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

Jun 29, 2018

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 lkilbride@wjct.org, 904-358-6359 or on Twitter at @lindskilbride.