Cecil Airport Plans $4 Million Space Hangar With State Grant

Cecil Field in Jacksonville, recently designated a commercial spaceport.
Cecil Field in Jacksonville.

Cecil Airport in Jacksonville now has a tenant and a large state grant to help develop its spaceport operations:

JAA will match the $1.8 million grant from the Florida Department of Transportation and Space Florida, the state organization 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, according to Todd Lindner, JAA’s senior manager of aviation planning and spaceport development.

Meanwhile, Generation Orbit Launch Services Inc., the spaceport’s first tenant, is preparing for two test launches next year off Cecil’s runway in ahead of its first commercial launch in 2016.

The Atlanta-based company specializes in launching “micro” and “nano” satellites — which in some cases are small enough to hold in your hand — from a rocket attached to an airplane that takes off and lands on runways like passenger jets. That so-called “horizontal” launch method is less expensive than its traditional “vertical” counterpart….

“There are a large number of entities that have wanted access to lower orbit and zero gravity for initiatives like communications,” said Michael Stewart, JAA’s external affairs director. “The great thing about this industry besides the fact that it’s embryonic and it’s still developing right before our eyes is that it’s a proven technology.”

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