Space Florida to Spend Up to $400K on Virgin Galactic SpaceShipTwo Experiments

Florida Today provides some more details on an agreement between Space Florida and Virgin Galactic to fly experiments aboard SpaceShipTwo that was announced last month:

Space Florida will pay to fly a scientist and student experiments from Florida on Virgin Galactic’s suborbital spaceship, an investment intended to stimulate interest in science and technology education and boost the state’s role in space-based research.

The state agency’s board on Wednesday unanimously approved spending up to $400,000 for two seats on a flight.

“We want to be able to position Florida to be the ground node for a lot of that kind of access,” Space Florida President Frank DiBello said during the meeting in Fort Lauderdale.

A competition is planned to select the researcher and payloads to be flown in microgravity for about five minutes on Virgin’s SpaceShipTwo, which would take off with a carrier aircraft from the company’s New Mexico spaceport….

In addition to the educational motives of buying tickets on a Virgin flight, Space Florida envisions establishing a local base of customers for suborbital research that will eventually lead that company and others to fly from Florida.

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