ATK to Upgrade Space Florida’s Launch Complex 46

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space_florida_logoKENNEDY SPACE CENTER, Fla., February 11, 2014 (Space Florida PR) – Space Florida has signed a contract with Alliant Techsystems (NYSE: ATK) to continue the refurbishment and modernization of Space Launch Complex 46 (SLC-46) at Cape Canaveral Spaceport.

SLC-46 is a key launch complex for supporting future NASA, Department of Defense, and commercial missions. This marks the third phase of the Communications System refurbishment project since its beginning in 2010. Refurbishment of the communications infrastructure at SLC-46 is anticipated to take approximately one year.

Designed to modernize the communications infrastructure capabilities at the launch complex, this project encompasses the engineering design, fabrication, installation, systems integration, testing and checkout of SLC-46 communications systems to provide a modernized suite of data, voice, timing, and video capabilities to meet anticipated launch and test activity requirements. Additionally, under this effort, Space Florida will develop operations and maintenance tools and software to assure the site meets industry standards for interaction with the U.S. Air Force Eastern Range.

NASA intends to launch its Orion Multi Purpose Crew Vehicle Ascent Abort 2 test flight (AA‑2) from SLC-46 in 2018 with pathfinder operations in the years preceding the flight. This is another critical step in America’s return beyond Earth’s orbit after 40+ years.

Additional vehicles projected to launch from SLC-46 include the Lockheed Martin Athena family, Orbital Sciences’ Minotaur and Taurus rockets, or other commercial, NASA, and/or military launch vehicles.

Space Florida facilitates commercial space activities for the State of Florida. As such, the organization has already successfully secured a Real Property License, Joint Use Agreement, and Launch Site Operators License through the 45th Space Wing, U.S. Navy and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) for the site.

SLC-46 is critical to Florida, as it is one of the few sites located on the Cape Canaveral Spaceport that support small- to medium-class payload launchers. As such, infrastructure enhancements at SLC-46 will improve the Spaceport’s capabilities to host such military launch programs as those tied to Operationally Responsive Space (ORS) initiatives – which require mechanisms to replace on-orbit assets quickly in response to war fighter requirements, and as threats to space-based assets continue to increase.

“Restoring SLC-46 to operational status enables Space Florida to face the small launch vehicle market and underscores Florida’s commitment to invest in modernized infrastructure that will continue serve expanding civil, military and commercial programs,” noted Space Florida President Frank DiBello. “This throughput would increase the annual launch rate from CCAFS and result in sizable, positive economic impact for our area. Additionally, this is another demonstration of the State’s commitment to assuring exploration begins in Florida.”

This project will further enhance the cooperation that is already in place between the USAF 45th Space Wing, Space Florida, The U.S. Navy, NASA, and the various commercial launch companies interested in the Cape Canaveral Spaceport.

Space Florida will issue additional Requests for Proposal (RFP) in the future, for engineering analysis and refurbishment of mechanical infrastructure at SLC-46. Such activities will compliment the Communications System modernization by bringing SLC-46 back to full operational capability.

  • RayGun

    Are they considering building the Liberty Launcher still? Would SLC-46 handle it?

  • Douglas Messier

    I don’t think there’s much work going on with Liberty. They pitched it for commercial crew and NASA didn’t choose it. Liberty didn’t seem to have any other markets, as far as I know.

    I doubt this launch complex would accommodate it. The rocket mentioned in the press release are all small to medium-sized launch vehicles. I think ATK has a role the Athena program.

    If Liberty ever got built, they might be able to launch it from the same converted shuttle launch pad that NASA is going to use for SLS. NASA is open to multiple users of that pad because it’s not anticipating a very high launch rate for its big booster.

  • windbourne

    Is this not just a simple contract for ATK? IOW, it has nothing to do with solid rockets./boosters, directly.