More Space Coast rocket launches mean a crowded fleet of support ships are already pushing Port Canaveral’s limits. So the state commissioned a study that suggests a $2.1 billion solution to give companies such as SpaceX and Blue Origin dedicated places to dock.

Space Florida, the state’s aerospace agency, released Thursday the Florida Spaceport System Maritime Intermodal Transportation Study that’s been in the works for more than a year.

“It was really important for us to make sure we had every stakeholder input throughout the process,” said Space Florida president and CEO Rob Long.

“It’s a pretty comprehensive study,” he said. “It allows us to understand what the scope of the challenge ahead of us would be to meet the demands that we’ve seen in terms of industry.”

The players include NASA, the Space Force, Port Canaveral, commercial launch companies, environmental groups and others as it ranked the pros and cons of six potential locations to expand the port.

The end result targets the preferred long-term expansion to use land owned by the Air Force and rely less on Canaveral Port Authority property.

That came after three of the six potential sites were taken off the board last year, including along Cape Canaveral Space Force Station’s Atlantic Coast, sites along the Banana River that would require the use of the Canaveral Locks, and Port Canaveral’s easternmost turn basin that’s used to support the Navy’s nuclear submarines at the port.

That left proposals targeting the middle and western turn basins on the north side of the port, with the ultimate preferred proposal looking to cut out a swath of land currently the site of several military buildings just outside of the Space Force station entrance.

Buildings would have to be moved and State Road 401, which currently runs directly into the Space Force station. It would be shifted to the north, creating the space for a newly dredged northern turn basin with plenty of wharf space for commercial space companies’ support fleets.

The project is laid out in seven phases over 30 years with initial wharf space added adjacent to existing wharfs used by the Air Force, Army and one for ULA’s Rocketship transport. In the meantime, Port Canaveral would continue to juggle space industry ships with incoming cargo ships among its northern cargo terminals.

This year could see more than 100 launches, mostly from SpaceX with the majority running recovery efforts for first-stage boosters, fairings and capsules.

“We’re running out of space,” said Port Canaveral CEO Capt. John Murray in an interview at the Seatrade Cruise Global conference in Miami Beach in early April. “Last week, we had two boosters in for SpaceX. They had vessels at berth five, berth six and berth eight. Three berths at the port knocked out of service.”

He said the juggling act would have run into problems if Blue Origin’s New Glenn had also been launching.

“We would have had to tell them to leave because there was no room for them,” Murray said.

Blue Origin is just one of the new potential players. The Space Florida report cites the Space Coast could handle close to 200 launch and recovery missions annually by 2028, a number forecast to balloon to more than 1,250 missions in the next five decades.

Space Florida’s study also talked with ULA, Relativity Space, The Spaceport Company, Space Perspective, ABL Space Systems, Vaya Space, Phantom Space, Stoke Space and Astra in gathering industry needs for marine vessel recovery operations.

Space Florida projects SpaceX will be joined by five more rocket-launching companies in just the next three years.

With an average of four maritime vessels supporting each of those missions, the port could be expected to supply nearly 2 miles of dedicated berth space.

That’s 9,135 linear feet of space needed to dock. The port currently has just over 14,000 linear feet of space among all its cargo and cruise terminals, but none on the south side of the port is available to the space industry.

For now, SpaceX uses cargo terminals when space is open on the north side to offload its boosters and fairings, using cranes run by the port. Blue Origin will use the area with its massive crane when New Glenn missions begin, which could happen as early as September.

“One of the things that we’re trying to convince the space guys is that you’re all going to have conflicts,” Murray said, “They say, ‘Oh, no. We work well together.’ … and I say, ‘It’s not going to be as smooth as you think.'”

And Port Canaveral makes just a minor part of its overall income from the likes of SpaceX and Blue Origin, Murray said.

“We’re not going to give up all of Port Canaveral for the space industry,” he said. “Just for point of reference, that combined space business that we have today, with both Blue Origin and SpaceX as tenants, is less than 1% of our total revenue.”

According to the report, the average cost paid by SpaceX for a recovery operation is $61,000. With a $2.1 billion price tag for the proposed expansion, that price would rise to nearly $150,000.

Space Florida’s report proposed a variety of methods for funding the project, including federal and state grants married with loans that could bring those costs down, Long said.

“Florida’s financial toolkit is diverse enough, that there are some different options that we can potentially take advantage of,” he said. “That’s really what this next phase of the efforts going to be is, to sit down and really understand and get some agreements … to make this happen.”

He said that within the next year he hopes to establish a plan among the landowners, namely the Department of the Air Force.

“From a Space Florida perspective, our goal is to act as the intermediary and bring all those parties together and come up with a solution that hopefully, is a win-win for everybody,” he said. “In the long run, it’s about ensuring that we’re meeting the industry demands well into the future.”