Cooked alligator anyone?

Not a lot of people know this but NASA’s John F. Kennedy Space Center (KSC) and its Space Shuttle launch pads are situated in a wildlife reserve and now it could see even more launch and landing activity.
Driving into KSC on the NASA buses the alligators can be seen sunning themselves and at some distance from those Jurassic predators the local bird life flap and hop around. Bald eagle nesting sites can also be seen on the route into KSC.
But according to the Daytona Beach News Journal it looks like Merritt Island’s National Wildlife Refuge is going to have a lot of concrete poured over it.This is allegedly to enable future Commercial Orbital Transportation Services (COTS) providers to bring their reusable vehicles back for reuse.
What doesn’t quite ring true is that this report says that the concrete is needed for a landing and recovery zone. But both of the current competing designs for COTS, from Rocketplane Kistler and Space Exploration Technologies, use parachutes to return both first and second stages or a cargo or crew vehicle.
This means that where you land is not entirely under your control. Being as precise as not landing in the Atlantic ocean or on top of Merritt Island Mall is not really your choice if you are using parachtues.
Russia’s Soyuz capsules have landed in northern Kazkahstan. That is quite a big area. NASA’s plans for its Orion capsule see it land smack in the middle of the US to avoid the costs of organising a naval fleet to make Apollo style Pacific ocean pick ups.
So it is unlikely Merritt Island’s alligators face getting squished by a parachute aided descending booster.
Stay tuned, Flight is on the job and hopefully we can get the actual story from NASA soon.

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