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In this question: How does SpaceX manage parallel processing at the LC-40 Complex? I asked how SpaceX handles two cores at the HIF building at LC-40 at the same time. Based on available data it looks like they just do not. One at a time.

I asked this question on the Space Show with David Livingston when Gwynne Shotwell was on and she misconstrued my question, instead answering that LC-39A, Vandenberg, and Boca Chica will allow more capacity.

Recently in March 2015, there was a scheduled launch of a GEO comm sat on a booster with no legs (due to lack of margin for landing attempts). Followed by a CRS-6 mission about 20 someodd days later, per the schedule. Due to undisclosed issues, they have swapped the order.

Thus the question is now, how will they handle re-arranging the flight order. Will they fly the CRS mission with the commsat booster, no legs. Then fly the commsat mission on the CRS booster, possibly removing the legs?

Will they retrofit the legs back onto the commsat booster for the CRS mission?

Will they just move the commsat booster onto a truck and park it outside, off to the side, or somewhere at the Cape, and start work on the CRS booster?

The HIF building may be big enough to slide a booster over to the side, if only for a week or three.

But it would be interesting to know how they plan on handling this changeup.

Update: It is possible I misunderstood the delays. This article at SpaceFlightNow suggests that they are just delaying the commsat launch, and possibly push back CRS mission after it, not reordering it. I will continue looking for the original source I was working from.

Update: This NasaSpaceFlight.com article suggests that the ordering has been swapped, with CRS-6 going before the comm sat. Which to believe? Who knows, but the question still stands.

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SpaceX has one main processing facility at Cape Canaveral, but they have at least one building that is sufficiently large to store a second booster at the Cape. The second building can't do all of the pre-launch prep work, but can do some limited prep work. The storage facility is some ways away from the launch pad, it is my understanding it is about 5 miles away.

For the missions which I am most familiar with at SpaceX, they have had the main rocket at the main integration facility, and the second rocket at the near site storage facility. I would presume that they simply switched the rockets, possibly the entire rocket, and almost certainly the lower stage.

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  • $\begingroup$ Are referring to the SPIF I found in this answer? space.stackexchange.com/questions/3288/… If so, do you a source that they are storing stages there? I know they do payload processing there. Stage storage is new to me. $\endgroup$ – geoffc Mar 19 '15 at 20:25
  • $\begingroup$ That could be it, I don't know many details, unfortunately, and don't have the resources available to learn more, but I do know there is a storage facility that has been used, and can do some spacecraft processing. It's a part of how SpaceX has managed to do 3 week turn arounds, particularly in the event of long delayed launches. $\endgroup$ – PearsonArtPhoto Mar 20 '15 at 14:34
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This question was asked when the only processing facility was the LC-40 hangar, and the rented SPIF building.

With the AMOS-6 mishap damaging LC-40, LC-39A was pressed into service and the LC-39A hangar (Which sits a top the old crawler path, so no more crawlers at LC-39A) is wide enough to process a Falcon Heavy and a Falcon 9, which means room for 4 and some suggest 5 cores.

There have been photos of the LC-39A holding several single stick cores, the currently processing stage, but also some of the recovered stages in various states of disarray.

This flexibility was seen when the order of the CRS-10 and Echostar launch were reordered.

Additionally, the SLC-4 pad at Vandenberg is active for west coast missions. Construction on Boca Chica is still slow and not really progressing. LC-40 is being refurbished to recover from the AMOS-6 fueling incident.

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