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USAF Force Licenses Two Launch Complexes For Commercial Use

The last recorded launch at SLC-36 was in February 2005, when an Atlas IIIB launched a classified NRO payload from pad 36B.
by Staff Writers
Cape Canaveral AFS FL (SPX) Mar 15, 2010
The 45th Space Wing has issued Real Property Licenses to Space Florida for Space Launch Complexes 46 and 36 here to attract the nation's next generation of spacelift customers.

As a result, the 45th Space Wing now grants Space Florida full rights to proceed with construction and refurbishment work at either launch location.

"These licenses are in line with the 45th Space Wing's mission, assuring access to the high frontier," said Col. Ed Wilson, 45th Space Wing commander.

"This will help us to better execute that mission. It's a win-win-win for the Air Force, the state of Florida, and the nation."

"Within the past year, we have been working diligently with the 45th Space Wing and the Navy to secure full rights to these complexes," said Mark Bontrager, vice president of Space Florida's Spaceport Operations.

"Through a mutual trust with both entities, we can now fully pursue build-out of these sites for commercial use. This will help to open up additional opportunities for Florida to take full advantage of the rapidly emerging commercial space marketplace. Having additional domestic launch sites ready for commercial utilization will also ensure the U.S. remains competitive from a global perspective."

Now that Real Property Licenses are secured for both sites, Space Florida said it will work with the Federal Aviation Administration to conduct all necessary due diligence required to secure a Launch Site Operators License for each complex.

This process is anticipated to take approximately 180 days. During this timeframe, the Air Force Safety Center and the Department of Defense Explosive Safety Board will also review an Explosive Site Plan for SLC-36.

Space Florida has conducted corrosion control and maintenance efforts on the Mobile Service Tower at SLC-46, and preliminary engineering studies show that further refurbishment of SLC-46 is needed to ready it for full commercial launch operations.

With the Real Property License fully secured, Space Florida can now utilize its resources - including a special $1.1 million appropriation by Senator Bill Nelson through NASA - to prepare the site for an interested launch customer, whose identity is currently protected under Non-Disclosure Agreement.

In December 2009, a Joint Use Agreement was signed between the Navy and Space Florida to grant full utilization of the site by either party, as needed. There is no anticipated naval use for the site at this time.

The last active use of SLC-46 was in 1999 when RocSat 1 was launched on an Athena I for the Republic of China. The last recorded launch at SLC-36 was in February 2005, when an Atlas IIIB launched a classified NRO payload from pad 36B.

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