NASA and Elon Musk's SpaceX have begun negotiations to lease a launch facility at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida, following a battle for the location between a handful of companies including one owned by Amazon founder Jeff Bezos. That space, Launch Complex 39A, has been highly sought after given the sky-high cost and regulatory difficulties of creating new launch facilities elsewhere. NASA opened up proposals for commercial companies to lease the pad back in May, saying it needed others to maintain the facilities and bolster commercial space operations.
Launchpads are hard to come by
The news comes just a day after the Government Accountability Office rejected Blue Origin's attempts to protest NASA's solicitation for potential tenants of the launch complex. That's the Jeff Bezos-backed company that's been cooking up its own suborbital launch systems, and worked on several projects with NASA, including launch escape systems. It too was vying for use of the facilities for its own ventures.
The 39A facility was originally used as part of the Apollo Program, and later for shuttle flights. It's neighbored by 39B, which NASA continues to use, though the facility is currently under construction to support a wider range of space vehicles.