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Jacksonville’s Cecil Spaceport A Step Closer To Its First Launch

Generation Orbit

Generation Orbit Launch Services, operating out Jacksonville’s Cecil Spaceport, has announced the completion of a liquid rocket engine test, a necessary step toward its hopeful first launch next year.

The Jacksonville Aviation Authority got the license about a decade ago to operate a horizontal launch space port at the Cecil Airport and it has an agreement with Generation Orbit.

Aviation Authority CEO Steve Grossman said Generation Orbit has been conducting tests over the last few months to make sure all the components within the rocket function properly, without actually firing it, until now when it recently completed a “hot test.”

“Which is actually firing the rocket to ensure that it works properly,” Grossman said.

He said next Generation Orbit will take the results of the test and do fine tuning.

What’s being tested in Jacksonville is different than the vertical launches most are used to seeing, like at Cape Canaveral. He said those are for heavy payloads. Horizon launches involve a jet mounted with a rocket. They’re for smaller loads and can be launched more frequently, Grossman said.

“So with Generation Orbit, their rocket will be used to test materials, carry science experiments, etc. at hypersonic speeds,” he said.

According to Grossman, if Cecil can manage a launch next year, it could be the first commercial operating horizontal launch spaceport in the country.

Lindsey Kilbride can be reached at, 904-358-6359 or on Twitter at @lindskilbride.

Lindsey Kilbride was WJCT's special projects producer until Aug. 28, 2020. She reported, hosted and produced podcasts like Odd Ball, for which she was honored with a statewide award from the Associated Press, as well as What It's Like. She also produced VOIDCAST, hosted by Void magazine's Matt Shaw, and the ADAPT podcast, hosted by WJCT's Brendan Rivers.