The Jacksonville Aviation Authority (JAA) has been granted a license by the FAA to operate a commercial, horizontal launch spaceport at Cecil Field (VQQ). Cecil Field, the first FAA-licensed horizontal launch commercial spaceport in Florida, is the eighth spaceport to be licensed in the U.S.
As part of receiving a license to operate a spaceport, the JAA and FAA conducted an extensive environmental study and a comprehensive application process which included a number of public meetings, airport officials said.
During a horizontal launch, a spacecraft takes off and lands horizontally just like an airplane. Cecil Field is an ideal site for horizontal launch space flight, airport officials said, noting it has a 12,500-foot long main runway (the third longest in Florida), and the location is relatively close to the open skies over the Atlantic Ocean.
“Cecil Field has come a long way in the past 10 years. This property which was once a Naval Air Station continues to be reused and redeveloped in innovative ways,” said JAA Board Chairman Deborah Pass-Durham. “We’re hopeful this commercial spaceport license will help take Cecil Field to the next level in attracting new business, especially within the space industry.”
“With Cecil Field being named one of only eight licensed commercial spaceports in the country, Jacksonville is breaking into yet another aviation industry with commercial space transport,” said JAA Executive Director and CEO Steve Grossman. “Cecil Commerce Center offers Jacksonville and our region an industrial complex unlike any other in the state, and the addition of commercial space transport will greatly contribute to economic development and job growth in Jacksonville.”
Commercial spaceports can be used for suborbital space tourism, travel and cargo operations and other commercial launch activities. The best known player in the commercial space industry is Virgin Galactic, Sir Richard Branson’s company. Virgin Galactic is based at New Mexico’s Spaceport America. Another player in the industry is Oklahoma City-based Rocketplane Global Inc. Rocketplane CEO George French, has visited Cecil Field, airport officials said.
For more information: JAA.aero