SpaceX’s quest to be the top private space company continued this week as it was granted approval by the FAA for a 56.5 acre spaceport near the Gulf of Mexico. The FAA decision was seen as one of the last major obstacles in the way of SpaceX’s spaceport.
The spaceport will need other approvals from a local level such as road construction, but those shouldn’t be too much of a problem.
Why is this so important? SpaceX will finally be able to launch from their own launchpad. Right now, they use U.S. Force facilities for rocket tests and missions to the International Space Station (ISS).
The FAA’s issuance of a Record of Decision (basically grants SpaceX launch licenses on private property) will let SpaceX conduct 12 commercial launches per year through 2025. These launches are broken down by 10 Falcon 9 rockets and 2 Falcon Heavy rockets.
SpaceX has its eye on a spot about 20 miles east of Brownsville, Texas for its spaceport. The only approvals it needs comes from the state and local levels. Both shouldn’t be a problem. Who wouldn’t want one of the most innovative companies in their state.
In other news, SpaceX announced it has hit a significant milestone in its bid to win military satellite contracts. The U.S. Air Force has certified the Falcon 9 launch vehicle after it completed three successful flights. This is a huge milestone since it’s a prerequisite for any company going after military satellite contracts.
SpaceX would need to be fully certified in order to get a contract for the Air Force’s Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle (EELV) program. The company expects to gain that certification later this year.
It’s an interesting time for the final frontier. While NASA’s funding isn’t what it used to be, private companies are stepping up to the plate. We’ll keep you updated on the latest news from SpaceX as it happens.
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