Cecil Airport (VQQ) in Jacksonville, Fla., has been officially designated a “Space Territory.”
Officials with the Jacksonville Aviation Authority (JAA) said they have received support from the State of Florida in its efforts to transform Cecil Airport into a 21st century commercial spaceport when Space Florida officially designated Cecil as a “Space Territory” June 9. The Space Territory designation affords a number of opportunities, according officials. The Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) now has legal authority to fund spaceport-related transportation facilities within Cecil to better accommodate horizontal launch space travel, officials explained.
Cecil recently received grant funds from the FAA for the development of a Spaceport Master Plan. Combined with Space Florida’s decision, JAA will now be able to pursue funds to design and construct new roadways, taxiways, and assembly and payload facilities, officials said.
“The JAA’s strategic development of Cecil Airport received a major boost when the Space Florida Board, under the leadership of Lieutenant Governor Jennifer Carroll, approved the resolution designating it as a Space Territory,” said Michael Stewart, JAA’s Director of External Affairs. “This designation places Cecil on the map to be a catalyst for job creation, and positions northeast Florida to carve out a niche in the aerospace industry. We are optimistic about horizontal lift commercial space opportunities at Cecil upon completion of our Spaceport Master Plan later this fall.”
In conjunction with being named a space territory, JAA was also notified by the FDOT that Cecil Spaceport has been approved as a planned Strategic Intermodal System (SIS) facility. SIS facilities are instrumental in linking multiple modes of transportation throughout the state, officials explained. SIS allows the state to fund portions of infrastructure projects which are instrumental in connecting modes of transportation.
“As a space territory, additional funding sources are available for the continued development of Cecil spaceport as a facility for the operation of horizontal-reusable launch vehicles (RLVs),” said Todd Lindner, JAA’s Senior Manager of Aviation Planning and Development. “With space programs developing in places such as the United Arab Emirates, China and India, the use of these RLVs is expected to increase dramatically.”
The design and construction of additional support facilities at Cecil Spaceport will also bring a much needed economic boost to the region in the form of jobs and aerospace businesses, airport officials said, noting the space program at Cecil will be able to support civil, military, and commercial launches and accommodate space tourism.
The Jacksonville Aviation Authority was established in 2001 by the Florida legislature to operate Jacksonville International Airport (JAX) and the city’s three general aviation airports – Jacksonville Executive at Craig Airport (JAXEX), Herlong Recreational Airport and Cecil Airport. For more information: FlyJacksonville.com