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.
While it was expected for SpaceX to launch Starship from Florida eventually, it was uncertain where specifically the company would launch from. The orbital launch pad at LC-39A could absolutely support these launches, but more launch pads would allow the company to increase launch cadence – especially important if SpaceX wants to launch Starship once every two weeks. Therefore, it is likely that this pad would be developed alongside the Starship launch mount at LC-39A, rather than in replacement of it.
In addition to the proposed launch site, we have received confirmation that SpaceX hopes to expand its Roberts Road Facility to support Starship operations.
Continued Starship development in Florida
Space Explored reached out to Space Florida – the development agency that runs Launch Complex 46, the Launch and Landing Facility (formerly the Shuttle Landing Facility), and Exploration Park – about Starship development in Florida.
The agency helps fund many space projects in Florida with the goal of bringing and keeping commercial partners in the state. Back in 2018, Space Florida helped to fund the initial construction of the Starship pad at SpaceX’s LC-39A, on which construction has been restarted.
While the agency could not provide specific details, the agency said it is, “working hard to assure much of the future Starship launch demand can be achieved from Florida.”
Here is Space Florida’s full statement sent to Space Explored in reference to Starship development in Florida:
Space Florida was responsible for providing a nice chunk of funds for the initial construction of the Starship pad at 39A in 2018. There has been a very large structural framework out there since then.
They chose to suspend activities to focus their attention on vehicle development in TX, which was understandable. Now that progress has been made on that front they are naturally returning their attention to additional launch capacity here at the Cape.
We can’t go into detail on the specifics but suffice it to say we are working hard to assure much of the future Starship launch demand can be achieved from Florida.
Space Explored has reached out to SpaceX for comment and has not yet received a response. We look forward to seeing the future of Starship launches.