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The Vision Spaceport Partnership

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Vision Spaceport (Pat Rawlings).


In 1998, the Kennedy Space Center entered into a Joint Sponsored Research Agreement (JSRA), the Vision Spaceport Partnership (VSP), with Ames Research Center, the Institute for Simulation and Training of the University of Central Florida, Barker-Ramos & Associates, the Boeing Company, Command and Control Technologies Corporation, Lockheed Martin Corporation and Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC) / Pat Rawlings. All parties contributed to the partnership and worked towards achieving the objectives of the agreement through the partnership.


The VSP was dedicated to promoting an R&D partnership between government, industry and academia to help conceive revolutionary new spaceport architectures and space launch operations capabilities. This R&D partnership aimed to promote the development of design tools or models for the purpose of guiding and thus advancing the state of the art in spaceport performance.


Papers & Presentations:

  • Carey M. McCleskey and the Vision Spaceport Team, NASA Kennedy Space Center, "Renewing America’s Space Launch Infrastructure & Operations" April 2001

"This report summarizes the R&D activity of the Vision Spaceport Partnership from 1998 through 2000 and coincides with the first release of the Strategic Planning Tool. In addition to providing top-level findings, the NASA Technical Manager provides a long range, “quick-look” vision of ground infrastructure and operations for future space travel."

The Project:


The Vision Spaceport Partnership from 1998 to 2000 significantly improved modeling methodologies. Now a comprehensive set of technical and programmatic characteristics could relate a vehicle and ground system design to it's recurring launch-site operations effort. The project:

  • Established the foundation of methods for calculating the costs of future space transportation systems ground operations in a manner that usefully married operability characteristics with available data. Operability characteristics were those descriptive features, such as the number of tanks or thrusters, or the different fluids and their types, that are not just incidental vehicle and ground system features of a concepts design, but also drivers likely to alter and control outcomes and consequences such as ground operations cost, turnaround time and launch rate productivity per year. "Available" data too meant that new systems could be understood relative to the data at hand, rather than awaiting data still to be found or distilled from past systems ground operations.

  • Avoided weight based calculation schemes, arriving more closely at true ground operations cost drivers.

  • Began the momentum towards accumulating Shuttle data, understanding what was useful and what was not, so as to over time connect the puzzle pieces of human space flight difficulties into a coherent set of drivers vs. outcomes.

The VSP software related complexity to costs methodically. The issues of margin and standardization were also key drivers.

The Vision of the future spaceport is one of high productivity & high launch rates at affordable scales enabled by the right design, technology, knowledge and organization.

The advantages of the multi-modal transportation hub and of horizontal take-off systems that advance affordable access to space - in this generation.

The Team:


  • R. Bridges/KSC Center Director

  • L. Shriver/KSC Deputy Center Director

Project Team

  • C. McCleskey/NASA KSC, Systems Engineering and Technology, Government Co-Chair

  • R. Byrd/The Boeing Company, Industry Co-chair 1997-2000

  • K. Ingoldsby/Lockheed Martin Corp., Industry Co-chair 2001

Team members

  • K. Ramos/Barker-Ramos and Associates (later contributing as Spaceport Florida Authority representative)

  • C. Besset/The Boeing Company

  • K. Brown/Command & Control Technologies Corp.

  • B. Collins/Command & Control Technologies Corp.

  • R. Cutri-Kohart/Georgia Institute of Technology (student/intern)

  • J. Horn/Command & Control Technologies Corp.

  • J. Huether/The Boeing Company

  • K. Ingoldsby/Lockheed Martin Corp.

  • J. Judkins/Command & Control Technologies Corp.

  • P. Jogelkar/LaSalle University (fellowship professor)

  • W. Lattin/Lockheed Martin Corp.

  • J. Parsons/University of Central Florida, Institute for Simulation and Training

  • S. Malsom/NASA Ames Research Center

  • G. Martin/University of Central Florida, Institute for Simulation and Training

  • P. Rawlings/Science Applications International Corp., Space Concept Artist

  • R. Rhodes/NASA KSC, Systems Engineering and Technology

  • A. Ruiz-Torres/Florida Gulf Coast University (fellowship professor)

  • M. Sklar/The Boeing Company

  • C. Urrutia/The Boeing Company

  • R. Vargo/The Boeing Company

  • E. Zapata/NASA KSC, Systems Engineering and Technology                                           

  • (and many UCF students-great job!)


Website Contact: Edgar Zapata, NASA Kennedy Space Center