NASA outlines 20-year plan for Kennedy Space Center

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CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. —

NASA officials on Wednesday rolled out their master plan for the future of Kennedy Space Center, and WFTV learned the 20-year plan will take the space center from its government roots to a multiuse space port.

The plan, however, could mean some tradeoffs for the public, like losing access to a valuable beach.

If NASA is successful in attracting more commercial partners, however, it could also mean more restricted access for the public to areas like Playalinda Beach.

The first of two public meetings on the 20-year plan was held Wednesday night at Eastern Florida State College.

The plan calls for new headquarters, new launch pads, and a new seaport.

For decades, KSC was a single-use government facility. That's changing and master planner Trey Carlson has been laying the groundwork for two years.

"That transition is talking about that vision of what KSC wants to be," Carlson said.

Carlson said several companies have already expressed an interest in building launch pads at KSC.

"Through the '80s and '90s, 95-100 percent of commercial launches were here," he said. "Our intent is to get some of that market back."

The master plan calls for at least two additional launch pads north of launch pad 39B within the secure perimeter south of Beach Road. Those pads would be used for commercial launches, but their proximity to Playalinda Beach could mean restricting beach access during launches.

"I know a lot of people will be building those launch pads," said beachgoer Paul Lahee. "It's bringing in work for people here."

Before anything is finalized, environmental studies will be conducted to help refine plans.