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[i]"We all recognize that if you had an early failure like we did on one of the early SpaceX flights, it would be pretty devastating to 39A," Kathy Lueders, NASA's space operations chief, said in an interview of the agency's discussions with SpaceX.
SpaceX did not return a request for comment.
SpaceX has already invested heavily in building a Starship pad some hundreds of feet from pad 39A's launch tower. It has responded by pitching NASA on a plan to outfit its other Florida pad - Launch Complex 40, five miles away on Space Force property - with the means to launch U.S. astronauts, according to a person familiar with the plans.
The company is also studying ways to "harden" 39A, or make the launchpad more resilient to both an explosive Starship accident and the immense forces emitted from a successful Starship liftoff, Lueders said.
Hardening the 39A pad and launching humans from pad 40 would both require agency approval.
"SpaceX is working with us on those things," said Lueders. "Because it's also in their best interest to not have what is a pretty steady source of income for them become interrupted."[/i]
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