Tuesday, March 1, 2011

More Commercial Space Coming to Brevard County

The XCOR Lynx suborbital vehicle. Photo Source: XCOR.com.

Florida Today reports that XCOR Aerospace could bring 340 jobs to Brevard County over the next five years to service its Lynx suborbital craft that could launch from Kennedy Space Center's Shuttle landing strip.

The flights would be suborbital, on private spacecraft whose operators say could be ready to launch within a year or two and would fly customers far beyond wealthy thrill seekers.

The nascent suborbital industry also holds potential for microgravity research and testing technologies that will help reduce the cost of space travel, proponents said Monday at a conference at the University of Central Florida.

"I like to think that it's 1979 and the PC is just about to appear in the next year, and we're at one of those early conferences in Silicon Valley," said Alan Stern, associate vice president of the Southwest Research Institute and a former head of NASA science programs. "I think the power of suborbital for transforming spaceflight is something similar."

The article also notes that Virgin Galactic might consider the Space Coast for a second port in addition to its New Mexico facility currently under construction. Virgin announced yesterday they have signed a contract with the Southwest Research Institute to take scientists into suborbital flight from their Spaceport America facility outside Las Cruces.

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