NASA's decision to lease out Launch Pad 39A at the Kennedy
Space Center in Florida to SpaceX followed a challenge by rival
bidder Blue Origin, a startup rocket company owned by Amazon
founder Jeff Bezos.
On Thursday, the Government Accountability Office dismissed Blue
Origin's protest over NASA's bidding process. Privately owned
Blue Origin had proposed a multi-user concept for the launch
In its ruling, the GAO said NASA was free to consider both
exclusive and multi-use operational concepts for the launch pad.
GAO's review of the protest delayed NASA's plan to turn over the
launch pad by October 1, 2013. NASA has said it spends around
$100,000 a month to maintain the site.
The terms of the lease agreement with SpaceX were not
"NASA will begin working with SpaceX to negotiate the terms of
its lease for LC-39A. During those ongoing negotiations, NASA
will not be able to discuss details of the pending lease
agreement," the agency said in a statement.
SpaceX already is flying its Falcon rockets from a leased launch
pad at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, just south of the NASA
spaceport. It also has a launch pad at Vandenberg Air Force Base
in California, and is considering developing a commercial
complex in Texas.
The company, founded and run by technology entrepreneur Elon
Musk, has a backlog of more than 50 missions for NASA and
(Editing by Kevin Gray; editing by David Brunnstrom)
[© 2013 Thomson Reuters. All rights
Copyright 2013 Reuters. All rights reserved. This material may not be published,
broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.