Florida, as LC-49 will need an Enviromental Assessment due to being a new site, as well as general site preparation. However, due to that, all the equipment needed to build the parts will be in place and ready to go from the construction at LC-39A.

Soooo, I'm gonna give it 2.5 years (+/- 0.5 years) from now. Roughly 1 years to do the assessment, 0.5 years for site preparation and another year for construction.

Offline Robotbeat

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Having plans to do Nova launches half a century ago does help. These NEPA studies are heavily biased toward things which are grandfathered in.

Also, gives them options in case there’s lots of pushback against Boca Chica. And therefore leverage in negotiations. Do people really think it’s in the Brownsville Area’s interest for SpaceX to abandon efforts to launch Starship in Texas?
« Last Edit: 12/16/2021 12:40 pm by Robotbeat »
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Offline Rocket Surgeon

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Having plans to do Nova launches half a century ago does help. These NEPA studies are heavily biased toward things which are grandfathered in.

Also, gives them options in case there’s lots of pushback against Boca Chica. And therefore leverage in negotiations. Do people really think it’s in the Brownsville Area’s interest for SpaceX to abandon efforts to launch Starship in Texas?

Maybe? Boca Chica is REALLY close to some built up area... if every launch there is loads of damage from vibrations, like windows being shattered, the negatives will very quickly out way the positives.

Boca Chica may very well end of being a produciton and testing facility, with the final products being shipped, one way or another, to other launch pads (read: flow to launch rigs in the Gulf)

Online edzieba

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Having plans to do Nova launches half a century ago does help. These NEPA studies are heavily biased toward things which are grandfathered in.
While the original plans for Launch Complex 39 were to accommodate Nova specifications, that doesn't help SpaceX AS much in this specific case:
- The pad was never built
- Nova was never built
- The work was assessed long before NEPA existed (or most environmental regulations, for that matter)
- Subsequent works (e.g. SLF) have been added afterwards nearby
- Subsequent community development has moved closer to the launch complex and greatly grown in population.

Offline Robotbeat

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Having plans to do Nova launches half a century ago does help. These NEPA studies are heavily biased toward things which are grandfathered in.

Also, gives them options in case there’s lots of pushback against Boca Chica. And therefore leverage in negotiations. Do people really think it’s in the Brownsville Area’s interest for SpaceX to abandon efforts to launch Starship in Texas?

Maybe? Boca Chica is REALLY close to some built up area... if every launch there is loads of damage from vibrations, like windows being shattered, the negatives will very quickly out way the positives.

Boca Chica may very well end of being a produciton and testing facility, with the final products being shipped, one way or another, to other launch pads (read: flow to launch rigs in the Gulf)
Not a chance! There really aren’t that many houses close by.

SpaceX can provide literally thousands of well paying jobs, with a total financial impact multiple times that in an area that is super poor compared to the rest of the country.

SpaceX leaving would be absolutely devastating to the area. I think a lot of folks objecting to it underestimate what that impact would be.
Chris  Whoever loves correction loves knowledge, but he who hates reproof is stupid.

To the maximum extent practicable, the Federal Government shall plan missions to accommodate the space transportation services capabilities of United States commercial providers. US law http://goo.gl/YZYNt0

Offline Robotbeat

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Having plans to do Nova launches half a century ago does help. These NEPA studies are heavily biased toward things which are grandfathered in.

Also, gives them options in case there’s lots of pushback against Boca Chica. And therefore leverage in negotiations. Do people really think it’s in the Brownsville Area’s interest for SpaceX to abandon efforts to launch Starship in Texas?



Boca Chica may very well end of being a produciton and testing facility, with the final products being shipped, one way or another, to other launch pads (read: flow to launch rigs in the Gulf)
No. if SpaceX can’t launch starship from Boca Chica, they WILL leave. There’s no reason for them to setup a production facility far from major cities if they can’t launch. A community so hostile they won’t even let them launch is no place to set up operations, particularly since there is no large aerospace presence in that area.

People pushing to shut down launching from Boca Chica are fighting against economic development in a region that desperately needs it.
« Last Edit: 12/16/2021 02:24 pm by Robotbeat »
Chris  Whoever loves correction loves knowledge, but he who hates reproof is stupid.

To the maximum extent practicable, the Federal Government shall plan missions to accommodate the space transportation services capabilities of United States commercial providers. US law http://goo.gl/YZYNt0

Online mandrewa

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Maybe? Boca Chica is REALLY close to some built up area... if every launch there is loads of damage from vibrations, like windows being shattered, the negatives will very quickly out way the positives.

South Padre Island is the closest built-up area to the Starbase launch pad.  We don't really know enough about methalox rocket explosions to say whether South Padre Island's windows are at risk of breaking.  In the optimistic case the explosions we have already seen are close to the worst detonation case and that would mean the windows are not threatened at all.

South Padre Island's chamber of commerce seems to be counting on these Starship launches occurring.  If you go to South Padre Island's website, South Padre Island is being advertised as the place to be to watch Starship launches.

If Boca Chica is unacceptable then that's basically the same as saying the entire eastern coast of the United States is unacceptable for Starship class rocket launches.

Edit: Yes, kdhilliard.  Thanks.
« Last Edit: 12/16/2021 03:22 pm by mandrewa »

Offline alugobi

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BO apparently likes pad 49, too.  Are they competing to lease that property?  Does NASA have to decide between the two? 

Stand by for more lawsuits.

Offline kevinof

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Liking and having something to launch within a reasonable time frame at very different. BO had some interest in it for New Armstrong which doesn’t exist yet and won’t (if it really is a big booster) for many many years.


 
BO apparently likes pad 49, too.  Are they competing to lease that property?  Does NASA have to decide between the two? 

Stand by for more lawsuits.

Offline baking

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BO apparently likes pad 49, too.  Are they competing to lease that property?  Does NASA have to decide between the two? 

Stand by for more lawsuits.
They wanted it for New Armstrong, a rocket that only ever existed in name only and has been superseded by other plans.

But you are not wrong about the lawsuits.

Offline Thorny

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- Subsequent community development has moved closer to the launch complex and greatly grown in population.

I'm not sure that's true. The closest community is still Titusville (which is bounded by the Indian River and can't get any closer to KSC), and the LC-49 site is even farther from Titusville than LC-39. This will be a major hindrance to Playalinda Beach access for the Titusville crowd, but LC-49 is pretty remote. I think the environmentalists worried about Canaveral National Seashore will be a much bigger issue.
« Last Edit: 12/16/2021 05:14 pm by Thorny »

Offline RedLineTrain

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Some years ago, it was determined (perhaps by then-Senator Nelson) that anything North of State Road 402, as the originally-planned 39D would have been, would be politically untenable.  It seemed assumed that anything South of that would be politically acceptable.  I guess we will see whether that is so.

He lost his last election in Florida, but perhaps Nelson being the person in charge and taking a special interest here may be helpful in avoiding the political minefields.

Note:  We have a few old threads/articles on NSF about this.  Might be worthwhile to search for those and link them in the OP.
« Last Edit: 12/16/2021 06:11 pm by RedLineTrain »

Offline wannamoonbase

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- Subsequent community development has moved closer to the launch complex and greatly grown in population.

I'm not sure that's true. The closest community is still Titusville (which is bounded by the Indian River and can't get any closer to KSC), and the LC-49 site is even farther from Titusville than LC-39. This will be a major hindrance to Playalinda Beach access for the Titusville crowd, but LC-49 is pretty remote. I think the environmentalists worried about Canaveral National Seashore will be a much bigger issue.

I use to live in Cape Canaveral and drove to Playalinda several times.  That area north of 39B is very dense with wild life.  Environmental approval would be the hardest part by far.
Wildly optimistic prediction, Superheavy recovery on IFT-4 or IFT-5

Offline Zed_Noir

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..... I think the environmentalists worried about Canaveral National Seashore will be a much bigger issue.

I use to live in Cape Canaveral and drove to Playalinda several times.  That area north of 39B is very dense with wild life.  Environmental approval would be the hardest part by far.


However all community developments other than the LC-49 pad itself is effectively stop in that area and remain undeveloped probably until the Kennedy Space Center is retired. The environmentalists should be overjoyed at that possible outcome without having to do anything themselves.


Offline TomH

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This is the general area where pads LC-39C and theoretical LC-39D and LC-39E were originally designated.

http://heroicrelics.org/info/lc-39/lc-39-abcd.html
« Last Edit: 12/16/2021 11:28 pm by TomH »

Offline LooZ

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I'm looking forward to the concept of the buildings.

If we assume that Tesla Fremont is such a "Car Factory v0.5", Nevada is v0.9, and Shangai/Texas is a 1.0/1.1, then I expect a similar leap here in terms of "machines making mach.... rockets" ;)

Like GigaTexas, but for rockets. The knowledge of SS/SH mass production itself and the organization of the work of a factory mass producing rockets must be at an absolutely incomparable level to the beginning of work in BC.
« Last Edit: 12/17/2021 12:13 am by LooZ »

Online edzieba

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BO apparently likes pad 49, too.  Are they competing to lease that property?  Does NASA have to decide between the two? 

Stand by for more lawsuits.
They wanted it for New Armstrong, a rocket that only ever existed in name only and has been superseded by other plans.

But you are not wrong about the lawsuits.
SpaceX and BO were competing over LC-39A too (the infamous "unicorns dancing in the flame duct" comment). That was subject to a GAO protest by BO, but that was resolved in under 3 months.

Offline su27k

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- Subsequent community development has moved closer to the launch complex and greatly grown in population.

I'm not sure that's true. The closest community is still Titusville (which is bounded by the Indian River and can't get any closer to KSC), and the LC-49 site is even farther from Titusville than LC-39. This will be a major hindrance to Playalinda Beach access for the Titusville crowd, but LC-49 is pretty remote. I think the environmentalists worried about Canaveral National Seashore will be a much bigger issue.

I use to live in Cape Canaveral and drove to Playalinda several times.  That area north of 39B is very dense with wild life.  Environmental approval would be the hardest part by far.

LC-49 is part of KSC's Master Plan, which already has environmental approval in the form of KSC Center-Wide Operations Final Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement (signed off in 2017). So building a new launch pad there is not a problem, the remaining analysis is for building a Starship launch pad and launch/landing Starship at that location.

Offline wannamoonbase

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- Subsequent community development has moved closer to the launch complex and greatly grown in population.

I'm not sure that's true. The closest community is still Titusville (which is bounded by the Indian River and can't get any closer to KSC), and the LC-49 site is even farther from Titusville than LC-39. This will be a major hindrance to Playalinda Beach access for the Titusville crowd, but LC-49 is pretty remote. I think the environmentalists worried about Canaveral National Seashore will be a much bigger issue.

I use to live in Cape Canaveral and drove to Playalinda several times.  That area north of 39B is very dense with wild life.  Environmental approval would be the hardest part by far.

LC-49 is part of KSC's Master Plan, which already has environmental approval in the form of KSC Center-Wide Operations Final Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement (signed off in 2017). So building a new launch pad there is not a problem, the remaining analysis is for building a Starship launch pad and launch/landing Starship at that location.

That’s good to hear, I didn’t know that.  I wonder if in 2017 ever thought something like Starship would be a real thing.

It is now easy to imagine a large Starship launch complex.  146 acres is a lot of land compared to the tiny patch they are working with in BC.
Wildly optimistic prediction, Superheavy recovery on IFT-4 or IFT-5


Offline quagmire

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https://www.nasaspaceflight.com/2021/12/starship-lc-49-ksc/


https://twitter.com/NASASpaceflight/status/1471868635748700168

Could HB 2 support both Starship and Super Heavy Processing? Or would Heavy need to be processed, moved to the mount, to provide room for Starship processing?

Or think they could try to wrangle HB 1 or 4 out of NASA's hands as well?

Of course this is all based on IF SpaceX is interested in using the VAB at all.
« Last Edit: 12/17/2021 03:50 pm by quagmire »

Offline wannamoonbase

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https://www.nasaspaceflight.com/2021/12/starship-lc-49-ksc/


https://twitter.com/NASASpaceflight/status/1471868635748700168

Could HB 2 support both Starship and Super Heavy Processing? Or would Heavy need to be processed, moved to the mount, to provide room for Starship processing?

Or think they could try to wrangle HB 1 or 4 out of NASA's hands as well?

Of course this is all based on IF SpaceX is interested in using the VAB at all.

Or use the existing footings and finish HB5 and HB6, lol.

I'm interested in where the manufacturing and assembly of SS/SH would be done and then where a payload processing facility would be located.

I know nothing, but a VAB HB maybe a reasonable location for fitting out HLS or installing payloads in HLS and SS.

Given the 146 acre size of LC49, how many OLS' could fit into that area?
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Offline JayWee

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...
Of course this is all based on IF SpaceX is interested in using the VAB at all.
...
What would be the difference in cost between using VAB and building some quick-and-dirty building akin to the ones at Starbase?

Offline quagmire

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Or use the existing footings and finish HB5 and HB6, lol.

I'm interested in where the manufacturing and assembly of SS/SH would be done and then where a payload processing facility would be located.

I know nothing, but a VAB HB maybe a reasonable location for fitting out HLS or installing payloads in HLS and SS.

Given the 146 acre size of LC49, how many OLS' could fit into that area?

Ha on finishing HB 5 and 6.

