It appears to be the case that Elon Musk’s space agency, SpaceX will need to muster the courage to cough up some extra cash in order to land its Falcon 9 rocket in Port Canaveral.
Port Canaveral is making some radical changes in its tariff rates. For one thing, it plans on charging a substantial fee to companies that want to bring aircraft and spacecraft in the port area. If this law gets implemented, companies would have to pay at least $500 per ton of the net total weight of the equipment or $15000 per time that they bring it into the harbor for takeoff and landing purposes.
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What this means is that such companies that bring in huge structures which are sent into deep space will have to come up with some cold hard cash. Can you think of any?
Well, Elon Musk’s SpaceX comes to mind. For the past 16 months or so, SpaceX has has been testing its Falcon 9 rockets on and off for the umpteenth time. These huge rockets have often landed on drone ships at sea. It was a precarious and complex series of maneuvers that led to the takeoff and landing of these rockets all thanks to the courage and grace under fire of SpaceX.
While SpaceX did pay some cash for using Canaveral Port, it was hardly astronomical in its value. The charge rate was $3.02 per ton of cargo items. However, with this new rule in place, SpaceX may be about to be dealt a dent in its wallet. $500 per ton is way too much. Nevertheless, that is the way it is. Nothing can be done about it and as the saying goes “rules are rules”.
The new rate makes each Falcon 9 rocket undertaking cost as much as $15,000. That is because the rocket weighs as much as 30 tons, according to FloridaToday. The rockets posed a lot of issues in the past. They also caused damage sometimes when things didn’t work out according to plan. Spacecraft will thus be subject to changed rates and Elon Musk will have to face this bitter reality whether he likes it or not.
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The fact that this wharfage fee is 14 times higher than that of any other area is something which has irked SpaceX officials. While SpaceX considers Port Canaveral a crucial partner in its quest for space travel, it will try to influence the administration to change its tariff rates using every tool of leverage in its repertoire including negotiation.