SpaceX is set to transfer its operations on refurbished Falcon rockets to a new facility in Port Canaveral, Florida, an official from the port announced on Wednesday, Aug. 24.
John Murray, chief executive officer of Port Canaveral, said the California-based aerospace company intends to lease a 52,000-square-foot building in the north side of the port, which had served as a facility for Spacehab (now Astrotech Corporation). It is also planning to construct a second facility on a vacant land located across the first building.
The new buildings will serve as a hub for the processing of refurbished rockets and other functions for SpaceX.
"We're happy to announce that they're onboard," Murray said.
"It's good for the port, it's good for the community, and it's a high-visibility project. So we're really excited about that."
SpaceX is expected to submit a formal agreement to Port Canaveral commissioners as early as September in order to receive approval for the lease.
Murray said the aerospace company plans to move into the former Spacehab facility through a temporary property-use permit from the port. This would allow its engineers to assess whether the building is suitable for its refurbished rockets operations.
John Taylor, a spokesman for SpaceX, said that they are pleased to receive a permit for temporary use of the Port Canaveral facility. They will use this opportunity to find out whether it can fully support the company's business in Florida on a longer-term basis.
SpaceX has operated from two launch pads located at the Kennedy Space Center and the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. The company is now looking for a new facility where it can process its used rocket boosters.
Last week, SpaceX successfully landed one of its Falcon 9 rockets on a floating droneship following a launch of a Japanese-owned communications satellite.
The event marked the fourth time SpaceX was able to nail a landing at sea. It is also the eighth successful launch the company has made in 2016 and the sixth overall Falcon 9 booster it was able to recover since the start of its reusable rocket program.
Reducing Space Launch Costs
SpaceX founder and CEO Elon Musk plans to make space travel more cost-effective by developing reusable rockets.
Most of the space launches that have been done so far involved the use of rockets that were either destroyed or unrecovered after blast off. This meant that space companies had to make new components each time a new launch is set, resulting in higher costs.
According to SpaceX President Gwynne Shotwell, such a revolutionary technology could help reduce costs for launches by as much as 30 percent.