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Four Startups Allocated Launch Pads at Cape Canaveral

By Doug Messier
Parabolic Arc
March 7, 2023
Filed under , , , , ,
Four Startups Allocated Launch Pads at Cape Canaveral
RS1 rocket in flight before all nine first stage engines failed. (Credit: ABL Space Systems)

Space Launch Delta (SLD) 45 (United States Space Force) has announced the allocation of launch pads at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida to four startups developing small boosters.

The allocations include:

  • Space Launch Complex 13 (SLC-13): Phantom Space, Vaya Space
  • Space Launch Complex 14 (SLC-14): Stoke Space
  • Space Launch Complex 15 (SLC-15): ABL Space Systems

The decision to provide the commercial launch service providers (CLSPs) with the facilities was made under the U.S. Space Force’s new Launch Pad Allocation Strategy (LPAS).

“Offering excess launch property to the companies “fosters development of the new space launch systems and helps to ensure a strong space launch industrial base for the Nation,” SLD 45 said in a press release. “The LPAS was developed to account for maximizing the launch capacity of the Eastern Range, and minimizing the impacts that CLSPs create for other CLSPs during adjacent operations.

“This was the first round of launch pad allocations, and it was focused on small class launch vehicles. Additional rounds for medium, heavy and super heavy launch vehicles may occur in the future after further operational analysis,” SLD 45 added.

Cape Canaveral Launch Complexes 13, 14 and 15. (Credit: Google Maps)

SpaceX has built two landing pads for returning Falcon 9 first stages at SLC-13. The launch complex was previously used for Atlas ballistic missile tests and Atlas-Agena satellite launches.

Phantom Space, which is based in Tucson, Arizona, will share the facility with Vaya Space. Phantom is developing the Dayton booster to launch 450 kg (992 lb) to low Earth orbit (LEO), 160 kg (353 lb) to geostationary transfer orbit (GTO), or 50 kg (110 lb) to the Moon.

Vaya Space is developing the Dauntless rocket to launch 1,000 kg (2,205 lb) to LEO or 600 kg (1,323 lb) to sun-synchronous orbit. The company is based on Cocoa, Florida.

Stoke Space will operate from the launch complex from which John Glenn became the first American to orbit the Earth in February 1962. Mercury astronauts Scott Carpenter, Wally Schirra and Gordon Cooper followed him into orbit from LC-14.

Stoke Space is developing what it says will be a completely reusable launch vehicle. The company is based in Kent, Washington.

ABL Space Systems will operate from a complex used for Titan I and Titan II launches during the 1960’s. LC-15’s launch pad and support facilities have all been demolished.

ABL’s two-stage RS1 rocket is designed to place payloads weighing 1,350 kg (2,976 lb) into LEO. RS1 failed on its maiden launch on Feb. 10 from the Pacific Spaceport Complex – Alaska. The company is based in El Segundo, California.