Click to launch the photo gallery
Click to launch the photo gallery
The space shuttles are all nestled in their retirement homes, but NASA still has plenty of equipment, buildings and other infrastructure left over from their 30-year run. The space agency is quietly trying to sell it or lease it, and in some cases by the end of this year.
The last shuttle mission ended a year and a half ago now, and the final pieces of cleanup and mothballing are just about done down at Kennedy Space Center in Florida. There is enough federal money to finish those tasks and perform maintenance this year, but the money runs out at the end of 2013, according to the Orlando Sentinel, which has been tracking NASA's garage sale efforts. After the funds dry up, the steel and concrete buildings will almost certainly start to rust in the humid, salty climate of Florida's Space Coast.
Some commercial partners already have deals with the space agency to use its facilities. Boeing is refurbishing one of the Orbiter Processing Facilities for its CST-100 space transport capsule, which could eventually ferry up to seven astronauts to the space station. And SpaceX has already used the launch facilities at KSC.
But there's plenty left, from the huge shuttle landing strips and rollout paths to the parachute-packing plants. Some of these may be more attractive than others--as the advocacy group Space Florida told the Sentinel, companies might want to build their own launch facilities. Still, there's plenty of infrastructure just waiting for someone to want it.
Check out our gallery to see some of the assets NASA is hoping to offer to the next generation of space explorers.
It will be a kick in the head, if China buys all these NASA assets up and later excels in their space program.
Hopefully, they are only for sale to USA businesses!
China would probably prefer to have new facilities, not second hand outdated junk that NASA doesn't need anymore.
A "third world" nation could probably use it though.
The reason why it doesn't matter who we give this to is because we are developing newer and better launch capabilities that put the Shuttle and shuttle launching systems as old technology. Also, remember that the money from this will only go towards further progressing our capabilities in space.
Lastly, we're all on this planet together, so however space exploration is expanded is good for all of us. The only thing that needs to be resolved are the politics here on the surface.
While the money being made from the NASA assets might be good and for future development, it also makes me cringe a little and worry we will pay 5 or 10 times more in the future for the same assets.
I agree with Robot on this one. Yet, if they have to sell it, I strongly hope that a private space company will buy this equipment and put it to good use.
These facilities are worthless except for their value as scrap metal. Why would any private company want to spend huge amounts of money leasing and maintaining these massive facilities, that are way larger than they would need? The worst part of a private company leasing such facilities from NASA would be that NASA would have total control of what they do there.
NASA wants to lease these facilities to someone else so they don't have to pay for their upkeep.
What about the facilities that were built at Vandenberg Air Force Base, in California?
I could only afford one $100 hammer or maybe a $350 toilet seat.
Industrial sized carbon fiber manufacturing research division. Ways and means of on demand production isn't there yet. Keep putting these buildings back into the kinds of research and development they were designed to foster.