SpaceX repairs damaged launch pad
June 14, 2017
By Chris Forrester
On September 1st 2016, a catastrophic explosion at Cape Canaveral’s Launch Pad 40 destroyed a SpaceX rocket and its precious cargo, a satellite being prepared for launch and owned by Spacecom of Israel.
The fire and explosions pretty much destroyed the Launch Pad, and the loss meant that SpaceX could only use one of the Canaveral pads, the venerable Pad 39A, which had been used to launch the Apollo series of missions to the Moon and subsequent Space Shuttles.
Local reports say that construction crews are busy completing their repairing and upgrading work and that the pad should be ready for operational use later this summer (probably around September). Indeed, Elon Musk, SpaceX’s founder, said that the site could then be used to continue launching his ‘conventional’ Falcon 9 rockets, while launching his company’s Falcon ‘Heavy’ rocket makes its home on the soon-to-be-upgraded Pad 39A.
Importantly, it means that Musk and his team will then have two sites at Cape Canaveral, plus a site at Vandenberg Air Force base in California (where polar launches are made) while his all-new facility is being built.
That new site is in the extreme South-east of Texas, near Brownsville and just a few hundred meters from the border with Mexico. Musk says that this new launch site will eventually handle the full range of Falcon rockets, and also SpaceX’s human ‘cargo’ flights and – eventually – Musk’s flights to Mars. The facility is planned to be available towards the end of 2018.
On June 17th, SpaceX will launch Bulgaria’s first communications satellite, and will use a ‘flight tested’ pre-flown first stage rocket which SpaceX will again attempt to re-land onto its floating barge.