NASA has confirmed the space agency is looking for just about anybody, including commercial space exploration companies, to rent their Shuttle Landing Facility (SLF) at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida.
In a "formal request for expressions of interest by non-NASA organizations," including commercial space companies, NASA says the idea of renting out its 15,000 foot-long, football field-wide Florida runway and associated facilities will help their "ongoing efforts to support the President's Management Agenda and the U.S. Space Transportation Policy."
"The SLF is a unique facility, and we would like to see its full use by the nation's aerospace community," said NASA's Associate Administrator for Space Operations William Readdy in a NASA press release.
While the Space Shuttle Program and other NASA programs will continue to have preferential use of the landing facilities, NASA is seeking to accommodate conditional access by additional users.
NASA is investigating the potential to support research and technology demonstration flights of piloted, unpiloted, and spaceflight vehicles; parabolic research and demonstration flights; academic and commercial space flight research and demonstration flights; logistical support, and others. Uses that can be readily accommodated at nearby airports, such as executive aircraft flights and conventional commercial passenger aircraft flights, will not be considered. Areas of interest are described in the Request For Information (RFI) published on today's Federal Business Opportunities Website.
Interested organizations have until August 30 to respond with detailed expressions of interest. Based on those responses, NASA will determine what uses can be accommodated on the SLF. NASA anticipates developing policies, plans, and procedures in coordination with the Air Force and FAA to enable SLF access to non-NASA users.
For information about the RFI on the Web, visit: http://prod.nais.nasa.gov
The space shuttle runway at the Kennedy Space Center is one of the largest in the world. The runway is 4,572 meters (15,000ft) long and 91.4 meters (300ft) wide - about as wide as the length of a football field. It has 305 meters (1000ft) of paved overruns at each end and the paving thickness is 40.6cm (15 inches) at the center.