JACKSONVILLE, Fla.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--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.
GO plans to develop a suborbital space launch platform to conduct microgravity and hypersonic research (GOLauncher 1) and later, a dedicated orbital launch platform for nano and micro satellites (GOLauncher 2). Test flights are expected to begin at Cecil as early as 2014, with operational launches forecast to begin in 2015 and 2016.
“This is a major development for JAA and Cecil Spaceport, but also for the commercial space industry as a whole,” said Todd Lindner, JAA’s senior manager of aviation planning and spaceport development. “Generation Orbit’s GOLauncher program and others like it prove that the commercial space business is viable and growing. And this agreement demonstrates that Cecil Spaceport is an ideal location for such horizontal launch endeavors.”
As part of the memorandum of understanding signed on December 18, 2013, JAA will make available to GO at a mutually negotiated rate, hangar space and payload integration facilities, rocket storage facilities, office space for GO crew and staff, range equipment and launch command and control facilities and equipment. Additionally, GO will have access to runway facilities, rocket test areas, coordination with FAA range authorities and air traffic control.
The agreement between JAA and GO is for an initial period of two years, with the option to renew for three, one-year terms.
“Cecil Spaceport is a great match for our company’s need for a horizontal launch facility,” said Generation Orbit’s CEO Dr. John Olds. “GOLauncher is a dedicated nanosatellite launch vehicle that uses a Gulfstream business jet as the carrier aircraft. Our system’s small size makes Cecil an excellent choice for our concept of operations. The staff at Cecil and at the Jacksonville Aviation Authority have been a pleasure to work with during these negotiations, and we will be proud to have our company’s first launch operations conducted there.”
Matching a $1.8 million grant from the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT), Space Florida and FAA received earlier this year, JAA intends to make additional investments to support space launch systems like GO in the next two years.
“The JAA spaceport team has worked tirelessly to position Cecil as a leading site for the commercial space industry and we’re very proud of the result and the partnership with Generation Orbit,” said JAA Executive Director and CEO Steve Grossman. “We wholeheartedly believe that this new and growing industry will attract related businesses to Northeast Florida, which makes working with Space Florida even more important as we showcase all that this area has to offer.”
For more information about JAA, visit www.flyjacksonville.com.
About Generation Orbit Launch Services, Inc.: Generation Orbit serves micro and nano satellite developers struggling to find dedicated and cost-effective space access by offering fast, flexible and dedicated primary launch manifesting through GOLauncher, an air-launched space transportation system specifically designed for small payloads. For more information, please visit: www.generationorbit.com
The Jacksonville Aviation Authority operates Jacksonville International Airport (JAX) and the city's three general aviation airports - Cecil Airport, Jacksonville Executive at Craig Airport (JAXEX) and Herlong Recreational Airport. The Authority, funded through user fees and not local taxes, generates over $2.9 billion annually to the local economy. For more information about the Jacksonville Aviation Authority's airports, please visit www.flyjacksonville.com.