This week the FAA gave approval to Space Florida to be able to operate space reentry operations at NASA’s Shuttle Landing Facility in Kennedy Space Center. This will allow for commercial operations to take place at the runway for commercial companies.
The Shuttle Landing Facility, sometimes referred to as the Launch and Landing Facility after the retirement of the shuttle, was built as a landing strip for NASA’s Space Shuttle and is now used for multiple services for Kennedy Space Center including landings of the Space Force X-37B spaceplane.
This license gives Space Florida the ability to hold commercial reentry landings for the next five years and expects the first landing to take place this year. The FAA anticipates five landings per year by 2025. The first landing that is expected to happen this year is Sierra Nevada Corporation’s Dream Chaser spaceplane which won a contract with NASA to resupply the International Space Station alongside Northrup Grumman and SpaceX.
The first launch is planned to take place this year and will be the second flight of United Launch Alliance’s Vulcan rocket. SNC will use the Shuttle Landing Facility as its location to land the first Dream Chaser vehicles from space.