Cape Canaveral Spaceport Supports Polar Launch Capabilities

Launch Providers Have New Opportunity to Consolidate Operations to Florida

Cape Canaveral Spaceport Supports Polar Launch Capabilities

Cape Canaveral Spaceport, Fla. (August 30, 2020) – As demonstrated by today’s successful launch, Space Florida is pleased to highlight that the Cape Canaveral Spaceport once again offers full support of polar launch capabilities. The SpaceX Falcon 9 SAOCOM IB mission from Space Launch Complex (SLC) 40 marked the first polar launch from the Cape in more than 50 years. Prior to today’s launch, launch providers in the U.S. have been restricted to only launch sites in California or Alaska to service polar launch trajectories, requiring an inefficient duplication of infrastructure and workforce at multiple sites in order to service all orbits.

The return of polar and sun-synchronous orbit launch capability to the Cape Canaveral Spaceport presents an opportunity for launch providers to satisfy almost any orbital launch requirement from Florida. A single site allows companies to leverage the operational and economic benefits of consolidating operations, including streamlined launch licensing and range compliance, increased efficiency of maintaining a single workforce, simplified launch site configuration management, proximity to manufacturing and supply chain, and more efficient logistics for shipping and transport. Additionally, the manufacture and assembly of government and commercial payloads can now benefit from the consolidation of operations at a single launch head.

The pioneering efforts of SpaceX have led to the successful transition from traditional human-in-the-loop flight safety systems to software-controlled autonomous flight safety systems has been a critical enabler for the return of polar launch capabilities to the Cape, which has opened the use of a southern flight corridor off the east coast of Florida without compromising a rigorous commitment to public safety.

“Space Florida salutes the 45th Space Wing within the new U.S. Space Force as well as the Office of Commercial Space Transportation within the FAA for their tenacious work in empowering the regulatory system to safely enable this new capability,” said Frank DiBello, President and CEO of Space Florida. “Moreover, this game-changing accomplishment was realized today due to the demonstrated high reliability of SpaceX’s launch vehicles and safety systems that meet rigorous flight and public safety requirements. We are encouraged to see the evolution of autonomous flight safety systems, which are vital for any launch activity taking place from the Cape Canaveral Spaceport, and a key enabler for polar launch.”

Having demonstrated polar launch capability at the Cape offers increased flexibility to access a much wider range of orbits, providing commercial operators the opportunity to consolidate launch operations to one site that can meet all customer requirements. Space Florida looks forward to the increased launch activity from the Cape Canaveral Spaceport that this will bring as the space industry continues to grow and thrive in Florida.


About Space Florida: Space Florida was created to strengthen Florida’s position as the global leader in aerospace research, investment, exploration and commerce. As Florida’s aerospace and spaceport development authority, we are committed to attracting and expanding the next generation of space industry businesses. With its highly trained workforce, proven infrastructure and unparalleled record of achievement, Florida is the ideal location for aerospace businesses to thrive – and Space Florida is the perfect partner to help them succeed. www.spaceflorida.gov

About Cape Canaveral Spaceport: The Cape Canaveral Spaceport, at which Space Florida has an operational spaceport authority role, is the premiere transportation hub for global space commerce. Space Florida oversees management and operation of key elements of Florida’s existing space transportation capability including the Launch and Landing Facility and Space Launch Complex 46. Those Cape Canaveral Spaceport capabilities are enabled by safe and secure operations across a broad landscape of space activities.