September 18, 2012
Two Virginia Companies Reach New Rocket Launching Deal
Lawrence LeBlond for redOrbit.com - Your Universe Online
The Virginia Commercial Space Flight Authority (VCSFA) has reached a deal with Orbital Sciences Corporation (OSC) to govern their working relationship and allocation of assets at the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport (MARS), according to an announcement by Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell.“The Commonwealth's partnership with Orbital will kick off a new era of commercial aerospace activity throughout the Commonwealth,” McDonnell said, regarding the agreement. “As the US space program increases its reliance on the commercial sector, these types of partnerships will not only help keep America competitive in the space industry, but will help create much-needed jobs and economic development.”
The new deal follows an agreement between the two businesses in 2008 to develop and make improvements to MARS´ launch facility in order to accommodate launches of OSC´s Antares rocket. The improvements are expected to be completed this month.
“VCSFA's successful completion of the MARS spaceport development project and the impending commencement of on-pad operations, positions Virginia - with its business-friendly climate, tremendous institutions of higher education and diverse workforce - for continued growth in this vibrant high-tech market,” McDonnell concluded.
The new agreement states that OSC will launch 10 flights from the MARS facility, including eight re-supply missions to the International Space Station (ISS). The state of Virginia will pay to complete additional improvements to support these missions. VCFSA will maintain ownership and operations of all non-Antares-specific assets that can be used by future additional customers.
“This new agreement with the VCSFA demonstrates the type of partnership that will be critical to the future success of the commercial aerospace industry in the United States,” said David W. Thompson, OSC´s Chairman and Chief Executive Officer.
“MARS is one of only four commercial facilities licensed in the US to launch rockets into orbit,” said VCSFA Executive Director Dale Nash. “Our partnership with Orbital not only expands our launch capabilities, but demonstrates to the entire space community that Virginia is a leader in the commercial aerospace industry.”