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The space agency announced Friday (Dec. 13) that it is beginning negotiations with SpaceX of Hawthorne, Calif., to take over exclusive use of Launch Complex 39A at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. NASA used the pad for decades to send astronauts to the moon and later launch space shuttles into Earth orbit.
"Permitting the use and operation of this valuable national asset by a private-sector, commercial space partner will ensure its continued viability and allow for its continued use in support of U.S. space activities," NASA said in its statement announcing the selection.
SpaceX, led by billionaire entrepreneur Elon Musk, was one of two private spaceflight companies vying for the use of Launch Pad 39A. Blue Origin, founded by Amazon.com chief Jeff Bezos, had proposed using the launch complex as a multi-user facility supporting other rocket companies, including United Launch Alliance (ULA).
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