According to a corrected story in Space News, both SpaceX and Blue Origin have put in a bid for the Kennedy Space Center’s Launchpad 39A. While SpaceX’s possible interest in the pad has been widely reported, the apparent last-minute participation by perpetually mysterious Blue Origin adds a bit of speculative intrigue to what looked like a one horse race.
Although with so little known (at least publicly) about what Blue Origin is doing or how far it had progressed, it is difficult to gauge how the massive Apollo and Shuttle pad may fit into its plans, some basic facts do stand out. First, while the crawler transporter assembly is parked at the pad, it is not considered a part of the pad infrastructure and is not part of the lease. Second, the lease price, $0.00 is a pretty good deal, although power and fuel will be charged separately. The latter point may be the most relevent considering that unlike SpaceX’s RP-1/LOX architecture, Blue Origin is developing a hydrogen / oxygen system, so 39A fits in that regard, even if the scale is much smaller.