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SpaceX soon could be charged more to bring its reusable rockets back to land

June 22, 2016

The Canaveral Port Authority may start charging SpaceX docking fees for its spent rockets.

Authority officials had planned to consider the measure Wednesday but, at the last second, CEO John Murray pulled the item from the agenda. Still, Murray told the board that the item will likely be reintroduced in the future.

The fees are “our source of revenue,” Murray said, though he stressed the “relationship is good” between SpaceX and the Authority.

The item, before it was pulled, would have charged SpaceX $500 per ton or $15,000 every time SpaceX brings a rocket into dock.

The Port regularly charges fees based upon weight, although most are less than $10 per ton. According to the Port’s fee schedule, the highest charge is $35.30 for containers with cargo in them on vessels 450 feet long or more.

A SpaceX spokesman declined to comment when asked how much the company had been paying. Murray said the Authority had a previously scheduled meeting with SpaceX Wednesday afternoon.

“Port Canaveral is an important partner in our recovery operations,” SpaceX spokesman John Taylor said in a statement. “We appreciate the Board’s willingness to reconsider this proposal.”

Canaveral Port Authority’s Rule 715, which governs tariffs placed on those using the port, would be amended to add charges for “aerospace/aircraft items.”

SpaceX has successfully recovered a launched rocket three times on a barge floating in the Atlantic Ocean. After recovery, the platform makes its way back to the dock.

The Authority left the door open for negotiations with other companies as more pursue rocket recovery efforts in the pulled item.

msantana@orlandosentinel.com or 407-420-5256; follow on Twitter at @marcosantana..

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