I would imagine SpaceX would only be interested in the VAB for 39A flow/ops. Maybe have 39A be the crew Starship pad where LC-49 are the cargo/refueling Starships. This due to the infrastructure to get SS/SH to 39A is already there in the crawlers and crawlerway with the obvious need to move them the final feet due to the HIF in the way.

They would probably build independent processing facilities for LC-49 unless they want to finish the crawlerway as well meant for the OG 39C.... ;) :P

Offline Thorny

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However all community developments other than the LC-49 pad itself is effectively stop in that area and remain undeveloped probably until the Kennedy Space Center is retired. The environmentalists should be overjoyed at that possible outcome without having to do anything themselves.

We already saw some environmentalists raising concern when Space Florida talked about building a launch site at Shiloh at the north end of Merritt Island.

Offline wannamoonbase

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Or use the existing footings and finish HB5 and HB6, lol.

I'm interested in where the manufacturing and assembly of SS/SH would be done and then where a payload processing facility would be located.

I know nothing, but a VAB HB maybe a reasonable location for fitting out HLS or installing payloads in HLS and SS.

Given the 146 acre size of LC49, how many OLS' could fit into that area?

Ha on finishing HB 5 and 6.

I would imagine SpaceX would only be interested in the VAB for 39A flow/ops. Maybe have 39A be the crew Starship pad where LC-49 are the cargo/refueling Starships. This due to the infrastructure to get SS/SH to 39A is already there in the crawlers and crawlerway with the obvious need to move them the final feet due to the HIF in the way.

They would probably build independent processing facilities for LC-49 unless they want to finish the crawlerway as well meant for the OG 39C.... ;) :P

HB5&6 were tongue in cheek comments.  I agree that SpaceX has always shown a desire to be as independent as possible. 

SS/SH would probably be built away from LC-49, a payload processing would be at or near LC-49 just because it would be handling the entire Starship.

It would be fun to be in the planning meetings for the whole process.  It's going to time to get an approval to build, but they also have a few years or work to go before they are ready for that added capacity.

I think it's good timing to get this started now.  They may need it in a few years.

I would be exciting to see the crawler way extended as intended 55 years ago.
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Offline TheRadicalModerate

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It would sense to leave 39A as a dedicated F9/H pad until Starship has proven itself to be capable of replacing F9/H for NASA and DoD use. It would reduce risk to surrounding equipment during the early Starship flights.

And since the SS/SH infrastructure is going to be scratch-built anyway, why not build it at a new area?

But perhaps that is not what SpaceX is planning - if the article is correct.

There is going to be multiple Starship launch sites at the Cape. Elon mentioned, just a few days ago on Twitter, that construction of the first Starship launchpad at LC-39A has (re)started.
SpaceX is interested in building a second one at LC-49.

I still don't understand why NASA isn't freaking out over having a huge vehicle with minimal flight history launching 230m away from their only operational crewed launch facility.  Similarly, I'd think the DoD would be freaked out over having the same huge vehicle within 250m of the only VIF they'll have that's capable of handling a large direct-to-GEO mission anytime soon.

Of course, the timing is critical.  If Starliner starts working, then LC-39A isn't the only way to get crews into LEO.  And if Vulcan VC6 or VH starts flying, then there are ways to get heavy birds direct to GEO (as long as they're not too heavy).

LC-49 could sorta-kinda allay those fears.  But it's going to show up substantially later than the 39A facility, which makes the timing kinda weird.

What does this mean for Roberts Road?  There are ways to get Starships (or at least Starship noses with payloads integrated) from there to LC-39A, but LC-49 is quite a hike, with a road infrastructure that's kinda marginal right now.

Offline cdebuhr

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[...snip ...]

I still don't understand why NASA isn't freaking out over having a huge vehicle with minimal flight history launching 230m away from their only operational crewed launch facility.  Similarly, I'd think the DoD would be freaked out over having the same huge vehicle within 250m of the only VIF they'll have that's capable of handling a large direct-to-GEO mission anytime soon.

[... snip ...]
The point seems valid, but ISTM that SpaceX is in a hurry to the point that they don't mind investing in building something big and expensive at their own risk before they have full permission to actually use it.  It seems quite plausible that they may have full permission to start building new facilities with the stipulation that they will not be actually be used until similar facilities for the same vehicle are well proven elsewhere (i.e., Starbase).

Offline Nevyn72

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[...snip ...]

I still don't understand why NASA isn't freaking out over having a huge vehicle with minimal flight history launching 230m away from their only operational crewed launch facility.  Similarly, I'd think the DoD would be freaked out over having the same huge vehicle within 250m of the only VIF they'll have that's capable of handling a large direct-to-GEO mission anytime soon.

[... snip ...]
The point seems valid, but ISTM that SpaceX is in a hurry to the point that they don't mind investing in building something big and expensive at their own risk before they have full permission to actually use it.  It seems quite plausible that they may have full permission to start building new facilities with the stipulation that they will not be actually be used until similar facilities for the same vehicle are well proven elsewhere (i.e., Starbase).

I suspect that by the time the 39A facilities are ready for use there will have been quite a bit of flight history established at Boca Chica, certainly enough to know how big a risk there will be to surrounding infrastructure.

Offline RedLineTrain

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In the News 13 Orlando video, Tom Engler, KSC's director of planning and development, says that the 2014 Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement will cut down the time for Pad 49 environmental review significantly.

I don't have a good sense of how much time will be cut, however.  Maybe he is referring to the possibility that a full impact statement will be unnecessary.  In any event, the article goes quite a bit into scheduling and what to expect.

Quote
“We’re pleased that there’s finally somebody that’s ready to have the kind of presence there, and it’s going to be a great addition to space center,” Engler said. “Probably the most significant change to the space center since it was built in the mid-'60s.”
« Last Edit: 12/17/2021 10:52 pm by RedLineTrain »

Offline TheRadicalModerate

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I suspect that by the time the 39A facilities are ready for use there will have been quite a bit of flight history established at Boca Chica, certainly enough to know how big a risk there will be to surrounding infrastructure.

I may be having a failure of imagination, but I can't think of an amount of flight history that would be necessary to put 4500t of methalox that close to irreplaceable civil and military assets.

And it's not like SpaceX can afford to wait for those assets to stop being irreplaceable before starting Starship ops in Florida.  They need straight shots to 53º to 70º real soon now, and they're not going to get them at BC.  Somebody over at Ars Technica pointed out to me that if the v2 Starlinks get substantially heavier, then Starship won't carry as many of them, and the deadlines for the license are written in terms of physical birds, not the number of spot beams on those birds.

Offline woods170

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I still don't understand why NASA isn't freaking out over having a huge vehicle with minimal flight history launching 230m away from their only operational crewed launch facility. 
Because there is a backup. It's called Starliner. It will be flying crewed before SpaceX attempts any SH/SS launch from LC-39A.


Similarly, I'd think the DoD would be freaked out over having the same huge vehicle within 250m of the only VIF they'll have that's capable of handling a large direct-to-GEO mission anytime soon.
DoD freaking out over this would be equal to them admitting that they screwed-up in their support of ULA to keep Delta IV-Heavy operational.
DoD LET IT HAPPEN that redundancy came into existence (Falcon Heavy), only to be followed by ULA killing off the redundancy (by terminating Delta IV Heavy).
The blame is squarely on DoD with regards to this one.

Offline woods170

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I suspect that by the time the 39A facilities are ready for use there will have been quite a bit of flight history established at Boca Chica, certainly enough to know how big a risk there will be to surrounding infrastructure.

I may be having a failure of imagination, but I can't think of an amount of flight history that would be necessary to put 4500t of methalox that close to irreplaceable civil and military assets.

The VIF is not a military asset. It is both owned and operated by SpaceX. And it is not exclusively for military use either. Remember: SpaceX sells launch services. And right now the DoD does NOT have a requirement in place for the VIF to be X-hunderds (or X-thousands) of feet away from any launchpad. In fact: an explosive failure of Falcon 9 or FH on 39A will do as much damage (if not more) to the VIF than a SH/SS explosive failure.

Offline su27k

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I suspect that by the time the 39A facilities are ready for use there will have been quite a bit of flight history established at Boca Chica, certainly enough to know how big a risk there will be to surrounding infrastructure.

I may be having a failure of imagination, but I can't think of an amount of flight history that would be necessary to put 4500t of methalox that close to irreplaceable civil and military assets.

How is this different from NASA allowing SpaceX to launch the first Falcon Heavy from the same launch mount used by Commercial Crew?

Offline spacenut

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Does the Space Force control the old missile range south of the NASA facilities?  I was wondering what if they could build down there if the Space Force would allow them?  Since it was already developed back in the 1950's and 60's, it should only require rebuilding for SpaceX.

Do they still test missiles there?
 

Offline Lar

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Does the Space Force control the old missile range south of the NASA facilities?  I was wondering what if they could build down there if the Space Force would allow them?  Since it was already developed back in the 1950's and 60's, it should only require rebuilding for SpaceX.

Do they still test missiles there?
 

Do you have any maps or historical articles to give context for where this range is?  Is it south of Port Canaveral?
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Offline DaveS

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He's talking about what today is CCSFS. The SLCs of CCSFS used to be known as the "Missile Row" back in 60's and early 70's.

NASA's facilities are really only what is considered KSC which is LC39 with its two pads, the VAB area, the SLF and the Industrial Area to the south.
« Last Edit: 12/19/2021 02:04 pm by DaveS »
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Does the Space Force control the old missile range south of the NASA facilities?  I was wondering what if they could build down there if the Space Force would allow them?  Since it was already developed back in the 1950's and 60's, it should only require rebuilding for SpaceX.

Do they still test missiles there?
If you are talking about the Eastern Test Range, yes they still control it. The Cape itself from 41 down to 46 still falls under ultimate control of the Space Force, but Space Florida has been working to open up many of the facilities for commercial use, like 36 (BO), 46 for Astra and others, the establishment of LZ 1 & 2, etc... The range still has all the rocket launch monitoring assets along the various island chain in the Bahamas and south.

If you are talking about the area off of West Palm, I believe that area still exists and supports submarine launched and other sea based tests.

Offline spacenut

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Yes, the missile range is what I was talking about. 

Offline Jim

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Yes, the missile range is what I was talking about.

The KSC and the Cape use the same range. 
LC-40 Falcon 9 and LC-37 Delta IV are on the Cape.  Blue origin is going to use the former Atlas LC-36.  There is no room for Starship.

There is no separate sub range near West Palm.  Sun launches are due east from the Cape.
« Last Edit: 12/19/2021 09:50 pm by Jim »

Offline TheRadicalModerate

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In fact: an explosive failure of Falcon 9 or FH on 39A will do as much damage (if not more) to the VIF than a SH/SS explosive failure.

A good point.

How is this different from NASA allowing SpaceX to launch the first Falcon Heavy from the same launch mount used by Commercial Crew?

A less good point, since the first FH launch predated the construction of the access arm by about six months.

However, I think you've all convinced me that the DoD and NASA are indeed less freaked out about this than I would have suspected.

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A less good point, since the first FH launch predated the construction of the access arm by about six months.

However, I think you've all convinced me that the DoD and NASA are indeed less freaked out about this than I would have suspected.

Even before the access arm was added to 39A, the FH going boom would still likely cause damage to the FSS which would delay installation of access arm.

This is still ignoring how long 39A would be down for repairs.
« Last Edit: 12/20/2021 02:36 pm by quagmire »

Offline Jcc

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Hence if the first several Starship/Superheavy launches are from Boca Chica, that retires some risk of damage to the Cape facilities. It will be a proven launch system.

Offline su27k

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Interview with KSC director of center planning on Starship at LC-49, I don't think there's anything new here, except this:

Quote from: spaceexplored.com
When did SpaceX first express interest in LC-49?

He did not have the date on hand, but they followed back up, informing me that SpaceX reached out about the Notice of Availability for Launch Complex 49 back on June 7, 2021.

Offline Conexion Espacial

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Some images of the current state of the LC-49 zone published by NASA, we also have a video showing the entire area that in the future will be used for Starship.


Video: https://images.nasa.gov/details-KSC-20211220-MH-GEB01-0001-Launch_Complex_49-3293626

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Offline nacnud

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SpaceX uses the high bays for lots of welding etc, while NASA uses the VAB to store fully fuelled gigantic solid rocket motors. I can see a potential issue here.

Offline zack

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The project is already being torpedoed, probably by the same people that said you can't use Boca Chica, use KSC....

https://mobile.twitter.com/orlandosentinel/status/1475502043225903104

Offline Robotbeat

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These people didn’t say anything when NASA was shopping around looking for people who would use this land. Now that it’s SpaceX, though, we’ll obviously THAT’S a problem… 🙄
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Offline quagmire

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These people didn’t say anything when NASA was shopping around looking for people who would use this land. Now that it’s SpaceX, though, we’ll obviously THAT’S a problem…

And who owns the land where the road is? Does KSC/NASA still own it since it was in the plans back in the 60’s or did it get turned over to the state when 39C/D got cancelled?

Though the environmental review is the one that is valid since KSC is on a refuge and believe Federal Law requires such an environmental review is done, so that road block was to be expected.
« Last Edit: 12/28/2021 06:30 pm by quagmire »

Offline Robotbeat

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Environmental review is indeed valid and is pretty standard no matter where you build.
Chris  Whoever loves correction loves knowledge, but he who hates reproof is stupid.

