CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla – The private space firm XCOR announced possible plans to establish a base of operations along Florida’s Space Coast. If demand for the company’s Lynx Mark II suborbital reusable launch vehicle is high enough the company is looking at the Sunshine State as a potential location for their operations. Should this happen it could bring new work to highly-skilled workers of Brevard County, many of whom have been severely impacted since the end of the space shuttle era and cancellation of the Constellation Program.
If XCOR does establish a manufacturing and assembly the Kennedy Space Center would serve as more than just a backdrop. The center’s Shuttle Landing Facility (SLF) would be used to launch and land the Lynx Mark II spacecraft fly thereby bringing new life to the runway.
“We look forward to discussing with XCOR Aerospace and other space companies how Kennedy’s unique capabilities may be made available for use,” said Kennedy’s Center Director Bob Cabana. “This is further evidence that the Space Coast is preparing for the next era of space exploration.”
A number of dignitaries and elected officials from the State of Florida along with senior executives from XCOR gathered recently to discuss the potential of a Space Coast facility for the Mojave, Calif. Based company. The officials present included Senator Bill Nelson (D-Fla.), Florida’s Lt. Governor Jennifer Carroll and XCOR’s Co-Founder and President Jeff Greason.
“The next era in space exploration is under way, and the Space Coast of Florida is ground zero in the Obama administration’s effort to launch Americans from U.S. soil and create good jobs that support an economy built to last,” said NASA Chief of Staff David Radzanowski. “The region continues to be a key strategic location for companies, like XCOR, who want to build on our nation’s great legacy of innovation and entrepreneurship.”
If XCOR decides to open a base of operations at the SLF it would serve to increase the number of NewSpace firms that have invested in the region. If this occurs the company will conduct assembly and factory tests of the Lynx Mark II. This new facility could see as many as 150 new jobs created in the area by late 2018.
“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 near future, with several scheduled flights a day,” said XCOR’s Chief Executive Officer Andrew Nelson.
Besides the SLF, NASA has already opened the Orbiter Processing Facility-3 (OPF-3) to The Boeing Company and is looking to open Kennedy Space Center’s remaining two OPFs to private organizations as well.