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Cape Canaveral in Flux

Caught between the end of the space shuttle and the potential rise of private sector spaceflight, Cape Canaveral and the Kennedy Space Center present a unique land use challenge.
March 24, 2016, 1pm PDT | Philip Rojc | @PhilipRojc
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Jeremy Keith

As the literal launching pad for some of America's most famous achievements, Cape Canaveral now faces an uncertain future. Congress is not about to approve new manned spaceflight programs, and private space companies are still catching up to where NASA was almost 50 years ago. Meanwhile, the Kennedy Space Center lies mostly silent. 

Anthony Flint discusses NASA's current multi-dimensional plans for the Florida expanse. While tourism is still a big draw, "NASA clearly wasn't ready to cede this territory completely over to nostalgia. It's all part of a larger political battle, almost willing Cape Canaveral into the future [...] Much of the activity has to do with a fundamental choice that NASA has made: to make facilities available to private sector space initiatives such as Space X."

There's also a green aspect to all of this. "Re-purposing buildings is a common theme here, for both financial and environmental efficiency. NASA dutifully went for LEED platinum rating at the Propellants Maintenance Facility. Over by the area used for testing vehicles on a simulated surface of the moon, solar arrays are being put up, joining a giant solar farm installed in 2008." We'll have to wait and see what's in store for the nation's spaceport. 

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Published on Wednesday, March 16, 2016 in CityLab
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