EXCLUSIVE: SpaceX wants to launch up to 120 times a year from Florida

SpaceX has announced plans to launch its Starship mega-rocket up to 44 times per year from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center, causing a response from competitors such as Blue Origin and United Launch Alliance. These companies have raised concerns about potential disruptions to their operations and have urged regulators to consider minimizing the impact on other launch providers in the area. SpaceX may also aim to establish a second launch pad, Space Launch Complex (SLC)-37 at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station (CCSFS), with the possibility of up to 76 launches per year.

If finalized, this would bring SpaceX’s total launches in a six-mile area on the Florida coast to 120 times per year. The U.S. Space Force is currently working on a draft environmental assessment for SLC-37, which will include the anticipated launch cadence for Starship. SpaceX may also consider constructing an entirely new launch pad, SLC-50, as an alternative.

Blue Origin and ULA have raised concerns about the environmental and operational impacts of such a high flight rate, particularly if the launches were to come from two nearby launch sites. They have suggested various mitigating factors, including indemnification for losses caused by Starship operations. The public has been invited to comment on the scope of the plans, and the comments for pad 39A at Kennedy have already been released, including strong statements from Blue Origin and ULA on the potential disruptions.

SpaceX CEO Elon Musk has even more ambitious plans for Starship, seeing it as a key enabler for colonizing Mars and expanding human consciousness through the cosmos. He aims for multiple launches per day, delivering hundreds of tons of cargo to low Earth orbit or beyond. SpaceX is also working to increase its Starship manufacturing capabilities, aiming to produce one second stage per day.

As part of its plans, SpaceX is also preparing a separate environmental impact statement for the Starship launch plans at Kennedy Space Center’s pad 39A. This study will examine the environmental impacts of Starship launches and landing operations, which involve the Super Heavy boosters returning to the launch site, similar to how SpaceX’s Falcon rockets operate.

In addition to the proposed launch sites in Florida, SpaceX has a launch tower at its Starbase facility in southeast Texas and is constructing a second tower at the same location. With these new facilities, SpaceX could have four operational Starship launch sites in the near future.

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