NASA to Shed Old Shuttle Sites

Photograph by Bill Ingalls/NASA via Getty image

Space Shuttle Atlantis rolls down Kennedy Parkway on its way to its new home at the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex in Florida.

With its shuttle fleet retired and on display at museums around the country, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration is looking to shed its shuttle facilities and equipment.

NASA is in talks with a handful of space companies and partnerships that may be interested in buying or leasing the buildings and gear, according to Amber Philman, an agency spokeswoman at Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida.

“We hope to make a bunch of announcements over the next year,” she said in a telephone interview.

Boeing Co. already has taken up residence in one of the sites. In October 2011, three months after Atlantis completed the last shuttle mission, the agency announced an agreement with Space Florida, the state’s aerospace economic development agency, to reuse an orbiter processing facility at Kennedy.

Chicago-based Boeing announced it will build and test its new manned spacecraft there, creating as many as 550 jobs.

With the shuttle gone from Kennedy’s iconic Vehicle Assembly Building, the agency is looking for more companies to relocate to the complex, Philman said. The 525-foot-tall building was built in 1966 to assemble the Apollo-era Saturn V rocket.

“We have this unique infrastructure that’s been here for so many years,” Philman said. “We would love to bring space industry companies out here and grow the industry.”

 

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