Generation Orbit Signs Tenant Agreement for Cecil Spaceport

Generation Orbit’s planned launch system. (Credit: Generation Orbit)
Generation Orbit’s planned launch system. (Credit: Generation Orbit)

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (JAA PR) — The Jacksonville Aviation Authority (JAA) has signed its first tenant agreement at Cecil Spaceport with Generation Orbit Launch Services, Inc. (GO).

Atlanta-based GO will utilize Cecil’s hangar space, its 12,500-foot runway and the safe flight paths that have already been coordinated with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), among other things, to support its commercial flight and horizontal launch program.


Generation Orbit to Launch Satellites Out of Cecil Spaceport

Generation Orbit’s planned launch system. (Credit: Generation Orbit)
Generation Orbit’s planned launch system. (Credit: Generation Orbit)

The Jacksonville Aviation Authority is asking the state of Florida to help fund infrastructure improvements at Cecil Airport to support the operations of micro-sat launch provider that will operate from there.

Generation Orbit Launch Services Inc. has selected Jacksonville’s Cecil Spaceport as the primary launch site for its small satellite transport operation.

The company plans to put small satellites into space by launching a rocket from an in-flight aircraft. The micro-satellites would support low gravity, astrophysics and hypersonic research at a fraction of the cost of full-size satellites.

On Sept. 30, NASA awarded the Atlanta-based company its first contract. Under it, Generation Orbit will launch at least two test flights next year and a conduct a full satellite launch in 2016.

State funding requested by the JAA would be used to connect the proposed spaceport site with taxiways and roads, authority spokesman Michael Stewart said.

Generation Orbit is the first space company to locate at the airport, which received its spaceport designation three years ago. Cecil Airport is a former Naval Air Station that has been converted into a joint civilian-military facility.

Read the full story.

XCOR to Annouce Florida Plans on Thursday Morning

Full-scale mockup of XCOR's Lynx suborbital space plane. (Credit: Douglas Messier)
A full-scale Lynx mockup. (Credit: Douglas Messier)

XCOR Aerospace Announces Operations
  and Manufacturing Base in Florida

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Florida Lt. Governor Jennifer Carroll
XCOR CEO Jeff Greason
Space Florida President Frank DiBello
NASA-KSC Director Robert Cabana
NASA Chief of Staff David Radzanowski
U.S. Senator Bill Nelson
EDC of Florida’s Space Coast President Lynda Weatherman
Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex COO Bill Moore
Jacksonville Aviation Authority Sr. Manager of Aviation Planning & Spaceport Development Todd Lindner

XCOR Aerospace will announce details regarding its intent to establish a manufacturing and assembly center for XCOR Lynx Mark II suborbital reusable launch vehicles on Florida’s Space Coast.

10:00 a.m. – 12:00 Noon
Thursday, August 23, 2012

Astronaut Encounter Theater
Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex

EDITOR’S NOTE: The Jacksonville Aviation Authority oversees Cecil Field, a former Naval Air Station that is now a licensed FAA spaceport.

A Space Florida rep tells me that this event will not be webcast, but officials are discussing holding a teleconference later in the day for media reps who can’t make it to KSC. I will cover that event if it occurs.


JAA Assesses Horizontal Rocket Flights From Cecil Field Spaceport

Cecil Field in Jacksonville, recently designated a commercial spaceport.

JAA PR (January 25, 2012) — The Jacksonville Aviation Authority Board of Directors has accepted a grant from the Florida Department of Transportation to conduct an Environmental Assessment, which will examine the environmental impacts and investigate the feasibility of the operation of a Concept ‘Y’ Horizontal Launch – Reusable Launch Vehicle (RLV) at Cecil Spaceport.

While Concept ‘X’ and Concept ‘Z’ Vehicles take-off using the typical turbojet engines to reach a predetermined location and altitude before igniting a rocket engine, Concept ‘Y’ Vehicles are powered by a rocket engine for the entire span of their operation.

In January 2010, after completing the original Environmental Assessment and Launch Site Operator’s License application process, JAA was issued a Commercial Spaceport license from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). The license allows the airport to accommodate 52 horizontal takeoffs annually of sub-orbital horizontal launch vehicles.


Cecil Field Receives “Space Territory” Designation

Cecil Field in Jacksonville.

The Florida Times-Union reports that Jacksonville Aviation Authority will now be able to pursue state funding to upgrade Cecil Field to a spaceport:

Space Florida officially designated Cecil as a “Space Territory” on June 9. Getting that designation means the Florida Department of Transportation now has legal authority to fund spaceport-related transportation facilities within Cecil to better accommodate horizontal launch space travel.

JAA will now be able pursue funds to design and construct new roadways, taxiways, and assembly and payload facilities at Cecil Airport. A Spaceport Master Plan is expected to be completed in the fall.

JAA already received a spaceport license from the Federal Aviation Administration for the former military base.

Read the full story.

FAA Approves Cecil Field for Space Tourism

cecilfield_imgFAA approves Cecil for commercial spaceport
Jacksonville Journal

The Federal Aviation Administration has approved Cecil Field to be used as a commercial spaceport, and the field’s license is pending, Jacksonville International Airport spokesman Michael Stewart said Wednesday.

He showed photos for two vehicles that could take off from the runway and rocket to the edge of earth’s atmosphere – high enough for passengers to see the curvature of the Earth and experience weightlessness. One design was based on a private jet; the other, still in development, would glide back to Earth, he said.

Read the full story.

Editor’s Note: Jacksonville officials have been courting Rocketplane Global, although that company’s vehicle remains largely in the computer with more than $100 million required to get to a test flight. Rocketplane laid off most of its staff earlier this year and moved out of its headquarters in Oklahoma due to financial difficulties.

I’m not sure of the identity of the other company mentioned in the story. Anyone know?

Jacksonville Makes Progress Toward Space Tourism Flights


JAA Looking Toward Space
Financial News and Daily Record

By the end of the year, the Aviation Authority expects to get word from the Federal Aviation Administration that it’s time to look beyond the boundaries of gravity. The FAA is currently in the final stages of reviewing the JAA’s application for Cecil Field to become a Certified Space Port.

“We are not there, but we are close,” said Michael Stewart, director of external affairs for JAA.


Jacksonville Moves Ahead with Space Tourism Plans

The Jacksonville Airport Authority is moving ahead with plans to designate Cecil Field as a spaceport to host suborbital flights. JAA expects to received approval for the move from the Federal Aviation Administration by February 2009, the Jacksonville Business Journal reports.

“Although the final application was turned in Aug. 15, interim drafts have already been approved. Once the operators receive FAA approval to fly out of Cecil, the first launch could be as early as spring 2010,” the journal reports.

Cecil Field is a civilian-military airport that sits on the location of a Naval Air Station that was closed in 1999. The airfield features:

  • Four runways: one at 12,500 feet and three at 8,000 feet
  • 537,000 square yards of apron
  • Eight hangars
  • 175 major buildings totaling 2.9 million square feet.
  • Over 425,000 square feet of warehouse, industrial and general-use space
  • 225,000 square feet of general office and support facilities

The airport hosts the Florida Army National Guard and the U.S. Coast Guard’s Helicopter Interdiction Tactical Squadron (HITRON). Boeing, Northrop Grumman and other major aerospace companies are located at the facility, where they provide maintenance and overhaul services for U.S. military aircraft.