Cecil Spaceport Receives $1.8 Million Grant for Upgrades

Cecil Airport

The Jacksonville Aviation Authority has received an $1.8 million matching grant from Space Florida to fund the design and construction of a space operations center, payload preparation facility and rocket motor test facility at Cecil Spaceport, the Jacksonville Daily Record reports.

Space Florida, which is the state’s space promotional agency, approved the funding at a board meeting in June.

Cecil Airport is a public joint civil-military airport and spaceport. It was a naval air station from 1941 until 1999.

  • Lee

    I’m still trying to figure out how Cecil Field can legitimately be considered a “spaceport”. It is inland of Jacksonville. Any conceivable launch azimuth is over populated areas, in many cases, *densely* populated areas. I also wouldn’t think it would be considered a “spaceport” just because they make and test rockets there. By that logic, a company that makes boats in the middle of Kansas, but nowhere near water, could claim to be a “port” or “marina”. Anybody know why Cecil is licensed as a “spaceport”? Do they really intend to launch stuff from there one day?

  • Emmet Ford

    “As the only licensed horizontal launch commercial spaceport on the East Coast, Cecil Spaceport is the premier location for your business to lift off.”

    http://www.flyjacksonville.com/content2015.aspx?id=406

  • Lee

    Yeah, I’d already read all that. Still doesn’t make a lot of sense. And what the heck is “horizontal launch” anyway? If they’re talking about a spacecraft that launches like an airplane from a runway, good luck with that.

    And how can they possibly have any launch corridors from Cecil which don’t go over populated areas?

    Now I could see operating something like Orbital’s L-1011/Pegasus or (maybe) Stratolaunch from the runways, but by that logic, every major airport is potentially a “spaceport”.

  • 76 er

    The city of Jacksonville’s civic leaders have handed the $2 million ball off to their marketing and PR folks at the new Spaceport whom are now charging down the field with all they’ve got. Reminds me of the time when Midland Airport in Texas sent out PR notices that (the now defunct) XCor Aerospace was going to set up their HQ there.

  • Emmet Ford

    If they’re talking about a spacecraft that launches like an airplane from a runway, good luck with that.

    Certainly, that is what they are talking about, and that is what anyone is talking about when they use the phrase “horizontal launch”.

    but by that logic, every major airport is potentially a “spaceport”.

    Any airport with a long enough runway and an acquiescent local population. Jacksonville is a military town. JFK might be a harder sell.

  • ThomasLMatula

    The Pegasus is exactly the type of horizontal launch they are referring to. It’s the same as Mojave Air and Spaceport. You take the spacecraft up on a plane, launch it, and it either goes to orbit or glides back to the spaceport. Spaceshiptwo could easily operate from Cecil Spaceport. Houston Spaceport and the proposed Colorado Spaceport serve a similar market.

  • Generation Orbit has a MOU with Cecil and recently announced tests for their GO1 launched from under a Gulfstream.
    “Currently in development, the GOLauncher 1 will serve the hypersonic flight test and suborbital research communities with an affordable air-launched single-stage booster. The GOLauncher 1’s liquid propulsion system maximizes performance and mission flexibility compared to traditional solid booster solutions.”
    Lots of forward thinking and pretty graphics at GO. They’re years behind Virgin Galactic.