Jun 3, 2014
By Nate Monroe
The Jacksonville Aviation Authority got a boost for Cecil Spaceport in the state’s budget next fiscal year.
JAA will receive $2 million that will help develop basic infrastructure at the nascent west Jacksonville airport, which signed its first tenant in December.
“The state’s support for Cecil and this developing industry is critical,” said Steve Grossman, JAA’s executive director and chief executive officer, in a statement. “If the commercial space industry doesn’t come to Cecil, it will likely not come to Florida for at least another four or five years.”
Generation Orbit Launch Services Inc. of Atlanta is preparing for test launches off Cecil’s runway this year in anticipation of its first commercial flight in 2016. The company specializes in launching “micro” and “nano” satellites from a rocket attached to an airplane that takes off and lands on runways like passenger jets.
Last year, the spaceport received a $1.8 million grant from the Florida Department of Transportation and Space Florida to help build a hangar that will accommodate Generation Orbit. That grant requires JAA to match the $1.8 million.
The $2 million in the state budget does not require a match, said Michael Stewart, JAA’s external affairs director.
“This gives us a good bump,” he said.
Nate Monroe: (904) 359-4289