The week ended on a high note for the Kennedy Space Center with the announcement today that NASA and Space Florida are hammering out a partnership agreement which would see the State of Florida development agency assume responsibility for the Shuttle Landing Facility.The agreement which is still being worked out could see Space Florida ease the entry of a number of new ventures to the historic 15,000 foot long, 300 foot wide landing strip. Among the possible users are XCOR Aerospace which has already expressed an interest in operating its Lynx suborbital space place from the site, as well as Virgin Galactic’s White Knight Two, carrying either its suborbital tourist space plane V.S.S. Enterprise, or Launcher One small satellite booster. At the top of the size chart is Stratolaunch, which is already targeting a 2017 test launch out of KSC.
Though none of the air-launched entries offers the exhilaration of Shuttle launch, the potential for a steady influx of tourists, researchers and commercial customers, combined with a flight tempo far in advance of anything seen at the Cape in years gone by could mean a mixed use future is suddenly looking quite a bit brighter for the Space Coast.