Cecil Commerce Center Gets Funding for Spaceport Study


The First Coast has taken another small step toward making a giant leap into space.

The Jacksonville Aviation Authority has announced a grant of nearly $105,000 to develop a master plan for a commercial spaceport at Cecil Commerce Center.

Plans have been in the works since 2005 to use the 12,000-foot runway at the former Navy base for a yet-to-be-developed space plane.

In 2007, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) gave its consent to consider Cecil for the spaceport, but the process has not gone quickly. Early this year, the FAA signed off on Cecil as a spaceport.

The new FAA grant will cover about half of the cost of the study needed for developing the plan.

If everything proceeds, customers -- regular citizens with money to burn -- can fly into space from Cecil for about $200,000 for a sub-orbital trip out of the atmosphere.

The long runway already has a connection to space travel. It has been a backup landing site for the space shuttle for years, but has never been called upon.

First Coast News