The Orlando Sentinel, in an August 18. 2013 story, reports how NASA’s desire to commercialize Pad 39A at the Kennedy Space Center has pitting two commercial rocket pioneers, Elon Musk of SpaceX and Jeff Bezos of Blue Origin, for the right to run the launch complex from which a number of Apollo missions to the moon and space shuttle flights departed.
After the end of the space shuttle program, NASA determined that it would only need one of its huge launch pads, 39B to operate its space exploration program built around the heavy lift Space Launch System. Instead of bearing the cost of mothballing Pad 39A, NASA would like to lease it to a commercial enterprise.
SpaceX is keen to use 39A to launch a number of space missions, including the Dragon space craft that is currently taking supplies to and from the International Space Station and may soon be taking astronauts as well. But Blue Origin, which is developing a reusable space craft, is also interested is using Pad 39A.
The question of who wins the competition may revolve around deep pockets and the intended use of the launch complex. Musk, who is worth about $2 billion, wants to have exclusive use of Pad 39A. Bezos, who is worth $25 billion, wants to develop the launch complex as a multiuse facility, for not only a variety of commercial vendors including his own, but perhaps NASA as well should it decide that it needs two launch pads to conduct space exploration operations.
In the meantime, Musk may have an alternative. He is already contemplating building a private space port near Brownsville, Texas for commercial launches. Aside from the added expense, there may be no reason he could not launched crewed Dragon flights to the ISS from Texas as well.