SpaceX President Gwynne Shotwell has said the company plans a two- to three-week interval for its Falcon 9 rocket launches once a new launch pad at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida enters service next week, Reuters reported Tuesday.
Shotwell told Reuters Monday in an interview that launch pad repairs at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida are still in progress and that repair work should cost “far less than half” of the new launch site valued at approximately $100 million, Irene Klotz wrote.
The announcement comes nearly a month after SpaceX launched the first batch of 10 satellites for Iridium Communications’ NEXT constellation and five months after a Falcon 9 rocket exploded at Cape Canaveral minutes before the rocket’s static fire test.
Shotwell noted the company has begun to redesign the rocket’s turbopumps to address safety concerns that the U.S. Air Force and NASA raised about the cracks in Falcon 9’s engines.
SpaceX plans to have the new turbopumps installed before NASA starts the initial unmanned flight tests in November in preparation for the first commercial flight to transport astronauts to and from the International Space Station in late 2018, she added, according to the report.