Suborbital spaceflight company Xcor has announced a manufacturing and operations facility in Florida for the Lynx Mk II, the second iteration of the company's suborbital vehicle.
The company hopes to begin Florida operations on 2014 as part of the transition from testing to revenue flights.
"Looking over the [Kennedy Space Center] Visitor Complex grounds and seeing the history of US 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," says Jeff Greason, XCOR CEO. "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."
While the exact location is unspecified, likely sites for both manufacturing and test flights are NASA's Kennedy Space Center (KSC) on Merritt Island, or Cecil Field, an FAA-certified spaceport in Jacksonville.
While KSC boasts long experience with human spaceflight - the announcement was made at KSC with NASA personnel present -- operations at Cecil Field would allow Xcor to avoid the burdens that come with flying from government facilities. Xcor's business model includes up to four flights per spacecraft, per day.
The Lynx Mk I, which Xcor is building with a 2013 first flight scheduled, will move to Florida in 2014 for "demonstration and pathfinder" flights, while the significantly more capable Mk II will be constructed and flown in Florida, as will other Xcor products "should market demand materialize and the emerging commercial space industry maintain its current momentum", says the company.
Xcor was founded in Mojave, California, but is currently moving headquarters to Midland, Texas.