NASA signs over historic Launch Pad 39A to SpaceX
One of NASA's most historic launch pads is now under new management.
Launch Complex 39A at Kennedy Space Center in Florida is now under the direction of SpaceX (Space Exploration Technologies), the private spaceflight company headed by billionaire entrepreneur Elon Musk. The launch pad, which was the site where Apollo 11 lifted off on the first manned moon landing in July 1969, will now support the company's rockets and spacecraft as they depart for Earth orbit, and possibly destinations beyond.
"Today, this historic site, from which numerous Apollo and space shuttle missions began, and from which I first flew and left the planet on STS-61C on Columbia, is beginning a new mission as a commercial launch site," said Charles Bolden, NASA Administrator and former astronaut, during a press conference held at the pad.
On Monday (April 14), NASA signed a property agreement with SpaceX beginning a 20-year lease to occupy and use the launch pad. Over the course of the next two decades, the Hawthorne, California-based company will operate and maintain the facility at its own expense.