Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Florida's Cecil Field wins FAA spaceport approval

The Federal Aviation Authority has approved a space launch license for Cecil Field in Jacksonville, making it the state's first spaceport designed to lure space tourism business.

Read a copy of the FAA approval here.

Click here for the FAA's environmental assessment, released last July.

"We're extremely excited and very much looking to the future to work with potential operators," said Todd Lindner, administrator of planning, grants and environmental programs for the Jacksonville Aviation Authority, which began the application process in 2005.

The license allows Cecil Field to support horizontal launches by reusable vehicles like Virgin Galactic's SpaceShipTwo and others in development that would take off like planes and launch suborbital flights over the Atlantic Ocean.

Lindner said the new spaceport could see its first launch by the end of 2011, though no contracts are in place. Within five years, he expects a launch as often as every month or two, though the license permits a maximum of one a week.

Lindner and Space Florida representatives said Cecil Field would complement commercial vertical launch capabilities that will be offered on the Space Coast.

"With the realization of Cecil Field’s FAA license, and the anticipated announcements of additional such sites in Florida, our state will have a unique competitive advantage over other domestic spaceports," Space Florida President Frank DiBello said in a statement.

Cecil Field is the nation's seventh FAA-approved commercial spaceport.

IMAGE NOTE: Artist's rendering of XCOR Aerospace's two-seat Lynx suborbital spaceship, the type of vehicle that could launch from Cecil Field in Jacksonville. Credit: XCOR Aerospace.


Anonymous said...

Thats Good News for Brevard county .

Anonymous said...

Would have been nice to have here. I firmly believe that a commercial/tourism space flight industry will be successful. Not everyone is financial distress.

Gudgeon said...

If this is the end-state of space activity, let's just turn out the lights and go fishing.

Curtis said...

This is great! Great for innovation, careers, jobs, economy, vacation, something new to do, and thare will be history in the making!

Curtis said...

Could somebody give me information on any job placement activities in the new spaceport?

Anonymous said...

I don't think it's the end-state of space activity, I think it's an opportunity for people to see Earth from the other side of the atmosphere other than the seven or so people per year that NASA selects. My hope is that eventually it will become at least slightly more affordable for people who aren't as rich as Bill Gates.