FAA Awards Space Transport Grants for Spaceport America, Mojave, Cecil Field and Alaska

Cecil Field in Jacksonville, recently designated a commercial spaceport.


The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) announced a new grant program designed to fund projects that develop and expand commercial space transportation infrastructure.  The Space Transportation Infrastructure Matching Grants will be awarded to four separate projects located in Alaska, California, Florida, and New Mexico.


Rocketplane Global Expects to Begin Suborbital Space Tourist Flights in 2013

Rocketplane Global Vice President Chuck Lauer said today that the company expects to begin flying space tourists on suborbital rides out of Cecil Field in Jacksonville by 2013. Rocketplane has signed a letter of intent with the Jacksonville Aviation Authority to become the first commercial space operator to use the former Naval air base turned spaceport, Lauer told attendees at Space Access ’10 in Phoenix.

Lauer  said that that Rocketplane would fund development of its six-person space plane as part of a $300 million project that would also create a Spaceport Visitor’s Center at the Jacksonville site. The center would include full motion 3D/HD suborbital flight simulators that would allow visitors to experience a 4-minute version of the 45-minute spaceflight that well-heeled passengers will fly aboard Rocketplane’s suborbital vehicle.


FAA Approves Cecil Field for Space Tourism

cecilfield_imgFAA approves Cecil for commercial spaceport
Jacksonville Journal

The Federal Aviation Administration has approved Cecil Field to be used as a commercial spaceport, and the field’s license is pending, Jacksonville International Airport spokesman Michael Stewart said Wednesday.

He showed photos for two vehicles that could take off from the runway and rocket to the edge of earth’s atmosphere – high enough for passengers to see the curvature of the Earth and experience weightlessness. One design was based on a private jet; the other, still in development, would glide back to Earth, he said.

Read the full story.

Editor’s Note: Jacksonville officials have been courting Rocketplane Global, although that company’s vehicle remains largely in the computer with more than $100 million required to get to a test flight. Rocketplane laid off most of its staff earlier this year and moved out of its headquarters in Oklahoma due to financial difficulties.

I’m not sure of the identity of the other company mentioned in the story. Anyone know?

Jacksonville Makes Progress Toward Space Tourism Flights


JAA Looking Toward Space
Financial News and Daily Record

By the end of the year, the Aviation Authority expects to get word from the Federal Aviation Administration that it’s time to look beyond the boundaries of gravity. The FAA is currently in the final stages of reviewing the JAA’s application for Cecil Field to become a Certified Space Port.

“We are not there, but we are close,” said Michael Stewart, director of external affairs for JAA.


Residents on Cecil Field Spaceport: We’re Jiggy With It


JAA said Thursday’s meeting was another step in the process of bringing commercial space flights to Cecil Field. Officials were able to get input from the public, much of which was opposed plans to bring the Navy back to Cecil Field a few years ago.

However, residents who live nearby showed up at the meeting with a different perspective on Cecil Field becoming a spaceport.


Cecil Field Space Tourism Plan Advances

FAA Assesses Proposed Cecil Field Spaceport

The Jacksonville Aviation Authority’s dream of landing a commercial spaceport to accommodate reusable launch vehicles at Cecil Field moved one step closer to reality this week with the release of a Federal Aviation Administration released of a report finding no significant environmental impacts.


Jacksonville Moves Ahead with Space Tourism Plans

The Jacksonville Airport Authority is moving ahead with plans to designate Cecil Field as a spaceport to host suborbital flights. JAA expects to received approval for the move from the Federal Aviation Administration by February 2009, the Jacksonville Business Journal reports.

“Although the final application was turned in Aug. 15, interim drafts have already been approved. Once the operators receive FAA approval to fly out of Cecil, the first launch could be as early as spring 2010,” the journal reports.

Cecil Field is a civilian-military airport that sits on the location of a Naval Air Station that was closed in 1999. The airfield features:

  • Four runways: one at 12,500 feet and three at 8,000 feet
  • 537,000 square yards of apron
  • Eight hangars
  • 175 major buildings totaling 2.9 million square feet.
  • Over 425,000 square feet of warehouse, industrial and general-use space
  • 225,000 square feet of general office and support facilities

The airport hosts the Florida Army National Guard and the U.S. Coast Guard’s Helicopter Interdiction Tactical Squadron (HITRON). Boeing, Northrop Grumman and other major aerospace companies are located at the facility, where they provide maintenance and overhaul services for U.S. military aircraft.