To the maximum extent practicable, the Federal Government shall plan missions to accommodate the space transportation services capabilities of United States commercial providers. US law http://goo.gl/YZYNt0

The project is already being torpedoed, probably by the same people that said you can't use Boca Chica, use KSC....



 SpaceX started construction in Boca Chica in 2015 but the Environmental review process took years and was started in 2012.    Expectations for a multi-year review process should be similar.  Nothing out of the ordinary so far.
« Last Edit: 12/28/2021 11:38 pm by sparks »

Offline Welsh Dragon

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These people didn’t say anything when NASA was shopping around looking for people who would use this land. Now that it’s SpaceX, though, we’ll obviously THAT’S a problem… 🙄
Could it perhaps be that there is now coverage of it....? I'm a member here and thus a certified space nerd, and the first time I heard of LC-49 was in the Starship context. The general public would have been even less likely to have heard of it prior to it being linked to Starship. The "everyone is out to get SpaceX" meme is getting rather tired if you ask me.

Offline Robotbeat

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These people didn’t say anything when NASA was shopping around looking for people who would use this land. Now that it’s SpaceX, though, we’ll obviously THAT’S a problem… 🙄
Could it perhaps be that there is now coverage of it....? I'm a member here and thus a certified space nerd, and the first time I heard of LC-49 was in the Starship context. The general public would have been even less likely to have heard of it prior to it being linked to Starship. The "everyone is out to get SpaceX" meme is getting rather tired if you ask me.
Hard to shake that feeling when people only care when SpaceX is involved. SpaceX is not the first company to show interest in LC-49.
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Offline quagmire

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These people didn’t say anything when NASA was shopping around looking for people who would use this land. Now that it’s SpaceX, though, we’ll obviously THAT’S a problem… 🙄
Could it perhaps be that there is now coverage of it....? I'm a member here and thus a certified space nerd, and the first time I heard of LC-49 was in the Starship context. The general public would have been even less likely to have heard of it prior to it being linked to Starship. The "everyone is out to get SpaceX" meme is getting rather tired if you ask me.
Hard to shake that feeling when people only care when SpaceX is involved. SpaceX is not the first company to show interest in LC-49.

No, but given BO's secretive nature and not much public attention(especially at the time of their interest), I doubt many outside of us space nerds knew of their interest in LC-49.

Now SpaceX being much more public, their interest would make the rounds outside of space focused news sites.

Offline su27k

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The project is already being torpedoed, probably by the same people that said you can't use Boca Chica, use KSC....

https://mobile.twitter.com/orlandosentinel/status/1475502043225903104

Let's not overreact either, all the article said is:

Quote
The potential for regular or prolonged closures of the beach-access road and the destruction of coastal wetlands resulting from SpaceX’s launch and landing site has drawn Audubon Florida’s concern.

The natural environment adjoining the proposed launch site, including habitat of Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge, is “one of the most important birding sites in Eastern North America,” said Audubon Florida’s director of advocacy, Charles Lee.

Lee would not comment further, pending Audubon’s review of SpaceX plans.

Offline tyrred

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Would be helpful for Charles Lee to elucidate exactly why this area is one of the most important birding sites in Eastern North America.

I find myself woefully ignorant here. What are the endangered and /or protected species who primarily make this area their habitat/breeding/nesting grounds?

On another topic, isn't most beach erosion at KSC result from storms and not launch activities from the existing pads 39A & B?

Offline Welsh Dragon

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These people didn’t say anything when NASA was shopping around looking for people who would use this land. Now that it’s SpaceX, though, we’ll obviously THAT’S a problem… 🙄
Could it perhaps be that there is now coverage of it....? I'm a member here and thus a certified space nerd, and the first time I heard of LC-49 was in the Starship context. The general public would have been even less likely to have heard of it prior to it being linked to Starship. The "everyone is out to get SpaceX" meme is getting rather tired if you ask me.
Hard to shake that feeling when people only care when SpaceX is involved. SpaceX is not the first company to show interest in LC-49.
Well done on completely missing my point. People only care when they know about stuff. People only know about stuff when it gets publicity. Stuff gets publicity when SpaceX gets involved.

Offline Robotbeat

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So they aren’t specifically following that area? Hard to take them seriously, then, if they only care about that area on a low effort level. And it wasn’t secret for the other stuff, either.

I just don’t care that much about people’s opinions who only care about a wildlife reserve when it’s blasted in the media but otherwise don’t say anything. If they truly cared, they pay attention to the area like we do.

And so maybe we blame the media for not informing them about other companies doing similar things. Or… maybe people only care when it’s SpaceX.

So I’m not sure even what the difference is between what you accused me of thinking and what you imply is the real reason. Either way, it seems like people (including the media) only care if it’s SpaceX doing it.
« Last Edit: 12/29/2021 10:40 am by Robotbeat »
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Offline baking

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Would be helpful for Charles Lee to elucidate exactly why this area is one of the most important birding sites in Eastern North America.

I find myself woefully ignorant here. What are the endangered and /or protected species who primarily make this area their habitat/breeding/nesting grounds?

From Wikipedia:
The NWR contains over 1000 species of plants, 117 species of fish, 68 amphibians and reptiles, 330 birds, and 31 mammal species, of which 21 species are listed as endangered by the state of Florida or by the US federal government.

Wikipedia has a bit more, but I'm not finding a complete list of the 21 endangered species.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Merritt_Island_National_Wildlife_Refuge

Offline ajmarco

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Would be helpful for Charles Lee to elucidate exactly why this area is one of the most important birding sites in Eastern North America.

I find myself woefully ignorant here. What are the endangered and /or protected species who primarily make this area their habitat/breeding/nesting grounds?

From Wikipedia:
The NWR contains over 1000 species of plants, 117 species of fish, 68 amphibians and reptiles, 330 birds, and 31 mammal species, of which 21 species are listed as endangered by the state of Florida or by the US federal government.

Wikipedia has a bit more, but I'm not finding a complete list of the 21 endangered species.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Merritt_Island_National_Wildlife_Refuge

Federally endangered species are:
Eastern Indigo Snake
Florida Scrub-jay
Gopher Tortoise
Southeastern Beach Mouse
West Indian Manatee
Wood Stork

Taken from the list here
https://www.fws.gov/refuge/Merritt_Island/Endangered_Species.html

Online Orbiter

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The project is already being torpedoed, probably by the same people that said you can't use Boca Chica, use KSC....

https://mobile.twitter.com/orlandosentinel/status/1475502043225903104

Let's not overreact either, all the article said is:

Quote
The potential for regular or prolonged closures of the beach-access road and the destruction of coastal wetlands resulting from SpaceX’s launch and landing site has drawn Audubon Florida’s concern.

The natural environment adjoining the proposed launch site, including habitat of Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge, is “one of the most important birding sites in Eastern North America,” said Audubon Florida’s director of advocacy, Charles Lee.

Lee would not comment further, pending Audubon’s review of SpaceX plans.

The complaint regarding road closures to residence doesn't make a lot of sense to me. Playalinda Beach is no stranger to prolonged closures. During the Shuttle program, the road into Playalinda Beach would close several days before a launch attempt would even happen. And obviously, it'll be closed for SLS attempts too. This is not Boca Chica beach.
« Last Edit: 12/29/2021 02:52 pm by Orbiter »
KSC Engineer, astronomer, rocket photographer.

Offline RedLineTrain

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Related to this, here is the Final 2016 KSC PEIS.  It was a bit hard to find on NASA's web site for some reason.

It's worth a skim through if you are interested.  Here are some excerpts that I found helpful.

Quote
Space Florida:  While concurring that Alternative 1 is an improvement over the Proposed Action, Space Florida continues to recommend that additional alternatives for Future Land Use should be considered, including the location of notional vertical launch areas to the north of Complex 39B and the Beach Road. Space Florida is concerned that KSC future land use planning has overly constrained and perhaps even precluded the consideration of NASA land north of the Beach Road for future development for Vertical Launch or possibly other categories. (See also LU-15.)
Response: The PEIS is based on the current KSC Master Plan which does not include any proposed launch sites north of SR-402 due to the existing NASA infrastructure within KSC’s secured access area that could be utilized. Launch sites north of SR-402 were not considered to be within the range of reasonable alternatives because of their likely excessive impacts on Canaveral National Seashore and Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge.

Space Florida:  An additional alternative beyond Alternative 1 could include the designation of other notional future vertical launch sites. One of these could be at the location of the CVLC Site 2 identified and assessed by NASA in 2007-2008 in the same study that identified the area KSC now designates in the Draft PEIS as notional LC-48. An area of similar ground cover adjacent to the original CVLC Site 2 could be included in the notional site “bubble” of this Alternative similar to LC-49. This Alternative could also include on the Future Land Use Plan the notional site for Shiloh, as extensive site planning performed thus far for the FAA-led EIS clearly warrants its consideration in Future Land Use planning. (See also LU-16.)
Response: The PEIS is based on the current KSC Master Plan which does not include any proposed launch sites north of SR-402 due to the existing infrastructure within KSC’s secured access area that could be utilized and to minimize environmental impacts in the Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge.
Quote
Space Florida:  It does not appear the Draft PEIS analysis of potential impacts from the identified Vertical Launch areas, in particular LC-49, took advantage of data provided by NASA’s internal Ground Systems Development and Operations study of the area, or Space Florida’s submission in response to the KSC Announcement for Proposals (AFP). The cited studies would inform PEIS assessment of the wetlands disturbance and other impacts of this site’s potential development. In addition, the CMP and Draft PEIS have not addressed the issue of allowable range of flight azimuths from Notional LC-49 with respect to LC-39B. Space Florida recommends the PEIS include a more detailed but high-level discussion of the environmental issues that may be associated with Notional LC-49 being developed in the future, including conformity with the elevation-based policies of the CMP.
Response: This detailed level of environmental analysis will be conducted if/when KSC develops a partnership for the proposed launch site. A tiered NEPA document will be prepared for any proposed launch complex.
Quote
Space Florida:  Discussion in Section 3.15.2.2 should be limited to Alternative 1. There would likely be greater impacts to Playalinda Beach resulting from either the Proposed Action or Alternative 1 than Shiloh's cumulative effects. The Shiloh proposal has identified areas of expected temporary closure and would not affect Playalinda Beach due to more than
adequate safety margins from either proposed site. Some of the potential Shiloh alternatives, such as Notional LC-49, may have impacts, as they would under Alternative 1. The speculation that any project may or may not actually be constructed is not relevant to assessing its potential impact on affected resources in the event that it is constructed.
Response: Cumulative impacts are included here because they are discussed briefly (one sentence) and do not warrant their own section. Taking into account Space Florida’s information, the sentence in question is revised in the Final PEIS to: “Some cumulative adverse impacts on recreation at CNS may still occur because of the Shiloh proposal.”

Offline RedLineTrain

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The 2015 Announcement for Proposals for LC-49 was pretty tough to find as well.  The broken links to files reside at SAM.gov.  The files themselves are available through the Wayback Machine, including the original presentation PowerPoint with a couple of videos (a huge file, so I am not attaching unless you think it is worthwhile to do so).

Not much detail, other than in the Q&A from the Industry Day presentation.  Trip Harriss from SpaceX attended.  A couple of excerpts.

Quote
1.  What is the status of the rail, east of SR 3, Kennedy Parkway? 

Answer -- the rail is active and usable for government and commercial customers with service from the Jay Jay rail yard connection with Florida East Coast mainline track, east across Jay Jay Bridge then south parallel to SR 3 through the VAB area and Contractors Road.  The line ends north of SR 405, NASA Causeway.  The spur that runs east from the intersection of SR 3 and SR 407, Beach Road is in disrepair and "Abandoned in Place."  There is no government requirement to maintain this section of rail.
Quote
5.  Can you clarify the Northern Boundary (security perimeter) along old Beach Road?  Is the road within Launch Area 49?  Will the partner be responsible for maintaining the road and rail?  Can a partner establish a secure facility without entering through the KSC security gates?

Answer -- Old Beach Road and the abandoned rail spur will remain as NASA KSC infrastructure, outside the scope of a partnership agreement, unless a compelling case is made to take over the operations and maintenance by another entity.  NASA will consider changes to the security gates and secured perimeter upon request.
Quote
6.  How close are existing utilities to the Launch Areas 48 and 49?

. . .

LC-49:
•   Water – Closest water hookup is at LC-39B, ~1 mile away from perimeter of LC-49 area
•   Telecomm – Underground Copper Cable extends along the perimeter of LC-39B, ~0.75 mile away from perimeter of LC-49 area; Underground copper cable also extends along Patrol Rd, bordering the northern perimeter of LC-49 area
•   Stormwater – Open drainage exists along Titusville Beach Rd, extending between Patrol Road and LC-39B
•   Sewage – Closest sewage hookup is at LC-39B, ~1 mile away from perimeter of LC-49 area
•   Gas – Nitrogen & Gaseous Helium lines extends to LC-39B, ~1 mile away from perimeter of LC-39 area; Liquid oxygen line extends to the perimeter of LC-39B, ~0.75 mile away from perimeter of LC-49 area
•   Electricity – Line extends along A Avenue off Patrol Rd ~0.45 mile away from perimeter of LC-49 area; this is an isolated extension running from a generator in the Happy Creek area.  Another line extends to the perimeter of LC-39B, ~0.75 mile away from perimeter of LC-49 area
Quote
9.  What is the maximum lease term NASA will consider for assets or land proposed under the AFP?

Answer –   NASA does not have a set maximum lease term.  Proposals should substantiate the proposed lease term.

Offline DeanG1967

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I wish I had a good map of each current site and who is on them / what they plan to put on them.

I am also confused on having a SS/SH launch tower (Mechzilla the sequel) at LC-39A and it still being named 39A.  I thought each launcher would hold a different number / letter

Offline Jim

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Pads are numbered not launchers

Offline ulm_atms

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I wish I had a good map of each current site and who is on them / what they plan to put on them.

I am also confused on having a SS/SH launch tower (Mechzilla the sequel) at LC-39A and it still being named 39A.  I thought each launcher would hold a different number / letter

Here is an article that answers most of what you want in the first part: https://www.nasaspaceflight.com/2021/12/starship-lc-49-ksc/

You just got to research each site to fill in the rest with more detail but hopefully this gets you started as Jim answered the second part.  ;)

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Pads are numbered not launchers
Have any of the KSC or CCSFS pads ever held more than one concurrent active launch mount? There's the LC-39C small launch site inside LC-39B, but that did receive its own (irritatingly reused) designator.

Offline Jim

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Pads are numbered not launchers
Have any of the KSC or CCSFS pads ever held more than one concurrent active launch mount? There's the LC-39C small launch site inside LC-39B, but that did receive its own (irritatingly reused) designator.

Maybe LC-4

Offline edkyle99

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You really have to go to Playalinda to understand the setting.  The place is rare - an essentially unspoiled beach in Florida.  Miles and miles of it.  No condos, etc.  To get there you drive a good distance through the undeveloped Space Center natural wetland areas, where during some parts of the year you can see what seems like a billion birds among other wildlife.  It is a beautiful landscape in its way.  Playalinda users have fought for the place many times before.  Back when LC 39B was being refurbished for STS use, there was a lot of discussion because that plan threatened to cut off unfettered access.  I think a new access road was built at that time, but I may be misremembering.

An interesting aspect of this is that before there was a KSC, Merritt Island *was* developed, or partly developed.  There were orange groves and small villlages, etc. 

 - Ed Kyle

Offline Conexion Espacial

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New aerial view of the current state of the LC-49 zone at KSC.
Video: https://images.nasa.gov/details-KSC-20211228-MH-MTD01-0001-Launch_Complex_49_Area_DRONE-3294138

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Offline Conexion Espacial

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Question for some mod, any UPDATES thread for LC-49 and LC-39A?
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Offline wannamoonbase

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You really have to go to Playalinda to understand the setting.  The place is rare - an essentially unspoiled beach in Florida.  Miles and miles of it.  No condos, etc.  To get there you drive a good distance through the undeveloped Space Center natural wetland areas, where during some parts of the year you can see what seems like a billion birds among other wildlife.  It is a beautiful landscape in its way.  Playalinda users have fought for the place many times before.  Back when LC 39B was being refurbished for STS use, there was a lot of discussion because that plan threatened to cut off unfettered access.  I think a new access road was built at that time, but I may be misremembering.

An interesting aspect of this is that before there was a KSC, Merritt Island *was* developed, or partly developed.  There were orange groves and small villlages, etc. 

 - Ed Kyle

I lived in Cape Canaveral from 1999-2002 and self toured a lot of the space center and surrounding area, I was also interested in the mystery of the lost towns, especially on the CCAFS side along the coast.

http://www.gribblenation.org/2018/02/ghost-town-tuesday-ghost-towns-of.html

I found this story, but I know there are other articles out there on the lost towns of CCSFS/KSC

Edit:  More town names and relative locations on the CCSFS side.
https://www.spaceline.org/history-cape-canaveral/history-of-cape-canaveral-chapter-1/
« Last Edit: 01/04/2022 02:41 pm by wannamoonbase »
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Offline ajmarco

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If you want to have some fun. The USGS has their quadrangle maps online and you can view them by different years to see how an area changes.

https://ngmdb.usgs.gov/topoview/viewer/#13/28.5636/-80.6433

Offline Ike17055

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You really have to go to Playalinda to understand the setting.  The place is rare - an essentially unspoiled beach in Florida.  Miles and miles of it.  No condos, etc.  To get there you drive a good distance through the undeveloped Space Center natural wetland areas, where during some parts of the year you can see what seems like a billion birds among other wildlife.  It is a beautiful landscape in its way.  Playalinda users have fought for the place many times before.  Back when LC 39B was being refurbished for STS use, there was a lot of discussion because that plan threatened to cut off unfettered access.  I think a new access road was built at that time, but I may be misremembering.

An interesting aspect of this is that before there was a KSC, Merritt Island *was* developed, or partly developed.  There were orange groves and small villlages, etc. 



 - Ed Kyle

it is a true national ecological gem. worthy of the protections granted as a national wildlife refuge.  i am in Cape Canaveral for two weeks every December; I never miss any opportunity to drive the Blackpoint Nature Drive, and hike the Cruikshank Trail, and when possible, pay a day visit to the Canaveral National Seashore. The surrounding lagoons are also interesting, wildly beautiful, and quite popular with fishermen. Several unique hammock trails as well. The Space Coast is much more than just Space. Merritt Island is not "empty." Visitors who focus on Orlando are missing the best part of Central Florida.

Offline DigitalMan

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You really have to go to Playalinda to understand the setting.  The place is rare - an essentially unspoiled beach in Florida.  Miles and miles of it.  No condos, etc.  To get there you drive a good distance through the undeveloped Space Center natural wetland areas, where during some parts of the year you can see what seems like a billion birds among other wildlife.  It is a beautiful landscape in its way.  Playalinda users have fought for the place many times before.  Back when LC 39B was being refurbished for STS use, there was a lot of discussion because that plan threatened to cut off unfettered access.  I think a new access road was built at that time, but I may be misremembering.

An interesting aspect of this is that before there was a KSC, Merritt Island *was* developed, or partly developed.  There were orange groves and small villlages, etc. 



 - Ed Kyle

it is a true national ecological gem. worthy of the protections granted as a national wildlife refuge.  i am in Cape Canaveral for two weeks every December; I never miss any opportunity to drive the Blackpoint Nature Drive, and hike the Cruikshank Trail, and when possible, pay a day visit to the Canaveral National Seashore. The surrounding lagoons are also interesting, wildly beautiful, and quite popular with fishermen. Several unique hammock trails as well. The Space Coast is much more than just Space. Merritt Island is not "empty." Visitors who focus on Orlando are missing the best part of Central Florida.

If KSC is still doing the 'Wild Side" tour, you should check it out.

Offline wannamoonbase

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You really have to go to Playalinda to understand the setting.  The place is rare - an essentially unspoiled beach in Florida.  Miles and miles of it.  No condos, etc.  To get there you drive a good distance through the undeveloped Space Center natural wetland areas, where during some parts of the year you can see what seems like a billion birds among other wildlife.  It is a beautiful landscape in its way.  Playalinda users have fought for the place many times before.  Back when LC 39B was being refurbished for STS use, there was a lot of discussion because that plan threatened to cut off unfettered access.  I think a new access road was built at that time, but I may be misremembering.

An interesting aspect of this is that before there was a KSC, Merritt Island *was* developed, or partly developed.  There were orange groves and small villlages, etc. 



 - Ed Kyle

it is a true national ecological gem. worthy of the protections granted as a national wildlife refuge.  i am in Cape Canaveral for two weeks every December; I never miss any opportunity to drive the Blackpoint Nature Drive, and hike the Cruikshank Trail, and when possible, pay a day visit to the Canaveral National Seashore. The surrounding lagoons are also interesting, wildly beautiful, and quite popular with fishermen. Several unique hammock trails as well. The Space Coast is much more than just Space. Merritt Island is not "empty." Visitors who focus on Orlando are missing the best part of Central Florida.

I completely agree, I tell people that are going to FL to visit KSC and the surrounding nature areas.  They seldom do, how can one not visit a Saturn V?

The Haulover canal was always a great place to see Manatee's, don't know if it still is.

Developing LC49 will come with some conditions and environmental offsets I'm sure.
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Offline matthewkantar

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The best way to keep the Space Coast wild is to ensure it remains a space launch center. If NASA, the DoD and private companies contract or go elsewhere, eventually it will look like the balance of the Florida coast.

Offline Ike17055

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i welcome the expanded use of the Spaceport -- there are plenty of areas able to be repurposed, or developed, as Space Florida is striving for  --  but you are wrong: the refuge is preserved land, and that will not change even if the Spaceport ever closes up shop.  The federal protections are in perpetuity.  The Refuge is wholly separate from the whatever fate holds for the SPaceport. 

Offline Ike17055

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The best way to keep the Space Coast wild is to ensure it remains a space launch center. If NASA, the DoD and private companies contract or go elsewhere, eventually it will look like the balance of the Florida coast.

it"s not an "all or nothing" choice. The Cape has limits on how much capacity it can buiid, and the range has launch operations constraints as well, but will continue to be a nearly ideal launch point, thus its success would seem secure.  As the industry expands, we will continue to see other spaceports open or expand.  Looks at Wallops, for instance.  There will be enough business for numerous spaceports: we don't have to chuck the protection of a unique eco-scape to have a successful space future for Florida.

Offline envy887

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It would sense to leave 39A as a dedicated F9/H pad until Starship has proven itself to be capable of replacing F9/H for NASA and DoD use. It would reduce risk to surrounding equipment during the early Starship flights.

And since the SS/SH infrastructure is going to be scratch-built anyway, why not build it at a new area?

But perhaps that is not what SpaceX is planning - if the article is correct.

There is going to be multiple Starship launch sites at the Cape. Elon mentioned, just a few days ago on Twitter, that construction of the first Starship launchpad at LC-39A has (re)started.
SpaceX is interested in building a second one at LC-49.

I still don't understand why NASA isn't freaking out over having a huge vehicle with minimal flight history launching 230m away from their only operational crewed launch facility.  Similarly, I'd think the DoD would be freaked out over having the same huge vehicle within 250m of the only VIF they'll have that's capable of handling a large direct-to-GEO mission anytime soon.

Of course, the timing is critical.  If Starliner starts working, then LC-39A isn't the only way to get crews into LEO.  And if Vulcan VC6 or VH starts flying, then there are ways to get heavy birds direct to GEO (as long as they're not too heavy).

LC-49 could sorta-kinda allay those fears.  But it's going to show up substantially later than the 39A facility, which makes the timing kinda weird.

What does this mean for Roberts Road?  There are ways to get Starships (or at least Starship noses with payloads integrated) from there to LC-39A, but LC-49 is quite a hike, with a road infrastructure that's kinda marginal right now.

The HIF at 40 is only 165 meters from the pad, and wasn't even scratched by the Amos 6 explosion.

The tower and HIF structures themselves are not soft targets. And if the equipment on them can handle the acoustics and thermals of a FH launch 10 meters away, they can probably handle those from a Starship RUD 200+ m away.

So the only remaining issue is flying debris, which is a risk, but not a large one. And again, a FH blowing on 39A would cause a lot more debris damage.

Starship has already flown more than FH, too...

Offline Robotbeat

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The best way to keep the Space Coast wild is to ensure it remains a space launch center. If NASA, the DoD and private companies contract or go elsewhere, eventually it will look like the balance of the Florida coast.

it"s not an "all or nothing" choice. The Cape has limits on how much capacity it can buiid, and the range has launch operations constraints as well, but will continue to be a nearly ideal launch point, thus its success would seem secure.  As the industry expands, we will continue to see other spaceports open or expand.  Looks at Wallops, for instance.  There will be enough business for numerous spaceports: we don't have to chuck the protection of a unique eco-scape to have a successful space future for Florida.
Every single launch site, Wallops, the Cape, Boca Chica, has similar high degree of wildlife and is a “unique eco-scape.” In the Cape in particular, it was able to develop as a refuge precisely because the humans are kept at bay due to the hazardous launch site.

There is no “better” place. They are all approximately the same. These are largely the same kind of arguments used against every kind of project like this.
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Offline wannamoonbase

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The best way to keep the Space Coast wild is to ensure it remains a space launch center. If NASA, the DoD and private companies contract or go elsewhere, eventually it will look like the balance of the Florida coast.

it"s not an "all or nothing" choice. The Cape has limits on how much capacity it can buiid, and the range has launch operations constraints as well, but will continue to be a nearly ideal launch point, thus its success would seem secure.  As the industry expands, we will continue to see other spaceports open or expand.  Looks at Wallops, for instance.  There will be enough business for numerous spaceports: we don't have to chuck the protection of a unique eco-scape to have a successful space future for Florida.
Every single launch site, Wallops, the Cape, Boca Chica, has similar high degree of wildlife and is a “unique eco-scape.” In the Cape in particular, it was able to develop as a refuge precisely because the humans are kept at bay due to the hazardous launch site.

There is no “better” place. They are all approximately the same. These are largely the same kind of arguments used against every kind of project like this.

There is 1 singular reason why these super heavy booster facilities have vast nature areas surrounding them.  The safety area from fragmentation is a small amount of area compared to the sound level clearances.

