To infinity and beyond at NASA’s John F. Kennedy Space Center.
The latest success story in KSC’s transformation into a multiuser spaceport is Colorado-based Sierra Nevada Corp.’s plans to prepare for a November 2016 orbital flight of its Dream Chaser spacecraft from Space Launch Complex 41 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. Sierra Nevada, an electronic system integrator for space flight, will establish an operations center at KSC and use the former Shuttle Landing Facility runway. It will also partner with United Launch Alliance LLC—a joint venture between Lockheed Martin and the Boeing Co.— for the launch.
The steps are considered both substantial for Sierra Nevada and important to plans by NASA and Space Florida for KSC’s new commercial availability. NASA Administrator Charles Bolden called the move “the latest major milestone in the transformation of the Kennedy Space Center into a 21st century launch complex, serving both private sector and government users.”
More evidence: Boeing and the U.S. Air Force are locating their X-37B orbital test vehicle program at KSC. The program allows Boeing and the Air Force to land, recover, refurbish and relaunch the 29-foot-long, unmanned space vehicle.