Monday, Dec. 23, 2013
By Nate Monroe
The Jacksonville Aviation Authority has formally signed its first tenant at Cecil Spaceport.
Generation Orbit Launch Services Inc. of Atlanta is preparing for test launches off Cecil’s runway in 2014 in anticipation of its first commercial flight in 2016. The company specializes in launching “micro” and “nano” satellites from a rocket attached to an airplane that takes off and lands on runways like passenger jets.
The tenant agreement, signed Dec. 18, stipulates that JAA will make available, at a negotiated rate, hangar space and other facilities, office space, launch command-and-control facilities and equipment. Additionally, Generation Orbit will have access to the runway, rocket test areas, coordination with FAA range authorities and air traffic control.
The two-year agreement has an option to renew for three one-year terms.
“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, in a news release.
JAA will match a $1.8-million grant from the Florida Department of Transportation and Space Florida to construct a hangar designed to accommodate commercial launch vehicles at the west Jacksonville airport. Space Florida is responsible for fostering growth in Florida’s space industry.
The final cost of the hangar could be more than $4 million and will be completed by early 2015.
“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,” JAA Executive Director and CEO Steve Grossman said.