Having watched a dozen shuttle launches live from beside the VAB to Titusville and Highway 528 that distance is needed.
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Offline StuffOfInterest

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There is 1 singular reason why these super heavy booster facilities have vast nature areas surrounding them.  The safety area from fragmentation is a small amount of area compared to the sound level clearances.

Having watched a dozen shuttle launches live from beside the VAB to Titusville and Highway 528 that distance is needed.

Well, thanks.  Now I have that image of seals wearing headphones from about five years ago back in my head!  Maybe the gators need hearing protection next?

Now, being serious, how much does the noise factor's impact on the local wildlife play into the environment assessment?

Offline Michel Van

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Looking on Wide Bay construction at Starbase, a question came in my mind
How they gonna store the Booster and Superheavy at Cape ?
it's clearly to see that SpaceX took vertical assembly in contrast to Horizontal of Falcon 9
but from SpaceX new facility in KSC it's a 12 km trip to LC-39A
either they build a High Bay near LC39A
or they gonna lease VAB space for Starship and Superheavy storage and maintenance ?

Now with LC-49 last one would makes sense if you extent the road of LC-39B north to it.

VAB has four high bay (original four Saturn V assembly) currently one is used for SLS
in theory SpaceX could lease two bay for Storage and maintenance of Starship/superheavy

Offline darkenfast

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The VAB has issues with regards to other users leasing space. The main one is that operations involving the Solid Rocket Boosters often require everything else to shut down while they are in progress. The other problem is the expense of re-fitting the bay to accommodate SS/SH, versus the cost of building a copy of the Wide Bay currently under construction in Texas (and I have no idea of the costs of either). If SLS goes away for good, then something might happen, but until then, I just don't see how it would be worth it. I understand Space Florida is in the early stages of creating some kind of industrial area by the Shuttle Landing Facility. This might be a good location for SpaceX buildings, but that is just speculation on my part.

Edit to add: SpaceX has acquired a lot of experience using SPMTs to move its big pieces around at Starbase. It would be interesting to see how that factors into operations at KSC. I'd guess that their loaded SPMTs move faster than a loaded Crawler/Transporter and are a lot cheaper to operate. It will be an interesting project to watch as it develops!
« Last Edit: 01/06/2022 11:16 am by darkenfast »
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Offline Ike17055

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The best way to keep the Space Coast wild is to ensure it remains a space launch center. If NASA, the DoD and private companies contract or go elsewhere, eventually it will look like the balance of the Florida coast.

it"s not an "all or nothing" choice. The Cape has limits on how much capacity it can buiid, and the range has launch operations constraints as well, but will continue to be a nearly ideal launch point, thus its success would seem secure.  As the industry expands, we will continue to see other spaceports open or expand.  Looks at Wallops, for instance.  There will be enough business for numerous spaceports: we don't have to chuck the protection of a unique eco-scape to have a successful space future for Florida.
Every single launch site, Wallops, the Cape, Boca Chica, has similar high degree of wildlife and is a “unique eco-scape.” In the Cape in particular, it was able to develop as a refuge precisely because the humans are kept at bay due to the hazardous launch site.

There is no “better” place. They are all approximately the same. These are largely the same kind of arguments used against every kind of project like this.

you appear to miss the point. the Refuge is there to stay, regardless of what happens at the Cape -- not that the Cape is in danger --far from it actually.  The Refuge does not, as is implied, depend on the "generosity" of the launch industry to survive, nor would or should it be forced to compete for the limited resources there.  The Cape will remain attractive without taking it all. 

Moreover, the fact is: the refuge does include uniqueness in the form of both endangered species (plant and animal), as well as hammocks that reflect Old Florida and are irreplaceable.  Securing the land for expansion of launch operations and the development of the Refuge happened nearly simultaneously and operated synergistically.  As you state, there ARE other Spaceport locations that are equally, or near equally, attractive.  There are no other significant strips of Old Florida left.  The Cape can prosper and even grow even within its existing or near-existing footprint.  And in fact, the reality is, the public would never stand for any backsliding on the protections extended to a designed National Wildlife Refuge, thus launch expansionists simply have to live minimal modification, or with with finding alternatives nearby, or elsewhere.


Offline Robotbeat

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The plans to use LC-49 (LC-39C as it was called) for space travel predate the refuge, and there's no fundamental reason they can't coexist, though it will get a bit loud at times.

Every NIMBY claims something is unique and so some new project can't proceed. Everyone thinks THEIR favorite little spot is unique, so "build somewhere else." Every single spot has people claiming the same arguments. This site has the advantage of being part of historical plans for space launch, effectively grandfathered in as part of the overall space launch complex.

Also, ha, "launch expansionists." If you mean NASA/KSC and Space Florida (i.e. the State of Florida), then sure.  ::)
« Last Edit: 01/06/2022 03:35 pm by Robotbeat »
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Offline Jim

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.  There are no other significant strips of Old Florida left.  The Cape can prosper and even grow even within its existing or near-existing footprint.  And in fact, the reality is, the public would never stand for any backsliding on the protections extended to a designed National Wildlife Refuge, thus launch expansionists simply have to live minimal modification, or with with finding alternatives nearby, or elsewhere.

the "existing foot print" includes proposed LC-39C, D & E, so LC-49 should be no issue taking over one of these sites.

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it"s not an "all or nothing" choice. The Cape has limits on how much capacity it can buiid, and the range has launch operations constraints as well, but will continue to be a nearly ideal launch point, thus its success would seem secure.  As the industry expands, we will continue to see other spaceports open or expand.  Looks at Wallops, for instance.  There will be enough business for numerous spaceports: we don't have to chuck the protection of a unique eco-scape to have a successful space future for Florida.

Wallops not applicable, can't handle many of the Cape missions.  KSC/Cape has unique facilities and launch trajectories that require launches to go from there.

Offline AC in NC

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Every NIMBY claims something is unique and so some new project can't proceed. Everyone thinks THEIR favorite little spot is unique, so "build somewhere else." Every single spot has people claiming the same arguments.
Seriously.  We can't go to Mars because hammocks.   ::)

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it"s not an "all or nothing" choice. The Cape has limits on how much capacity it can buiid, and the range has launch operations constraints as well, but will continue to be a nearly ideal launch point, thus its success would seem secure.  As the industry expands, we will continue to see other spaceports open or expand.  Looks at Wallops, for instance.  There will be enough business for numerous spaceports: we don't have to chuck the protection of a unique eco-scape to have a successful space future for Florida.

Wallops not applicable, can't handle many of the Cape missions.  KSC/Cape has unique facilities and launch trajectories that require launches to go from there.

100%, it's a great location with great access from land, sea and the most used launch trajectories.  That's why it was originally picked and why any US based super heavy vehicle was going to find itself there eventually.
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The plans to use LC-49 (LC-39C as it was called) for space travel predate the refuge, and there's no fundamental reason they can't coexist, though it will get a bit loud at times.
That effectively amounts to "we called dibs more than half a century ago, no take-backsies".

As it stands, there is a large area of untouched nature reserve that has not had any development on it since the creation of the reserve. Entire ecosystems have since developed there. Building a launch complex on it is a significant change to that, much moreso than the renovations to established launch complexes elsewhere on the range. Even the only 'new' launch complex in recent history - LC-36 - had barely a decade of non-use before Blue arrived and was an active pad previous to that.
It is not at all an unreasonable idea to assess what impact building a new launch complex on a greenfield site will have, regardless of whether someone in the early 60s drew a map that had a launch complex there for a short time. Assessing that impact doe snot mean not building the pad, it just means not turning a blind eye to the effects on the reserve.

Offline Robotbeat

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As for not assessing… that’s not under question. Assessment of some level is required by law.

We are now, finally, expanding launch capacity beyond the Cold War peak. It’s not insane to suggest it will require more launch sites than were in use yet still inside the overall launch center.
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Offline Conexion Espacial

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Looking on Wide Bay construction at Starbase, a question came in my mind
How they gonna store the Booster and Superheavy at Cape ?
it's clearly to see that SpaceX took vertical assembly in contrast to Horizontal of Falcon 9
but from SpaceX new facility in KSC it's a 12 km trip to LC-39A
either they build a High Bay near LC39A
or they gonna lease VAB space for Starship and Superheavy storage and maintenance ?

Now with LC-49 last one would makes sense if you extent the road of LC-39B north to it.

VAB has four high bay (original four Saturn V assembly) currently one is used for SLS
in theory SpaceX could lease two bay for Storage and maintenance of Starship/superheavy

SpaceX not only has plans for KSC launch pads, right now they are in negotiation with NASA for the lease of VAB's High Bay #2 which would be used as a vehicle checkout and storage site (This is all under discussion so we will have to wait to find out what the final plans are there). Expansions are underway at Roberts Road which include new buildings not only for Falcon 9 and Dragon work, but some Starship related work will be done there as well. In addition, SpaceX may be planning some sites near 39A or 49 to support Starship activities, we'll have to wait to see what those plans are.
« Last Edit: 01/06/2022 07:10 pm by Conexion Espacial »
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Offline meekGee

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The plans to use LC-49 (LC-39C as it was called) for space travel predate the refuge, and there's no fundamental reason they can't coexist, though it will get a bit loud at times.
That effectively amounts to "we called dibs more than half a century ago, no take-backsies".

As it stands, there is a large area of untouched nature reserve that has not had any development on it since the creation of the reserve. Entire ecosystems have since developed there. Building a launch complex on it is a significant change to that, much moreso than the renovations to established launch complexes elsewhere on the range. Even the only 'new' launch complex in recent history - LC-36 - had barely a decade of non-use before Blue arrived and was an active pad previous to that.
It is not at all an unreasonable idea to assess what impact building a new launch complex on a greenfield site will have, regardless of whether someone in the early 60s drew a map that had a launch complex there for a short time. Assessing that impact doe snot mean not building the pad, it just means not turning a blind eye to the effects on the reserve.
Isn't what you just described exactly "dibbs"?  Just starting a short time after the other dibbs?  :)
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Offline Robotbeat

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The plans to use LC-49 (LC-39C as it was called) for space travel predate the refuge, and there's no fundamental reason they can't coexist, though it will get a bit loud at times.
That effectively amounts to "we called dibs more than half a century ago, no take-backsies".

As it stands, there is a large area of untouched nature reserve that has not had any development on it since the creation of the reserve. Entire ecosystems have since developed there. Building a launch complex on it is a significant change to that, much moreso than the renovations to established launch complexes elsewhere on the range. Even the only 'new' launch complex in recent history - LC-36 - had barely a decade of non-use before Blue arrived and was an active pad previous to that.
It is not at all an unreasonable idea to assess what impact building a new launch complex on a greenfield site will have, regardless of whether someone in the early 60s drew a map that had a launch complex there for a short time. Assessing that impact doe snot mean not building the pad, it just means not turning a blind eye to the effects on the reserve.
Isn't what you just described exactly "dibbs"?  Just starting a short time after the other dibbs?  :)
Bingo. I thought his comment was unintentionally humorous for undermining its own argument by mockingly using the term “dibs”…

It’s not hyperbole to suggest that if we took these arguments as seriously as some would’ve liked, Apollo wouldn’t have been possible. And the area now would be condos (both worse for nature and essentially impossible to remove).

Also, people keep claiming the launch site is on a refuge, which is false. It’s an existing part of the space port, it is just undeveloped. It’d be unreasonable to create an incentive structure so that NASA would have to pave all areas with future plans as a big parking lot just so nature doesn’t move in. That’s the same kind of incentive structure that caused Brussels Airlines to fly thousands of empty flights just to keep their airline slots…
« Last Edit: 01/06/2022 07:09 pm by Robotbeat »
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Quote
right now they are in negotiation with NASA for the lease of VAB's High Bay #3 which would be used as a vehicle checkout and storage site
How do you know that?

Offline Conexion Espacial

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Quote
right now they are in negotiation with NASA for the lease of VAB's High Bay #3 which would be used as a vehicle checkout and storage site
How do you know that?
NSF talked about it in one of its last articles

https://www.nasaspaceflight.com/2021/12/starship-lc-49-ksc/
Quote

Likely, SpaceX has also inquired about the spare High Bay inside the cavernous Vehicle Assembly Building (VAB), which numerous sources say is an active conversation.

Such a conversation would be specific to High Bay 2. SLS uses High Bay 3, while High Bay 1 is reserved for future SLS use. High Bay 4 is used for storage and preprocessing of SLS components before stacking.
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Offline alugobi

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"Likely" and unnamed sources. 

I remain skeptical.

Offline DigitalMan

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"Likely" and unnamed sources. 

I remain skeptical.

Nobody is going to dox their sources, get used to it.

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The plans to use LC-49 (LC-39C as it was called) for space travel predate the refuge, and there's no fundamental reason they can't coexist, though it will get a bit loud at times.
That effectively amounts to "we called dibs more than half a century ago, no take-backsies".

As it stands, there is a large area of untouched nature reserve that has not had any development on it since the creation of the reserve. Entire ecosystems have since developed there. Building a launch complex on it is a significant change to that, much moreso than the renovations to established launch complexes elsewhere on the range. Even the only 'new' launch complex in recent history - LC-36 - had barely a decade of non-use before Blue arrived and was an active pad previous to that.
It is not at all an unreasonable idea to assess what impact building a new launch complex on a greenfield site will have, regardless of whether someone in the early 60s drew a map that had a launch complex there for a short time. Assessing that impact doe snot mean not building the pad, it just means not turning a blind eye to the effects on the reserve.
Isn't what you just described exactly "dibbs"?  Just starting a short time after the other dibbs?  :)
No, it's a case of practical land use:
50+ years of use as a nature reserve
0 years of use as a launch complex.

