Cecil Spaceport One Step Closer to Space with Test Launch

Jacksonville is home to Cecil Spaceport, the only spaceport approved for horizontal launch on the East Coast. Today, the spaceport was the site of the first-of-its-kind functional liquid rocket prototype engine test for the GOLauncher1 (GO1) hypersonic flight test booster as reported by Jacksonville Business Journal. The rocket was designed by Atlanta-based Generation Orbit Launch Services, Inc.

The GO1 single-stage liquid rocket was developed to be an affordable and flexible hypersonic testbed to flight test a wide range of hypersonic vehicle technologies. Tests for the GO1 and Ursa Major Technologies’ “Hadley” liquid rocket engine, which was also tested at Cecil, performed as expected.

Cecil Spaceport Director Todd Lindner called the tests “a milestone for Cecil Spaceport and demonstrates the validity and capabilities of the Cecil facilities and Generation Orbit.”

GO CEO AJ Piplica agreed by saying, “completing this campaign at Cecil Spaceport also demonstrates the readiness of the facility to support near-term launch operations.”

The first flight of GO1 is planned for late 2019. Cecil Spaceport is planning its first commercial flight launch with a satellite payload from later this year or in early 2019.

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Jacksonville International Airport Continues to Make Headlines

Over the first five months of 2018, Jacksonville International Airport (JIA) has been in the news. Earlier this year, JIA announced its accolade of being ranked North America’s #1 airport for customer service according to customer surveys conducted by Airports Council International for the second year in a row; followed by news of two new nonstop flights on Allegiant to previously unrepresented cities of Louisville, Ky. and Norfolk, Va.; and the most recent announcement of six new destinations to be served by Frontier Airlines according to Jacksonville Business Journal five of which are new destinations for JIA.

Ultra-low-cost carriers (ULCCs) are not the only airlines expanding at JIA. Southwest recently invested in a new route to Fort Lauderdale and United service to Denver began in April. The airlift schedule for June represents a substantial increase in service over 2017 with a 17.3 percent YOY growth in flights and 15.8 percent in seats. This is good news for the JAX region, its residents and businesses.

Once today’s announced flights begin service in August, travel to 40 different airports in North America can be reached nonstop to/from Jacksonville. Those cities are:

  • Atlanta
  • Austin
  • Baltimore
  • Boston
  • Buffalo
  • Charlotte
  • Chicago (O’Hare and Midway)
  • Cincinnati
  • Cleveland
  • Columbus
  • Dallas (Dallas-Fort Worth and Dallas Love)
  • Denver
  • Detroit
  • Fort Lauderdale
  • Houston (George Bush Intercontinental and Houston Hobby)
  • Indianapolis
  • Kansas City
  • Las Vegas
  • Louisville
  • Marsh Harbour, Bahamas
  • Miami
  • Milwaukee
  • Minneapolis
  • Nashville
  • New York (JFK and LaGuardia)
  • Newark
  • Norfolk
  • Philadelphia
  • Pittsburgh
  • St. Louis (Lambert and Belleville)
  • Tampa
  • Toronto
  • Trenton
  • Washington, DC (Dulles and Reagan)


‘First Coast Connect’ Connects with Jerry Mallot

Karen Brune Mathis speaks with JAXUSA Partnership President Jerry Mallot on First Coast Connect  to reflect on his 24-year tenure as the leader of economic development in Northeast Florida. In the segment, Jerry talks about highlights in his career, challenges and what sets us apart.

Whether its the biggest deals of Fidelity National Financial, which as Jerry states was the most impactful with community investment, high-wage jobs and stature (950 jobs and $93 million in capital investment) or Amazon with the largest number of jobs at what will be 5,000 jobs for Northeast Florida workers, Jerry credits a smart and manageable growth plan that has kept our economy vibrant, people employed and our tax base thriving.

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JAXUSA Partnership President Jerry Mallot to Retire

Jerry Mallot announced today that he will retire from his roles as President of JAXUSA Partnership and Executive Vice President of JAX Chamber. Mallot’s retirement is effective Sept. 1.

Mallot, 70, joined the Chamber in 1994, recruited to lead a regional economic development organization in Northeast Florida, known at the time as Cornerstone.

“This is truly the best city and region in the country to live and to do business – and that certainly helps when you’re bringing top companies to the region,” Mallot said.

Some of the biggest economic development deals in Mallot’s tenure include recruiting Fidelity National Financial in 2003 to move its headquarters to Jacksonville from California; attracting Deutsche Bank to create 1,000 jobs that have turned into more than 2,000 and luring four different Amazon facilities that will employ more than 5,000 people.

“Our economy is thriving and poised for even more growth because of the work Jerry and his team have done here for the past two decades,” said Jacksonville University President Tim Cost, who serves as chair of JAXUSA Partnership.

