Jacksonville's Cecil Field Becomes Nation’s 8th Commercial Spaceport
The Navy's former Master Jet Base in Jacksonville, Florida, has received a Launch Site Operators License from the FAA, making it the nation's 8th designated horizontal launch commercial spaceport. As part of receiving a license to operate a spaceport, the JAA and FAA conducted an extensive environmental study and a comprehensive application process.
The Jacksonville Airport Authority has been working for four years on the spaceport designation for Cecil Field. It is the first license for horizontal space operations granted in the state of Florida. Cecil was closed by the Navy during the 1993 BRAC round, and was officially handed back to the City of Jacksonville in 1999.
With a 12,500-foot main runway, the third longest in Florida, Cecil Field (KVQQ) can readily accommodate the horizontal launches specified in the license. "Cecil Field has come a long way in the past ten years. This property which was once a Naval Air Station continues to be reused and redeveloped in innovative ways," said JAA Board Chairman Deborah Pass-Durham. "We're hopeful this commercial spaceport license will help take Cecil Field to the next level in attracting new business, especially within the space industry."
Commercial spaceports can be used for suborbital space tourism, travel and cargo operations and other commercial launch activities. The best-known player in the commercial space industry is Virgin Galactic, Sir Richard Branson's company. Virgin Galactic is based at New Mexico's Spaceport America. Another is Oklahoma City-based Rocketplane Global Inc. That company's CEO, George French, has visited Cecil Field.
"With Cecil Field being named one of only eight licensed commercial spaceports in the country, Jacksonville is breaking into yet another aviation industry with commercial space transport," said JAA Executive Director and CEO Steve Grossman. "Cecil Commerce Center offers Jacksonville and our region an industrial complex unlike any other in the state, and the addition of commercial space transport will greatly contribute to economic development and job growth in Jacksonville."
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