In terms of the "but where else could we possibly build a new launch complex?!": That's where you need to make good argument that developing a greenfield site is necessary rather than redeveloping any of the sites on Missile Row (e.g. the need for use of existing transport links or infrastructure located at the north end of KSC).

My point is not that LC-49 is a bad choice for a launch site, but that objections to its use cannot be dismissed out of lazyness or unwillingness to actually look at the issues, just because you like rockets but don't care about the nature raserve.

Also, people keep claiming the launch site is on a refuge, which is false.
Maybe you should go inform the USFWS that they are mistaken, because that border is pretty clear and explicitly encompasses a large portion of KSC: https://www.fws.gov/uploadedFiles/doc20150206111031.pdf

Offline WiresMN

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The plans to use LC-49 (LC-39C as it was called) for space travel predate the refuge, and there's no fundamental reason they can't coexist, though it will get a bit loud at times.
That effectively amounts to "we called dibs more than half a century ago, no take-backsies".

As it stands, there is a large area of untouched nature reserve that has not had any development on it since the creation of the reserve. Entire ecosystems have since developed there. Building a launch complex on it is a significant change to that, much moreso than the renovations to established launch complexes elsewhere on the range. Even the only 'new' launch complex in recent history - LC-36 - had barely a decade of non-use before Blue arrived and was an active pad previous to that.
It is not at all an unreasonable idea to assess what impact building a new launch complex on a greenfield site will have, regardless of whether someone in the early 60s drew a map that had a launch complex there for a short time. Assessing that impact doe snot mean not building the pad, it just means not turning a blind eye to the effects on the reserve.
Isn't what you just described exactly "dibbs"?  Just starting a short time after the other dibbs?  :)
No, it's a case of practical land use:
50+ years of use as a nature reserve
0 years of use as a launch complex.

In terms of the "but where else could we possibly build a new launch complex?!": That's where you need to make good argument that developing a greenfield site is necessary rather than redeveloping any of the sites on Missile Row (e.g. the need for use of existing transport links or infrastructure located at the north end of KSC).

My point is not that LC-49 is a bad choice for a launch site, but that objections to its use cannot be dismissed out of lazyness or unwillingness to actually look at the issues, just because you like rockets but don't care about the nature raserve.

Also, people keep claiming the launch site is on a refuge, which is false.
Maybe you should go inform the USFWS that they are mistaken, because that border is pretty clear and explicitly encompasses a large portion of KSC: https://www.fws.gov/uploadedFiles/doc20150206111031.pdf

You are making an a assumption that SpaceX and other REALLY involved in the decision making process have not truly considered a brownfield site somewhere in the complex. If it met SPX needs they would choose that. It is less expensive both environmentally and monetarily to use a brownfield site compared to a swamp. Is there even space in missile row for a VERY large rocket? They have their reasons for choosing the LC49. There will be an environmental review and plan and LC49 may be too expensive at the end of the day once all mitigations are in place. We shall see. Calling people lazy for taking what information has been given to us is just wrong. Let's tone it down.

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You are making an a assumption that SpaceX and other REALLY involved in the decision making process have not truly considered a brownfield site somewhere in the complex.
No, I would expect SpaceX have been inquiring about other KSC and CCSFS sites for many years. It's how they acquired LC-39A and LC-13.
Quote
Calling people lazy for taking what information has been given to us is just wrong. Let's tone it down.
No, the lazyness is in attempting to dismiss environmental concerns because at one point in time a pad was proposed but never built.

Offline Robotbeat

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You are making an a assumption that SpaceX and other REALLY involved in the decision making process have not truly considered a brownfield site somewhere in the complex.
No, I would expect SpaceX have been inquiring about other KSC and CCSFS sites for many years. It's how they acquired LC-39A and LC-13.
Quote
Calling people lazy for taking what information has been given to us is just wrong. Let's tone it down.
No, the lazyness is in attempting to dismiss environmental concerns because at one point in time a pad was proposed but never built.
There is no dismissal of the need for review. The dismissal is of some of the more extreme environmental claims, including yours where you call “dibs” on an area long planned for development.

KSC is a mixed use area. It is not fully set aside for a refuge as areas to the north are but also hosts launch areas that need a large, human-free buffer that can be shared with wildlife. It’d be a sad day if that mutually beneficial arrangement (ie where humans are kept out of wildlife areas for security and safety reasons… politically stronger and more durable than disallowing humans just for environmental reasons) were challenged because allowing wildlife near launch sites was considered a regulatory liability. That would be a really bad precedent, and saying so is not “dismissing (all) environmental concerns.”

The real laziness is the silence of some of y’all when it was Blue Origin looking at this site instead of SpaceX. Relying on media frenzy.
« Last Edit: 01/07/2022 02:31 pm by Robotbeat »
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Offline RedLineTrain

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Some of this discussion could move into the policy area because as I understand it, it is largely a political question whether vertical launch pads at LC-49 and points North are doable.  As you can see from the 2017 PEIS discussed above, NASA's position is that LC-49 is doable, but points North are not at this time.  Space Florida thinks that points North up to Shiloh (I assume Shiloh Beach) should be within the solution matrix because you could keep Playalinda Beach open more often.

In 2015, then-Senator Nelson said "Shiloh is not going to become a spaceport,” but that is one person's opinion.  As I understand it, this is governed by an agreement between NASA and the USFWS.  Agreements are not law and can be changed, but it seems unlikely that this kind of change will happen any time soon.  For sure, Nelson is steeped in this issue, was intimately involved with the politics of everything that led up to the 2017 PEIS, and at this time could have significant influence on what happens.

LC-49 is a good spot for vertical launch and I can think of some mitigations to keep the Northern portion of Playalinda open more often.  For instance, you could offer ferry service during times when LC-49 has operations.  After all, the Northern path of Route 402 was an after-the-fact mitigation for LC-39B in order to keep Playalinda open more often.
« Last Edit: 01/07/2022 03:00 pm by RedLineTrain »

Offline dondar

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1. the refuge is shared with NASA.
2. As far as I know it is not legalized as national wilderness area. (i.e. not protected by the 1964 act). As one can easily see, there are roads, abandoned buildings and structures still presented in the are, neither the area is regulated for visiting  or even legislated as some restricted entity. (some border areas are though).

3 Claims that abandoned area becomes a natural reservation are retarded.
If such claims have to be taken seriously people shouldn't be allowed to rebuild anything or use natural resources in any possible way. We interact with the nature every day (in cities included), and the question is not about "not doing" (those who want it are free to die, because that's exactly what they want). The question is about minimizing impacts.

The area (just like Boca Chica actually) doesn't represent anything special, unique or exceptional.
Do you want to preserve nature? look for the area which really has something to preserve, do legislate it and formalize (generally, not "anti-SpaceX" way). If you do it, (like it was in 1964) i am sure SpaceX and other real American companies (just like then) will chip in and finance national parks of proper nature.
P.S. There are fundamental differences between national parks, refuges and natural reserves in US and these words mean fundamentally different things they mean in UK, EU etc.

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There is no dismissal of the need for review. The dismissal is of some of the more extreme environmental claims, including yours where you call “dibs” on an area long planned for development.
Not long planned. Instead, extremely short planned, for the period from 1962 when land was purchased to 1963 when LC-39C became LC-39A. 1963 was also when the Merritt Island NWR was established. No construction or preparation for construction (clearing or surcharging) occurred on the original LC-39A site. For less that a year did an 'CL-39A' in that location exist, and never beyond a set of drawings.
Quote
KSC is a mixed use area. It is not fully set aside for a refuge as areas to the north are but also hosts launch areas that need a large, human-free buffer that can be shared with wildlife. It’d be a sad day if that mutually beneficial arrangement (ie where humans are kept out of wildlife areas for security and safety reasons… politically stronger and more durable than disallowing humans just for environmental reasons) were challenged because allowing wildlife near launch sites was considered a regulatory liability. That would be a really bad precedent, and saying so is not “dismissing (all) environmental concerns.”
The idea that an environmental review would somehow mean that humans would not be kept out is complete and utter nonsense, and a straw man. The proposed LC-49 area is already within the area of KSC where public access is prohibited, and that would not change regardless of whether pads at LC-49 were built or not.

2. As far as I know it is not legalized as national wilderness area. (i.e. not protected by the 1964 act). As one can easily see, there are roads, abandoned buildings and structures still presented in the are, neither the area is regulated for visiting  or even legislated as some restricted entity. (some border areas are though).
Merrit Island National Wildlife Refuge is a National Wildlife Refuge, so that legal protection dates back to the early 1900s (currently covered under the 1997 National Wildlife Refuge System Improvement Act that consolidates the previous scattering of legislation).
Quote
3 Claims that abandoned area becomes a natural reservation are retarded.
No such claims have been made, so that's purely a straw man.

-----

Whether it's SpaceX, Blue, NASA, or Exxon, if any entity want to go building an new industrial site inside of a National Wildlife Reserve, expect it to involve a lot of work to minimise environmental impact, and to be able to show why they absolutely have to build there and not elsewhere. It is right that the bar is set high, and just because you expect NASA and SpaceX to be able to clear that bar does not mean you can just skip the whole thing.

Offline Robotbeat

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It’s not a rational bar to have to prove you literally can’t build anywhere else (only that you do consider alternatives). That, luckily, isn’t the regulatory standard, only that alternatives are documented for the decision-makers. Quit making up stuff.

Also quit implying anyone is arguing against minimizing impact. More and more strawmen.
« Last Edit: 01/07/2022 04:03 pm by Robotbeat »
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It’s not a rational bar to have to prove you literally can’t build anywhere else (only that you do consider alternatives). That, luckily, isn’t the regulatory standard, only that alternatives are documented for the decision-makers. Quit making up stuff.
It is, however, what would be challenged in court (the reason for making EAs and EISes public in the first place is to allow such challenges) so anyone sane puts that reasoning in place ahead of time rather than waiting for a challenge after the fact - adding delay.

Offline Robotbeat

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It’s not a rational bar to have to prove you literally can’t build anywhere else (only that you do consider alternatives). That, luckily, isn’t the regulatory standard, only that alternatives are documented for the decision-makers. Quit making up stuff.
It is, however, what would be challenged in court (the reason for making EAs and EISes public in the first place is to allow such challenges) so anyone sane puts that reasoning in place ahead of time rather than waiting for a challenge after the fact - adding delay.
Oh sure. But that applies no matter where you build. Motivated people with cash for lawyers who want to stop a project can usually do so, and no amount of preplanning will  ultimately prevent that entirely.
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Offline meekGee

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The plans to use LC-49 (LC-39C as it was called) for space travel predate the refuge, and there's no fundamental reason they can't coexist, though it will get a bit loud at times.
That effectively amounts to "we called dibs more than half a century ago, no take-backsies".

As it stands, there is a large area of untouched nature reserve that has not had any development on it since the creation of the reserve. Entire ecosystems have since developed there. Building a launch complex on it is a significant change to that, much moreso than the renovations to established launch complexes elsewhere on the range. Even the only 'new' launch complex in recent history - LC-36 - had barely a decade of non-use before Blue arrived and was an active pad previous to that.
It is not at all an unreasonable idea to assess what impact building a new launch complex on a greenfield site will have, regardless of whether someone in the early 60s drew a map that had a launch complex there for a short time. Assessing that impact doe snot mean not building the pad, it just means not turning a blind eye to the effects on the reserve.
Isn't what you just described exactly "dibbs"?  Just starting a short time after the other dibbs?  :)
No, it's a case of practical land use:
50+ years of use as a nature reserve
0 years of use as a launch complex.

In terms of the "but where else could we possibly build a new launch complex?!": That's where you need to make good argument that developing a greenfield site is necessary rather than redeveloping any of the sites on Missile Row (e.g. the need for use of existing transport links or infrastructure located at the north end of KSC).

My point is not that LC-49 is a bad choice for a launch site, but that objections to its use cannot be dismissed out of lazyness or unwillingness to actually look at the issues, just because you like rockets but don't care about the nature raserve.

Also, people keep claiming the launch site is on a refuge, which is false.
Maybe you should go inform the USFWS that they are mistaken, because that border is pretty clear and explicitly encompasses a large portion of KSC: https://www.fws.gov/uploadedFiles/doc20150206111031.pdf
But that's exactly the reason why a forward looking master plan was set up, marking this as a site of a future launch site.

It's the legal mechanism that eliminates the need to "build something now so they can't say later we didn't use it", no?
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The plans to use LC-49 (LC-39C as it was called) for space travel predate the refuge, and there's no fundamental reason they can't coexist, though it will get a bit loud at times.
That effectively amounts to "we called dibs more than half a century ago, no take-backsies".