“The investment he’s helped attract to our city is remarkable,” said JAX Chamber Chair John Peyton, who served as Jacksonville’s mayor from 2003-11 and worked with Mallot on several high-profile projects. “Jerry is so incredibly skilled at finding ways to get a deal done, it’s been a privilege to work with him over the years.”

A local committee of current and past volunteer leaders of JAX Chamber and JAXUSA Partnership will work with a search firm to vet and interview candidates. Serving on the local committee are:

  • Tim Cost
  • John Peyton, President of GATE Petroleum
  • Daniel Davis, JAX Chamber President and CEO
  • Kelly Madden, Head of Commercial Banking for Florida for Wells Fargo, Past Chair of both JAX Chamber and JAXUSA Partnership
  • Darnell Smith, North Florida Market President for Florida Blue and Past Chair of JAX Chamber

Davis will begin a “Listening Tour” with JAXUSA Partnership investors and regional partners to hear qualities they think are important to the next president.

“You’re not going to be able to really replace a leader like Jerry Mallot – he’s done so much for our community,” Davis said. “We have talented, engaged investors and partners we will lean on as we make this important decision.”

The next JAXUSA President is expected to be hired this summer.

Mallot is regarded as one of the top economic developers in the country and has been named Economic Developer of the Year in both Florida and Kansas, where he worked for 17 years, the last four as president of the Wichita Regional Chamber of Commerce.

He is a past chair of Leadership Jacksonville and Community Connections of Jacksonville.

“It’s amazing to look around at different projects and see how far we’ve come,” Mallot said. “We have so much momentum here and I look forward to seeing it continue.”

JIA Ranked #1 for Customer Service by Airport Association

Flying to or from Jacksonville International Airport? Anxiety and frustration certainly won’t be symptoms of the travel experience as an article in Jacksonville Business Journal highlights its #1 ranking for customer service for the second straight year. The designation, awarded by Airports Council International and voted on by customers at nearly 350 airports, measure check-in, security, ease of directions, food and beverage options and more.

JIA CEO Steve Grossman recognized that each airport employee plays a role in the experience “whether [they are] an airline employee, custodial staff or a restaurant server,” adding that through the insight obtained by customers who fly in and out of JIA provides “a roadmap for future improvements.”

The popularity of the region as a destination for business or pleasure is being recognized by the airlines as well. In the last six months, airlines have announced new and expanded routes between JIA and Chicago O’Hare, Philadelphia, Denver, Cincinnati, Austin and Trenton, NJ.

Q&A: Cecil Spaceport prepares for launch

The sky is the limit in Jacksonville…literally. With the impending launch at Cecil Spaceport, Jacksonville Business Journals Will Robinson interviews Cecil Spaceport Director Todd Lindner on what we can expect.


Cecil Spaceport is readying for its first horizontal launch, that of Atlanta-based Generation Orbit, which is likely to take place between December 2018 and spring 2019.

The spaceport is one of six spaceports in the United States approved for horizontal launches, the only such spaceport on the East Coast. Its first launch will send several football-sized satellites into orbit. Though there have been few horizontal launches in the U.S. so far, Cecil Spaceport Director Todd Lindner says that is likely to change in the next year.

The Business Journal caught up with Lindner to discuss the spaceport’s preparations for its first launch, its market differentiation and more.

How often are there horizontal launches in the U.S.?

Horizontal launches, ones that are commercially viable and make revenue, have only been done by Orbital ATK. But there has been a lot of testing and some mock launches. You’ll probably see big changes in the next year… My perspective [of why that’s changing] is that it has a lot to do with the FAA, operators and spaceports getting together and understanding each other’s wants and needs.

Will this Generation Orbit launch open the door to more launches out of Cecil Spaceport?

I absolutely believe that. A lot of launches are out west. There are are a lot in the the Mojave Desert where they can have failures and not worry about it hurting anybody…

None of those locations [in Texas, Oklahoma, New Mexico and Nevada] provide access to the amenities available at Cecil. We have the beach, a great city. Our legislators are familiar with the space industry. We have access to all the expertise down in Cape Canaveral.

What is the competitive landscape like for commercial horizontal launchers?

There’s Virgin Galactic, Virgin Orbit, Generation Orbit, Orbital ATK. I don’t know what their [Orbital ATK’s] future looks like because they just got bought by Northrop Grumman…

In the airline industry, companies like Boeing and Airbus make the planes, but the carriers operate them. There’s not that dynamic with horizontal launches. The companies that make them also operate them. Is that going to change? That’s one of the unknowns.

What upgrades will happen at Cecil Spaceport in the near future?

We’re in the process of constructing a new hangar facility. That process will probably be ongoing for the next three to four months. Assuming we have the funding, we are going to start work on a payload preparation facility. We’re designing a new air traffic control tower that will house a mission control facility.

Do you have any goals for the number of launches in the future?

Our goals are not so much around the number of launches. It’s more about being a high-level economic driver for Jacksonville… Our focus for now is providing a facility that is safe and the community can be proud of.