Soviets Want to Launch Rockets from Florida
Aug. 02, 1990
CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (AP) _ The Soviet Union wants to launch unmanned rockets from Florida under a policy awaiting President Bush's approval.
Bush is expected to act soon on guidelines, which would allow foreign countries to send up rockets from the United States.
The Soviets are interested in launching Proton rockets from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, next to NASA's Kennedy Space Center.
The center is much nearer the equator than the Soviets' launch site, making it easier to put satellites into the most commonly used orbit, above the equator.
The Soviets won't make a formal request until the guidelines are final, said William Wirin, executive vice president of Space Commerce Corp., a Houston company that markets Soviet rockets outside the Soviet Union.
Space Commerce recently relayed an informal request to the Spaceport Florida Authority, a state agency formed last year to support U.S. commercial space ventures.
American launch companies fear their businesses will be jeopardized if American commercial payloads such as satellites are allowed to ride on Soviet rockets.
''This is not something we consider our mission by any means,'' said Ed Ellegood, the spaceport authority's operations manager. He said officials will not discuss the Soviet proposal until a formal request is made.
The Soviet Union also is considering launch sites in Australia and Brazil.