As it stands, there is a large area of untouched nature reserve that has not had any development on it since the creation of the reserve. Entire ecosystems have since developed there. Building a launch complex on it is a significant change to that, much moreso than the renovations to established launch complexes elsewhere on the range. Even the only 'new' launch complex in recent history - LC-36 - had barely a decade of non-use before Blue arrived and was an active pad previous to that.
It is not at all an unreasonable idea to assess what impact building a new launch complex on a greenfield site will have, regardless of whether someone in the early 60s drew a map that had a launch complex there for a short time. Assessing that impact doe snot mean not building the pad, it just means not turning a blind eye to the effects on the reserve.
Isn't what you just described exactly "dibbs"?  Just starting a short time after the other dibbs?  :)
No, it's a case of practical land use:
50+ years of use as a nature reserve
0 years of use as a launch complex.

In terms of the "but where else could we possibly build a new launch complex?!": That's where you need to make good argument that developing a greenfield site is necessary rather than redeveloping any of the sites on Missile Row (e.g. the need for use of existing transport links or infrastructure located at the north end of KSC).

My point is not that LC-49 is a bad choice for a launch site, but that objections to its use cannot be dismissed out of lazyness or unwillingness to actually look at the issues, just because you like rockets but don't care about the nature raserve.

Also, people keep claiming the launch site is on a refuge, which is false.
Maybe you should go inform the USFWS that they are mistaken, because that border is pretty clear and explicitly encompasses a large portion of KSC: https://www.fws.gov/uploadedFiles/doc20150206111031.pdf
But that's exactly the reason why a forward looking master plan was set up, marking this as a site of a future launch site.

It's the legal mechanism that eliminates the need to "build something now so they can't say later we didn't use it", no?
Just having a plan isn't enough on it's own. Indeed, the PEIS prepared for the KSC Master Plan (https://netspublic.grc.nasa.gov/main/Kennedy%20Space%20Center%20Final%20PEIS%2011-28-2016.pdf) is not a 'pre approval', but to provide guidance on how EAs or EISes would be prepared for actual plans. 

The weird way US environmental protections work, instead of exact rules and active monitoring for violations (i.e. telling someone an explicit 'no' before they start or while watching them work), there are more often relaxed rules and enforcement conducted by legally challenging (perceived) violations, either by private citizens or branches of the local or federal government. The idea is that the threat of a challenge is enough to prevent the action on its own without direct monitoring, which.... kinda works sometimes. But it also means you can do everything 'right' and still be hit with a challenge, and there is no guarantee that it is frivolous enough to not be thrown out (i.e. you could turn out to be wrong in your interpretation of the law).
The upshot is there is no legal mechanism to guarantee in advance that an action can go ahead, just the prudence of dotting all your 'i's and crossing all your 't's beforehand to make any challenges as difficult as possible.

Offline acrewdog

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Why not look forward to launch complex 37 as a launch site for Super Heavy?  It has two pads, its dry already, and would be much faster to get working on without as much environmental hassle due to being on an air force base and being a launch site already. Delta IV heavy will be done soon and this pad should be available. 
Just thinking about how much land work would go into 49 after looking at the pictures of the site, I know we would all dearly love another site next to a public road, but this seems much more reasonable.
What Am I missing here?

Offline Conexion Espacial

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Why not look forward to launch complex 37 as a launch site for Super Heavy?  It has two pads, its dry already, and would be much faster to get working on without as much environmental hassle due to being on an air force base and being a launch site already. Delta IV heavy will be done soon and this pad should be available. 
Just thinking about how much land work would go into 49 after looking at the pictures of the site, I know we would all dearly love another site next to a public road, but this seems much more reasonable.
What Am I missing here?
After DIVH retires, 37B could be adapted for the Vulcan, I don't know who is in charge right now of the other launch site near 37B but seeing how the area is and the plans SpaceX has for Starship, I consider it a small site.
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Offline Jim

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After DIVH retires, 37B could be adapted for the Vulcan,

Not going to

Offline Jim

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Why not look forward to launch complex 37 as a launch site for Super Heavy?  It has two pads, its dry already, and would be much faster to get working on without as much environmental hassle due to being on an air force base and being a launch site already. Delta IV heavy will be done soon and this pad should be available. 
Just thinking about how much land work would go into 49 after looking at the pictures of the site, I know we would all dearly love another site next to a public road, but this seems much more reasonable.
What Am I missing here?


Too close to others

Offline wannamoonbase

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Why not look forward to launch complex 37 as a launch site for Super Heavy?  It has two pads, its dry already, and would be much faster to get working on without as much environmental hassle due to being on an air force base and being a launch site already. Delta IV heavy will be done soon and this pad should be available. 
Just thinking about how much land work would go into 49 after looking at the pictures of the site, I know we would all dearly love another site next to a public road, but this seems much more reasonable.
What Am I missing here?
After DIVH retires, 37B could be adapted for the Vulcan, I don't know who is in charge right now of the other launch site near 37B but seeing how the area is and the plans SpaceX has for Starship, I consider it a small site.

37B is not the worst idea.  It's an accessible location, and appears to have room for multiple towers.

Doubtful that ULA wants the cost of a 2nd launch site, they are already at a financial disadvantage.

I like the idea of 37B.
Wildly optimistic prediction, Superheavy recovery on IFT-4 or IFT-5

Offline Conexion Espacial

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Why not look forward to launch complex 37 as a launch site for Super Heavy?  It has two pads, its dry already, and would be much faster to get working on without as much environmental hassle due to being on an air force base and being a launch site already. Delta IV heavy will be done soon and this pad should be available. 
Just thinking about how much land work would go into 49 after looking at the pictures of the site, I know we would all dearly love another site next to a public road, but this seems much more reasonable.
What Am I missing here?
After DIVH retires, 37B could be adapted for the Vulcan, I don't know who is in charge right now of the other launch site near 37B but seeing how the area is and the plans SpaceX has for Starship, I consider it a small site.

37B is not the worst idea.  It's an accessible location, and appears to have room for multiple towers.

Doubtful that ULA wants the cost of a 2nd launch site, they are already at a financial disadvantage.

I like the idea of 37B.
In that case it would be this area marked in red, as I said, LC-37B is ULA's only platform for the launch of its most powerful rocket right now and if necessary, it will be conditioned for the Vulcan.
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Online edzieba

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In terms of CCSFS pads, any pad other than one in active use wold be a better option. Starship's launch site requirements are sufficiently different in type and scale (no existing LCH4 tanks anywhere, existing LOX tanks completely inadequate apart from LC-39A/B) that any pad would be a new build. No reason to pick one where the existing customer has several years of operations left before considering vacating it when there are pads all along missile row that are no longer in active use.

However, the CCAFS pads available are all closer to a populated area (Port Canaveral) and much further from all of SpaceX's existing infrastructure, so are undesirable logistically. And as BO found, groundworks around an active launch site can be slowed down by stop-work orders during launch operations (nobody wants a many decades old line to be cut through during launch prep).

Offline acrewdog

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LC 37 has two more launches on the books, one in 2023 and one in 2024.  There will be no more Delta IV heavies and Vulcan does not look like it will be flying super frequently.  Boca Chica spent years piled up in soil to dry out the ground to build, wouldn't that need to be done again at 49?
While waiting until 2024 seems like a long time, building on already compacted ground, with paved roads, with utilities and even a blockhouse. Seems like its worth waiting for.
There are spaces for two pads here, almost exactly the configuration that SpaceX seems to want.

Offline quagmire

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Why not look forward to launch complex 37 as a launch site for Super Heavy?  It has two pads, its dry already, and would be much faster to get working on without as much environmental hassle due to being on an air force base and being a launch site already. Delta IV heavy will be done soon and this pad should be available. 
Just thinking about how much land work would go into 49 after looking at the pictures of the site, I know we would all dearly love another site next to a public road, but this seems much more reasonable.
What Am I missing here?
After DIVH retires, 37B could be adapted for the Vulcan, I don't know who is in charge right now of the other launch site near 37B but seeing how the area is and the plans SpaceX has for Starship, I consider it a small site.

37B is not the worst idea.  It's an accessible location, and appears to have room for multiple towers.

Doubtful that ULA wants the cost of a 2nd launch site, they are already at a financial disadvantage.

I like the idea of 37B.
In that case it would be this area marked in red, as I said, LC-37B is ULA's only platform for the launch of its most powerful rocket right now and if necessary, it will be conditioned for the Vulcan.

Does ULA have full control over the LC-37 complex? If so, doubt they would be happy to let SpaceX take control of 37A. Not for competition sake, but having another companies launch vehicle be so close to their own assets. Same probably goes for the Space Force…

Granted, by the time 37A is built up, DIVH probably would have had its last launch…. While Jim has already stated 37B won’t be converted for Vulcan, ULA will further use that most likely to keep SpaceX out. 

Offline Conexion Espacial

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Why not look forward to launch complex 37 as a launch site for Super Heavy?  It has two pads, its dry already, and would be much faster to get working on without as much environmental hassle due to being on an air force base and being a launch site already. Delta IV heavy will be done soon and this pad should be available. 
Just thinking about how much land work would go into 49 after looking at the pictures of the site, I know we would all dearly love another site next to a public road, but this seems much more reasonable.
What Am I missing here?
After DIVH retires, 37B could be adapted for the Vulcan, I don't know who is in charge right now of the other launch site near 37B but seeing how the area is and the plans SpaceX has for Starship, I consider it a small site.

37B is not the worst idea.  It's an accessible location, and appears to have room for multiple towers.

Doubtful that ULA wants the cost of a 2nd launch site, they are already at a financial disadvantage.

I like the idea of 37B.
In that case it would be this area marked in red, as I said, LC-37B is ULA's only platform for the launch of its most powerful rocket right now and if necessary, it will be conditioned for the Vulcan.

Does ULA have full control over the LC-37 complex? If so, doubt they would be happy to let SpaceX take control of 37A. Not for competition sake, but having another companies launch vehicle be so close to their own assets. Same probably goes for the Space Force…

Granted, by the time 37A is built up, DIVH probably would have had its last launch…. While Jim has already stated 37B won’t be converted for Vulcan, ULA will further use that most likely to keep SpaceX out.
That's another point, I don't see ULA sharing the backyard with SpaceX and more with Starship which will be the biggest rocket and maybe it will be a hindrance for ULA (even if 37B is not used) or even some modifications in 37B will be necessary for Starship to have a chance to launch from 37A.
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Offline Jim

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Does ULA have full control over the LC-37 complex? If so, doubt they would be happy to let SpaceX take control of 37A. Not for competition sake, but having another companies launch vehicle be so close to their own assets. Same probably goes for the Space Force…

Granted, by the time 37A is built up, DIVH probably would have had its last launch…. While Jim has already stated 37B won’t be converted for Vulcan, ULA will further use that most likely to keep SpaceX out. 

Not after Delta IV flyout and then Space Force is in charge.

37A was never an option.

As far as distance to other pads, it isn't 37A to 37B, it is 37 to 40 or 41. 

Offline Jim

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In that case it would be this area marked in red, as I said, LC-37B is ULA's only platform for the launch of its most powerful rocket right now and if necessary, it will be conditioned for the Vulcan.

No and no. 

It would be all of 37 that Starship would require.

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Boca Chica spent years piled up in soil to dry out the ground to build, wouldn't that need to be done again at 49?
Not if the use the same construciton method as at Boca Chica.
The soil compaction at Boca Chica was in preparation for building a Horizontal Integration Facility for Falcon launches. The surcharged area currently sits under the suborbital tank farm. The Orbital Launch Mount, tower, tank farm, etc all sit on unsurcharged areas and instead use pile foundations.

Offline danneely

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Why not look forward to launch complex 37 as a launch site for Super Heavy?  It has two pads, its dry already, and would be much faster to get working on without as much environmental hassle due to being on an air force base and being a launch site already. Delta IV heavy will be done soon and this pad should be available. 
Just thinking about how much land work would go into 49 after looking at the pictures of the site, I know we would all dearly love another site next to a public road, but this seems much more reasonable.
What Am I missing here?
After DIVH retires, 37B could be adapted for the Vulcan, I don't know who is in charge right now of the other launch site near 37B but seeing how the area is and the plans SpaceX has for Starship, I consider it a small site.

Unless something changes to massively increase Vulcan's planned launch rate, ULA will have no need for a second east coast pad; and LC-37 would need extensive modification to support it anyway because Vulcan is using Atlas V style GSE and Delta IV has a very different setup.

Offline Ike17055

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it"s not an "all or nothing" choice. The Cape has limits on how much capacity it can buiid, and the range has launch operations constraints as well, but will continue to be a nearly ideal launch point, thus its success would seem secure.  As the industry expands, we will continue to see other spaceports open or expand.  Looks at Wallops, for instance.  There will be enough business for numerous spaceports: we don't have to chuck the protection of a unique eco-scape to have a successful space future for Florida.



Wallops not applicable, can't handle many of the Cape missions.  KSC/Cape has unique facilities and launch trajectories that require launches to go from there.

The point was that a full range of capabilities can be at least partially met by expansion of other locations, refuting the idea that the refuge is disposable because there are no choices.

Offline Ike17055

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Every NIMBY claims something is unique and so some new project can't proceed. Everyone thinks THEIR favorite little spot is unique, so "build somewhere else." Every single spot has people claiming the same arguments.
Seriously.  We can't go to Mars because hammocks.   ::)

again, try reading...no one is saying you can't go to Mars...although why you feel a need to sacrifice an area filled with unique living things, to reach a dead planet is a valid question. The point is that, like many things, balancing ecology and technology "advancement" is something that will continue to be a national priority.   

