Cape Canaveral Spaceport Shuttle Landing Facility Receives FAA Launch Site Operator License

The Shuttle Landing Facility in Florida. (Credit: NASA)

CAPE CANAVERAL SPACEPORT, Fla., November 08, 2018 (Space Florida PR) – Today, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Office of Commercial Space (AST) issued Space Florida a Launch Site Operator License (LSOL) for operations at the Cape Canaveral Spaceport Shuttle Landing Facility (SLF). This landmark license, which is required by any site with multiple users, expands the capabilities of the Cape to multiple horizontal launch and landing customers.

The license allows the Cape Canaveral Spaceport to support operations of aircraft that carry an air-launched vehicle such as the Northup Grumman Pegasus, Vulcan Systems’ Stratolaunch, Virgin Orbit Launcher One, Virgin Galactic Spaceship 2, potential new national security programs and others.

The issuance of LSOL culminates a multi-year effort as Space Florida and the FAA completed significant policy, safety, and environmental planning and assessment. Submitted in February 2018, the 120+ page Space Florida application was reviewed, assessed and ultimately approved by the FAA for compliance with Federal statute. For the Environmental Assessment, Space Florida and the FAA reviewed over 400 comments from various agencies including NASA, the U.S. Air Force, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the National Park Service.

The Landing Facility license is a key part in transforming the Cape Canaveral Spaceport into the world’s premier spaceport. With “space” as a mode of transportation in Florida, a vital partnership with the Florida Department of Transportation and its Spaceport Improvement Program, enabled this important capacity improvement to the Florida Spaceport System.

“We want to thank our partners for their thoroughness and perseverance in working through the hundreds of land-use and environmental concerns raised through this process,” said Space Florida President and CEO Frank DiBello. “This accomplishment would not have been possible without genuine collaboration to a shared goal.”

“One of the most famous runways in the world is now one step closer to becoming Florida’s next generation commercial spaceport,” said Space Florida Senior Vice President and General Manager Jim Kuzma. “We look forward to the new capabilities and customers that this Launch Site Operator License will draw to the State.”

Space Florida will shortly begin a process to identify a new name for the facility. This branding effort will encompass the future of commercial space, while holding on to traditions and honoring its proud legacy of supporting America’s Shuttle program.

This license gives Florida two horizontal launch and landing facilities as the Cape Canaveral Spaceport joins the Cecil Spaceport in Jacksonville, which was licensed by the FAA in 2010 and is now planning its first launch for Spring 2019. The Space Coast Regional Airport in Titusville is also in the LSOL application process with the FAA for a similar designation in the future.

About Space Florida: Space Florida was created to strengthen Florida’s position as the global leader in aerospace research, investment, exploration and commerce. As Florida’s aerospace and spaceport development authority, we are committed to attracting and expanding the next generation of space industry businesses. With its highly trained workforce, proven infrastructure and unparalleled record of achievement, Florida is the ideal location for aerospace businesses to thrive – and Space Florida is the perfect partner to help them succeed. www.spaceflorida.gov

About Cape Canaveral Spaceport:
The Cape Canaveral Spaceport, at which Space Florida has an operational spaceport authority role, is the premiere transportation hub for global space commerce. Space Florida oversees management and operation of key elements of Florida’s existing space transportation capability including the Shuttle Landing Facility and Launch Complex 46. Those Cape Canaveral Spaceport capabilities are enabled by safe and secure operations across a broad landscape of space activities.

  • Dave Erskine

    One of Stratolaunch’s “Roc” operating sites? Would need hangar, mate-demate system and related infrastructure. The boring stuff. Obviously not always discussed with many of these new “flashy” craft coming on line.

  • Jeff2Space

    That’s great, but who is going to use it for horizontal takeoff for launches? Is this yet another “build it and they will come” strategy?

  • Emmet Ford

    Already built. A paperwork exercise. It certainly is true that we currently have a proliferation of “spaceports” and a dearth of users, but only Spaceport America (the ur-spaceport?) involved actually building a runway.

  • duheagle

    Roc ops? That seems almost a foregone conclusion.

    I think Dream Chaser landing ops will also occur at this facility.

    It would be interesting to know where Vulcan Aerospace intends to build its rocket factory. Given that Roc can ferry its own rockets, empty, from wherever they’re built to wherever they’re to be launched, Vulcan has flexibility as to factory siting. But I’m sure Space Florida would be happy to help if the decision was to build a plant near this ex-Shuttle runway.

  • windbourne

    2 come quickly to mind.

    stratolaunch.
    Virgin Galaxy.

    however, this is also renewing for landing,
    so add dream chaser.

  • duheagle

    Virgin Galactic, if it ever gets operational, has a prior commitment at Spaceport America. Virgin Orbit, on the other hand, might find this ex-Shuttle facility useful.