SpaceX is building a launch site for Starship in Florida

SpaceX is building a launch site for Starship in Florida

Ilon Mask, CEO of the company, announced that SpaceX had begun to develop a special platform for its Starship spacecraft at 39A launch site at the Kennedy NASA Space Center near Cape Canaveral.

In 2014, SpaceX signed a 20-year lease agreement with NASA to allow the company to use site 39A for flights to the International Space Station. The launch site was used to assemble and launch some of the most significant spacecraft in the NASA programme, including the Saturn V missile and the American space shuttle.

These launches are currently limited to the Falcon 9 and Falcon Heavy missiles, but there will be talks about Starship as well. However, this future interplanetary and fully reusable spaceship requires new infrastructure. The production and testing of these spacecraft is currently concentrated on Starbase, the SpaceX enterprise in South Texas, near the city of Boca Chica.

Bearing this in mind, Ilon Mask announced on Friday, December 3, that SpaceX had launched "the construction of a spaceship orbital launch site at Cape Town [...] 39A

SpaceX has already begun preliminary work on site 39A in the fall of 2019, but quickly stopped as Starbase operations increased.

These facilities are likely to be used for future launches to the Moon as part of Artemis missions.

In April of last year, NASA selected SpaceX to deliver the system using the Starship version of the vehicle. The first mission of the spacecraft to the Moon was scheduled to take place as part of the Artemis 3 mission, which plans to return people to the Moon in 2025.

Now the U.S. Agency is demanding an intermediate test flight with a drone landing to prove that it can land safely on the moon and return to orbit.

In the meantime, SpaceX is preparing to launch the first orbital test flight as part of its programme early next year, if the US Federal Aviation Authority completes the environmental assessment of the launch site. During the testing, the prototype will aim at an altitude of 115 kilometres and is expected to land on the northwest coast of Kaouai Island.