Last month, there was a traffic jam for the Space Force to manage the Eastern Series for managing launches in Florida. Among the problems of bad weather and ground support equipment are three rockets competing for opportunities to liftoff.
The largest of the rockets, the Delta IV heavy booster, carried the most valuable payload — a classified satellite for the National Reassessment Office that was said to cost $ 1 billion north. SpaceX was ready to launch two rockets, one carrying the GPS satellite to the space force, and the other with the purely commercial purpose of launching the company’s Starling satellites.
The first two missions were located on the Air Force side of the fence, managed by the 45th Aerospace Division of the U.S. Air Force. The second SpaceX rocket, carrying 60 Starling satellites, landed at Launch Complex-39A on the NASA side of the fence, at the Kennedy Space Center.
The presence of three rockets in the launch pads taken for some difficult decisions. Who should be the priority to get started? How Many Opportunities Should Military Services Take Before It Has the Opportunity for Commercial Launch? Is there a better way to manage launch limits in the 21st century, with more and more commercial rockets coming into American space now?
U.S. space is considering all of these questions as it restricts space-related air force assets. One of the initiatives led by John William “J” Raymond, head of the Space Force’s space operations, was “Future Limit.” One of the ideas the space force is considering to increase access to space is very serious — linking its historic Cape Canaveral facility with NASA’s Kennedy Space Center under a single space authority.
Works in collaboration
When An appointment Last month, Maj. Gen. Dianna Burt, director of operations and communications at the Space Aerospace Advisory Committee on Space Force, said the U.S. military was planning to issue a letter soon authorizing the establishment of an interactive process to look into a kind of national space.
“How do we get a military base airport and runway commercial runway and a similar airport structure that sits next to the airport?” Burt said some of the challenges planners face. “How do we get the same thing in space? I think we have to cooperate.”
One or two forces seem to be at play here. First, the Air Force recognizes that it spends a lot of money dealing with roads and other infrastructure at the Vandenberg Air Force Base in Cape Canaveral and its other main space, California. It also manages leases for a number of publishing companies, including United Launch Alliance, SpaceX, Blue Origin, Firefly Aerospace and Relativity Space. These were not considered major activities of the military.
At the same time, the Air Force is increasingly excited about the innovation and agility of the business publishing industry. Commenting on the reuse of SpaceX rockets, Burt said, “It’s absolutely an amazing achievement, and it’s always amazing to see rockets return to the pad and see them reused. It’s a great cost – cutting and saving technique. The Air Force wants to support the commercial space industry by making it easier to access the range.
The transfer of national and Dallas airports from Federal Aviation Administration in 1984 to the new metropolitan Washington Airport Authority is an analogy under discussion. The company was renamed National after President Ronald Reagan and later found private investment to modernize airports to meet growing business demands. There are a lot of questions about who will manage integrated space in Florida, who will decide which missions are a priority and more. All of these are negotiable and it may all be useless.
But clearly, change is possible. The primary goal of the Space Force is to accomplish its mission, which includes going into space quickly and reliably. The military must own and operate every aspect of a launch pad, as it has done in the past. But what the Air Force and Burt have signaled to the wider space community is that if there is a better, more efficient way to do this, they are cutting the red tape for emerging businessmen and they are ready to listen.
Would NASA be willing to listen too? Space agency executive Jim Bridenstein said yes.
“I’m glad to see big ideas like a possible link being proposed,” he told Ars. “This and all other ambitious ideas for the future should be given due attention. However, such a proposed link would require more work and effort. At present, NASA is our existing launch facility focusing on improving performance and capabilities. Our team at KSC is already NASA. And has done a great job of creating a space to serve business needs. “
Another player in Florida space is the state’s economic development agency, Space Florida. Dale Ketzam, the group’s vice president of government and external relations, is interested in streamlining operations for companies looking to start from Florida.
“We know that achieving the simplicity of leadership that all parties really need to thrive is a difficult and complex negotiation,” Ketchum said. “The sooner that conversation starts, the better.”