On the heels of the successful SpaceX launch last week, Jacksonville’s Cecil Spaceport is planning its own commercial flights.
A launch with a satellite payload from Cecil is expected later this year or in early 2019.
It was an amazing sight to behold as SpaceX founder Elon Musk’s Rocket Heavy SpaceX test flight perfectly launched off a pad at Cape Canaveral. Once in space, Musk’s cherry red Tesla Roaster - built by another of Musk's company's - was deployed.
Now, the next step in commercial space flight is set for Jacksonville’s Westside at Cecil Spaceport as officials there are planning a commercial launch for late 2018 or early 2019.
Spaceport director Todd Lindner said on First Coast Connect Tuesday that when the launch takes place, the flight’s payload will likely be a government satellite.
“One of the markets we are targeting is space tourism, human space flight. It is rather lucrative but expensive to do that. But for those of us who have lived our entire lives wanting to fly in space, this is going to be the opportunity to do that.”
See Also: Cecil Spaceport Master Plan (this is a large 625 page .pdf file)
Lindner said the Cecil Spaceport is working with the private firm Generation Orbit on the launch.
Back in 2010 the Federal Aviation Administration approved Jacksonville’s Cecil Field as a spaceport.
It’s the only licensed horizontal launch spaceport on the East Coast. In horizontal flights, small rockets are attached to jets and then launched from over the ocean.
CLARIFICATION: The original version of this story mentioned talks with Virgin Galactic in regards to Cecil Spaceport. A Spaceport spokesperson reached out to WJCT News on Feb. 20 to clarify that Virgin Galactic is not part of the Cecil Spaceport project. The original interview in which Virgin Galactic was mentioned can be heard here: