This is from Voice of America, way back in August 2013
CAPE CANAVERAL, FLORIDA — While NASA
considers competing bids to take over a shuttle launch pad at Kennedy
Space Center, it added three mobile launch platforms to its list of
excess equipment available to private industry, officials said on
Ideally, NASA wants a commercial launch company to take over one or more
of the massive steel platforms, which were originally built in 1967 to
support the Apollo moon program's Saturn rockets. The 25-foot
(7.6-meter) tall platforms were later modified for the space shuttles,
which flew from 1981 until 2011.
Recycling the platforms, which measure 160 feet by 135 feet (49 by 41
meters) is another option, a solicitation on NASA's procurement website
The U.S. space agency also is interested in other uses for the mobile
launch platforms, which served as bases to stack and assemble the
shuttle and then transport it to the launch pad. The platforms provided
power and umbilical connections and had open sections for flames and
rocket exhaust to pass through.
“At this point, NASA is looking to gage interest for potential use of
the [platforms] and concepts for potential use,” spokeswoman Tracy Young
Proposals are due Sept. 6.
NASA is already assessing bids for the shuttle launch pad from two competing firms backed by Internet billionaires.
NASA is also turning over the shuttle's runway to Space Florida, a
state-backed economic development agency. Space Florida, in turn, plans
to make the runway and support facilities available to a variety of
commercial companies, including privately owned XCOR Aerospace, which is
developing a two-person, suborbital spaceship called Lynx that takes
off and lands like an airplane.
Another potential customer is Stratolaunch Systems, an orbital space vehicle backed by Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen.
The most contentious - and highest profile - piece of shuttle equipment
available is a Kennedy Space Center launch pad that has attracted
competing bids from Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, and Elon Musk, co-founder
of Paypal and chief executive of electric car company Tesla Motors.
Bezos and Musk, both billionaires, are vying for Launch Complex 39A.
NASA intends to keep the second shuttle launch pad, 39B, for a new
heavy-lift rocket under development called the Space Launch System.
Musk's Space Exploration Technologies of Hawthorne, California, wants
39A to launch its Falcon 9 and planned Falcon Heavy rockets. The
privately-owned firm, also known as SpaceX, already flies from a leased
launch pad at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, located just south of
the Kennedy Space Center.
The first Falcon 9 rocket flight from a new launch site at Vandenberg
Air Force Base in California is scheduled for next month. The company
has a backlog of more than 50 launches, including 10 missions to fly
cargo for NASA to the International Space Station.
SpaceX also is developing a version of its Dragon cargo ship to fly astronauts.
Startup Blue Origin, a Kent, Washington, firm owned by Bezos, submitted
an alternative proposal to NASA to run pad 39A as a multi-user facility.
Both firms say they are ready to take over maintenance and operations of the launch pad on Oct. 1.
United Launch Alliance, a partnership of Boeing and Lockheed Martin, did
not bid on the shuttle's launch pad, but has publicly endorsed Blue
Origin's proposals. The company, which has a lucrative monopoly on
launching U.S. military satellites, is facing its first competition for
the business from rival launch pad bidder SpaceX.
The main NASA facilities that will remain are the shuttle launch pad
39B, plus various hangars for the Orion deep space capsule to be
launched by NASA's heavy lift rocket, due to begin test flights in 2017.