Online Hyperborealis

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Certainly there should be a balance. And perhaps even a trade off. Personally, I think Starlink providing internet access to people living in remote areas otherwise not served, or emergency communications in the case of a disaster, a genuine technological advancement, worthy of dispensing with scare quotes. Starship actually conduces to a greater human good, to which local goods--the ecology, the astronomers' sky--should be reasonably accomodated, but in the end give way.

Offline meekGee

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Every NIMBY claims something is unique and so some new project can't proceed. Everyone thinks THEIR favorite little spot is unique, so "build somewhere else." Every single spot has people claiming the same arguments.
Seriously.  We can't go to Mars because hammocks.   ::)

again, try reading...no one is saying you can't go to Mars...although why you feel a need to sacrifice an area filled with unique living things, to reach a dead planet is a valid question. The point is that, like many things, balancing ecology and technology "advancement" is something that will continue to be a national priority.   

Why are you quoting the word "advancement" when using it in a regular manner?
Do you feel somehow this is not advancement?
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Offline AC in NC

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Every NIMBY claims something is unique and so some new project can't proceed. Everyone thinks THEIR favorite little spot is unique, so "build somewhere else." Every single spot has people claiming the same arguments.
Seriously.  We can't go to Mars because hammocks.   ::)

again, try reading...no one is saying you can't go to Mars...although why you feel a need to sacrifice an area filled with unique living things, to reach a dead planet is a valid question. The point is that, like many things, balancing ecology and technology "advancement" is something that will continue to be a national priority.   
No one need re-read your lament.  Everyone understands it.  Few disagree with balance.  Most understand EVERY area is filled with unique living things and consequently that if that strawman were the standard no progress would ever occur.  And given that ecological balance is strong enough on its own, in my opinion the inclusion of "Old Florida" hammocks is, well, sort of mock-worthy.  I stand by my remarks fully understanding what you wrote.

By the way, you previously wrote: "And in fact, the reality is, the public would never stand for any backsliding on the protections extended to a designed National Wildlife Refuge, thus launch expansionists simply have to live minimal modification, or with with finding alternatives nearby, or elsewhere."

That is a false statement.  The public has been standing for it at Boca Chica for coming up on 8 years and will likely continue to do so.
« Last Edit: 01/19/2022 10:41 pm by AC in NC »

Offline alugobi

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The public at large is mostly awol.  Most people don't care about space flight. 

Space flight fans like the rapid progression of tech and capability that SpaceX has brought to the table.  SpaceX opponents, in large measure, are so because they don't like Musk personally.  Pro Tip:  when an upcoming comment mentions the word "billionaire", or when it's '"Elon Musk's" SpaceX', you'll know it's opposition. 

Offline RedLineTrain

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Here we are 8 months after the public scoping period for LC-49 was supposed to have begun.  Has any change of plans been indicated?  I have searched, but haven't found anything.
« Last Edit: 08/10/2022 04:40 pm by RedLineTrain »

Offline pyromatter

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Here we are 8 months after the public scoping period for LC-49 was supposed to have begun.  Has any change of plans been indicated?  I have searched, but haven't found anything.

https://environmental.ksc.nasa.gov/EnvironmentalPlanning/starshipsuperheavy

Project Updates
Over the past several months, KSC environmental and project management staff have engaged with SpaceX to evaluate the proposed Starship / Superheavy launch complex and the expanded operational area at the SpaceX Roberts Road site to further define the scope of the proposals. As NASA continues its comprehensive review of the project proposals, updates will be posted to this page.

Involvement Opportunities
NASA will initiate public scoping in the future to receive and collect public and interagency input on the proposals. Check back on this page for future updates.

Offline Lobo

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Does ULA have full control over the LC-37 complex? If so, doubt they would be happy to let SpaceX take control of 37A. Not for competition sake, but having another companies launch vehicle be so close to their own assets. Same probably goes for the Space Force…

Granted, by the time 37A is built up, DIVH probably would have had its last launch…. While Jim has already stated 37B won’t be converted for Vulcan, ULA will further use that most likely to keep SpaceX out. 

Not after Delta IV flyout and then Space Force is in charge.

37A was never an option.

As far as distance to other pads, it isn't 37A to 37B, it is 37 to 40 or 41.

<snip>

It would be all of 37 that Starship would require.


Seems like rather than Starship, 37B would be better used for F9/FH as they are at least much closer in size to D4/D4H, would have vertical integration already,  and wouldn't be a terrible conversion, as is likely the case in SLC-6.
Maybe then 39A would be freed up for dedicated Starship use?  Seems like there'd be an advantage not to try to have to share operations of two different LV's right there on the same pad complex.
« Last Edit: 08/11/2023 10:52 pm by Lobo »

Offline Craigles

Here we are a year after RedLineTrain queried us for updates. I monitored
https://environmental.ksc.nasa.gov/EnvironmentalPlanning/starshipsuperheavy and I subscribed to the mailing list there but I don't see LC-49 news yet. We needn't argue about NIMBY or Space Policy in this thread; however:
 - What is the next LC-49 procedural step?
 - Was LC-49 quietly and indefinitely placed on hold?
 - Are we simply being patient so that alternatives or compromises can be arranged behind the scenes?

I don't mean to be impatient or to stir a kettle of environmental controversy but at some point lunar starship will need KSC facilities for Artemis 3.
Here we are 8 months after the public scoping period for LC-49 was supposed to have begun.  Has any change of plans been indicated?  I have searched, but haven't found anything.

https://environmental.ksc.nasa.gov/EnvironmentalPlanning/starshipsuperheavy

Project Updates
Over the past several months, KSC environmental and project management staff have engaged with SpaceX to evaluate the proposed Starship / Superheavy launch complex and the expanded operational area at the SpaceX Roberts Road site to further define the scope of the proposals. As NASA continues its comprehensive review of the project proposals, updates will be posted to this page.

Involvement Opportunities
NASA will initiate public scoping in the future to receive and collect public and interagency input on the proposals. Check back on this page for future updates.
I'd rather be here now

Offline wannamoonbase

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My fellow community members, lets not get too worked up about LC-37 or LC-49 at this time.

I think it needs to be mentioned that since Gwynne took over Starship (and Elon went down the conspiracy blackhole of Twitter) the work at LC39A slowed dramatically, Florida Starship facilities stopped, the floating platforms were sold and all energy and effort is focused on BC.

I haven't read it anywhere, but it seems to me these are her doing.  She knows it's very important to get the vehicle and system working, even at a fundamental level before sprawling out.

If and when Starship works and the facility work is complete, and SpaceX knows what they need, then expect them to pick up on these other sites.

Doing very long term items like environmental and permitting, sure, keep working that, but those are not the most exciting or public things going on.

All that said, I do really want to see what a fully realized LC-49 could look like with a mature Starship vehicle.
Wildly optimistic prediction, Superheavy recovery on IFT-4 or IFT-5

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Work at LC39 stopped, likely because they already know that they're going to have to tear out the base, and maybe the water fountain thing, too.  What they replace it with depends on how well the BC setup works.

Offline Lobo

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Work at LC39 stopped, likely because they already know that they're going to have to tear out the base, and maybe the water fountain thing, too.  What they replace it with depends on how well the BC setup works.

Although I enjoy SpaceX's push for advancement, it always seemed a bit premature to me to have started building the SS tower at LC-39A when they hadn't even launched a Starship with booster from Boca Chica yet.  Maybe building copies of the final working design would be better than building copies of the preliminary design.

Offline spacenut

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Work at 39A for Starship stopped before Musk bought Twitter. 

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Work at LC39 stopped, likely because they already know that they're going to have to tear out the base, and maybe the water fountain thing, too.  What they replace it with depends on how well the BC setup works.
LC-39A was already being built out for the deluge plate. Several of the tanks in the water farm at BC were originally installed at LC-39A, and were subsequently removed from LC-39A and barged to BC.

Offline catdlr

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Work at LC39 stopped, likely because they already know that they're going to have to tear out the base, and maybe the water fountain thing, too.  What they replace it with depends on how well the BC setup works.
LC-39A was already being built out for the deluge plate. Several of the tanks in the water farm at BC were originally installed at LC-39A, and were subsequently removed from LC-39A and barged to BC.

Nope,  No plate all cement, and not enough pilings.  The water manifold ring is a completely different design that will probably be replaced with the BC one if certified.  Elon was a bit premature to start building out 39A. 
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Work at LC39 stopped, likely because they already know that they're going to have to tear out the base, and maybe the water fountain thing, too.  What they replace it with depends on how well the BC setup works.
LC-39A was already being built out for the deluge plate. Several of the tanks in the water farm at BC were originally installed at LC-39A, and were subsequently removed from LC-39A and barged to BC.

Nope,  No plate all cement, and not enough pilings.  The water manifold ring is a completely different design that will probably be replaced with the BC one if certified.  Elon was a bit premature to start building out 39A.
Since LC-39A had not even reached the point of having the OLM ring installed, let alone any water plumbing extended to the pad, nobody outside of SpaceX have seen the 'water manifold ring' that will be installed there so concluding it to be 'completely different; is premature at best. Lack of visibility compared to BC - occasional flyovers with the pad surface obscured by terrain due to flight restrictions, occasional bus tours with pad surface obscured by terrain due to fence perimeter - also means 'not enough pilings' is also pure guesswork.
On the other hand, the tank farm being sufficiently identical that literally the same tanks are being used is rather a dead giveaway. In addition the water tank farm footprints at BC and LC-39A 9now vacated of tanks) also match. See attached scaled aerial photographs (taken from Harry Stranger's Soar.earth page).

Offline meekGee

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Work at LC39 stopped, likely because they already know that they're going to have to tear out the base, and maybe the water fountain thing, too.  What they replace it with depends on how well the BC setup works.
LC-39A was already being built out for the deluge plate. Several of the tanks in the water farm at BC were originally installed at LC-39A, and were subsequently removed from LC-39A and barged to BC.

Nope,  No plate all cement, and not enough pilings.  The water manifold ring is a completely different design that will probably be replaced with the BC one if certified.  Elon was a bit premature to start building out 39A.
Since the timespan between pulling the trigger and seeing hardware on site is easily a year, (and same goes for ordering one of a kind tooling) then optimal management requires taking risks like that - otherwise you sign up for a very prolonged schedule.

Think about decisions like ordering another ASDS, or starting towards another battery factory - expensive decisions with even multi-year latencies.

Can't really judge the decisions using hindsight - you don't know how many premature decisions were made and turned out to be time (=money) savers.
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Offline catdlr

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Work at LC39 stopped, likely because they already know that they're going to have to tear out the base, and maybe the water fountain thing, too.  What they replace it with depends on how well the BC setup works.
LC-39A was already being built out for the deluge plate. Several of the tanks in the water farm at BC were originally installed at LC-39A, and were subsequently removed from LC-39A and barged to BC.

Nope,  No plate all cement, and not enough pilings.  The water manifold ring is a completely different design that will probably be replaced with the BC one if certified.  Elon was a bit premature to start building out 39A.
Since LC-39A had not even reached the point of having the OLM ring installed, let alone any water plumbing extended to the pad, nobody outside of SpaceX have seen the 'water manifold ring' that will be installed there so concluding it to be 'completely different; is premature at best. Lack of visibility compared to BC - occasional flyovers with the pad surface obscured by terrain due to flight restrictions, occasional bus tours with pad surface obscured by terrain due to fence perimeter - also means 'not enough pilings' is also pure guesswork.
On the other hand, the tank farm being sufficiently identical that literally the same tanks are being used is rather a dead giveaway. In addition the water tank farm footprints at BC and LC-39A 9now vacated of tanks) also match. See attached scaled aerial photographs (taken from Harry Stranger's Soar.earth page).
Agreed.
My comment was based on per Zack's recent video (see below).  Without absolute direct overhead flyover visuals and constant video monitoring, we would not be able to obtain, my statement was hasty. I made my comment based on the current set of water manifolds that got lowered into the pit around the OLM legs captured on video some time ago, which are designed contrary to what was installed per Zack's recent video (BC).  Additional pilings and a piling head similar to BC have not been identified as completed before the current water manifolds were installed, but have not been covered over yet.  Yet the water tank farm is a replication of the one completed at BC.

https://youtube.com/clip/UgkxsPXFZ-mJfVKoAfVaxMvA6zGd7eAX0zD4
« Last Edit: 08/16/2023 12:31 am by catdlr »
Tony De La Rosa, ...I'm no Feline Dealer!! I move mountains.  but I'm better known for "I think it's highly sexual." Japanese to English Translation.

Offline pyromatter

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https://talkoftitusville.com/2024/01/22/nasa-no-activities-underway-to-build-lc-49/

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They replied to us on January 18, 2024 and said that “[NASA] currently [does] not have any activities underway at LC-49.”

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NASA added that, “all previous activities there have been suspended, including anything involving any commercial companies. We’re not currently working any NEPA or environmental actions. KSC did complete an environmental assessment in 2018-19 for the development and operations of the site, which included the construction of the existing launch pad.”

Bummer. They need to finish building that area out.

Offline spacenut

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 Do they have enough room at 39A to put two launch towers in for Starship?  Seems like they could on either side of the original pad, especially if they do the milk stool type launch pad. 

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