National News

Jan 3, 2013 8:34 AM by NBC News

NASA to rent out buildings at Kennedy Space Center

With the shuttle program now in the history books, NASA is effectively no longer in the business of launching crews into space.

The agency is looking to rent its Florida facilities to private companies.

NASA is abandoning the launch pad that springboarded the first moon landing, along with many shuttle flights. At the Kennedy Space Center, after 8,000 or so post-shuttle layoffs, there are acres of old office chairs, desks and equipment no longer in use. Buildings need tenants.

Even the world famous Vehicle Assembly Building, one of the world's largest buildings, could be available to the right company with the right plan for its use.

NASA's Joyce Riquelme says, "We have however been in negotiations with some companies. There are discussions with at least two companies who had been interested in that facility."

NASCAR is renting the space shuttle runway for race car tests. Boeing is paying for space in a former shuttle hangar, building a commercial space ship. From NASA's perspective, the idea is to give startup space companies a boost; an economic shot in the arm for the Space Coast. In too many cases, NASA has not been able to find takers for its highly specialized assets.

NASA says facilities that aren't leased by the end of this year could be demolished, including the launch pad that launched space shuttles and astronauts to the moon.

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