Capitalism in space: According to plans outlined in a draft environmental statement, SpaceX is planning a major mission control and new rocket processing facility at the Kennedy Space Center.
It will be an operational monument to Elon Musk’s vision: a towering SpaceX launch control center, a 133,000-square-foot hangar and a rocket garden rising in the heart of Kennedy Space Center.
According to plans detailed in a draft environmental review published recently by KSC, SpaceX will undertake a major expansion of its facilities at the space center sometime in the not-too-distant future. The review says SpaceX is seeking more room and a bigger presence “in its pursuit of a complete local, efficient, and reusable launch vehicle program.” The expansion would enable SpaceX to store and refurbish large numbers of Falcon rocket boosters and nose cones at the operations center down the road from NASA’s Vehicle Assembly Building.
The most eye-opening detail in this environmental draft is a statement that this SpaceX facility will be designed to support an expectation of up to 63 launches per year. In the first decade of this century that’s about how many launches the entire world accomplished per year. SpaceX’s ambitions here however are not absurd. They instead hearken to the expected upcoming boom in the entire aerospace, mostly fueled by the lower launch costs that SpaceX forced on the launch industry. SpaceX might manage that many launches, but it will be only a part of the entire booming launch market.
From the press release: From the moment he is handed a possibility of making the first alien contact, Saunders Maxwell decides he will do it, even if doing so takes him through hell and back.
Unfortunately, that is exactly where that journey takes him.
The vision that Zimmerman paints of vibrant human colonies on the Moon, Mars, the asteroids, and beyond, indomitably fighting the harsh lifeless environment of space to build new societies, captures perfectly the emerging space race we see today.
He also captures in Pioneer the heart of the human spirit, willing to push forward no matter the odds, no matter the cost. It is that spirit that will make the exploration of the heavens possible, forever, into the never-ending future.
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