With the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex as a backdrop, XCOR Aerospace has announced its intentions to establish an operational base for the Lynx spacecraft in Florida. As market demand dictates, XCOR may also establish a manufacturing and assembly center for the Lynx Mark II.
XCOR plans to fly the Lynx suborbital spacecraft from Kennedy Space Center’s Shuttle Landing Facility, the Cecil Field Spaceport, or other Florida location within the next two years. If the market for Lynx spacecraft grows as XCOR expects, the company will also begin assembly and factory test of Lynx production models, designed Lynx Mark II, on the Florida Space Coast, starting with Tail Number 3. Lynx production and operations could create more than 150 jobs by late 2018.
“As chair of Space Florida, this is the type of investment the Space Florida Board has been working on to attract high-tech, high-wage jobs to Florida,” said Florida Lieutenant Governor Jennifer Carroll. “We are very pleased to welcome XCOR to Florida as a prime example of how utilizing Florida’s existing infrastructure and leveraging our talented workforce capabilities can attract new and growing business to our state.”
Space Florida president Frank DiBello said, “The suborbital marketplace has significant potential and will serve as a key contributor to Florida’s growth in the coming years. We are pleased to be working with XCOR on their operations and manufacturing capabilities here and look forward to watching their Florida-based operations grow.”
XCOR chief executive officer Jeff Greason said, “Looking over the KSC Visitor Complex grounds and seeing the history of U.S. human spaceflight and realizing that soon XCOR will be a part of the fabric of the Space Coast is very exciting to me personally and our company. When we started the company back in 1999, we could only have dreamt about the possibility of flying the person on the street or the citizen scientist to space from such an important place.”
Plans call for XCOR to begin initial operations from a Florida location in 2014 with the Lynx Mark I prototype.
XCOR chief operating officer Andrew Nelson noted, “The Space Coast has seen a slow wind down of legacy space operations in the past few years, but the new commercial space industry will return high paying aerospace jobs and human spaceflight back to Florida in the very near future, with several scheduled flights a day. We foresee significant positive impacts on the creation of technology clusters and educational opportunities for K-12 and college students.”