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Space Florida Announces Partnership with NASA for Orion Testing

Press Release From: Space Florida
Posted: Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Today, Space Florida is pleased to announce its partnership with NASA's Johnson Space Center (JSC) in Houston, Texas for use of Space Launch Complex 46 for the Orion spacecraft's Ascent Abort-2 test. The landmark Sub-License Agreement gives JSC priority use of the launch complex. The test is an effort to verify a key part of Orion's safety system during ascent to space before it begins missions with astronauts to deep space. The collaboration is an effort to enable and ready a key part of the Orion, America's next generation exploration vehicle, for human spaceflight by testing from Space Florida's Space Launch Complex (SLC) 46 at the Cape Canaveral Spaceport.

SLC-46, flight proven with the launch of the Orbital ATK Minotaur IV rocket in August of this year, is currently undergoing post-launch repairs and mission-specific modifications in preparation for Ascent Abort -2 (AA-2) test activity beginning in Spring 2018.

 "Space Florida looks forward to supporting NASA on the Orion AA-2 test, which exemplifies the evolution and future of human space exploration," said Space Florida COO and Executive General Manager of the Cape Canaveral Spaceport Jim Kuzma. "Cape Canaveral has been the embarkation point for more humans launched into space than anywhere else, and we look forward to continuing that legacy for the next generation of space missions."

Space Florida's commitment to support increased future launches from SLC-46 will be enhanced by a 190-foot tall Lightning Protection System to be constructed by Summer 2018.

SLC-46 is located on the eastern most end of the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station (CCAFS), and covers approximately 30 acres. The launch facility, originally built in 1985 by the United States Navy to support land-based testing of the Trident submarine-launched ballistic missile, has since become a multi-use complex capable of supporting a wide range of launch vehicles.

Space Florida serves as a mission partner to SLC-46 customers, providing lease access to the site and serving as liaison to range services.

Space Florida's SLC-46 is an extremely flexible and configurable launch facility that can be modified to support a variety of new and smaller launch vehicles, including suborbital vehicles requiring only a concrete pad surface for mounting a launcher. With minimal post launch refurbishment required, SLC-46 can support multiple launches per year.

About Space Florida: Space Florida was created to strengthen Florida's position as the global leader in aerospace research, investment, exploration and commerce. As Florida's aerospace and spaceport development authority, we are committed to attracting and expanding the next generation of space industry businesses. With its highly trained workforce, proven infrastructure and unparalleled record of achievement, Florida is the ideal location for aerospace businesses to thrive - and Space Florida is the perfect partner to help them succeed. www.spaceflorida.gov

About Cape Canaveral Spaceport: The Cape Canaveral Spaceport, at which Space Florida has an operational spaceport authority role, is the premiere transportation hub for global space commerce. Space Florida oversees management and operation of key elements of Florida's existing space transportation capability including the Shuttle Landing Facility and Launch Complex 46. Those Cape Canaveral Spaceport capabilities are enabled by safe and secure operations across a broad landscape of space activities.

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