California-based XCOR Aerospace will establish its East Coast operations center on Florida's Space Coast, with plans to eventually establish a manufacturing and assembly center for XCOR Lynx Mark II suborbital reusable launch vehicles at Kennedy Space Center.
The aerospace firm said should its full business plan be realized, XCOR will begin assembly and factory testing of Lynx production models on Florida's Space Coast. Creation of about 150 jobs is expected to take place through late 2018.
Plans call for XCOR to begin operations from its Space Coast location in 2014, bringing the Lynx Mark I prototype for demonstration and pathfinder flights. This will be followed by the basing of a Lynx Mark II production vehicle in Florida, and eventually production of Lynx vehicles and other XCOR products.
"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," said 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."
XCOR's 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."
"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 Lt. 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." Information on incentives offered the firm was not immediately available.
"Aerospace is a targeted sector for Florida's economic growth, therefore, XCOR's new base, manufacturing operation and subsequent jobs represent a significant win for our state," said Gray Swoope, president & CEO of Enterprise Florida Inc., the state's lead economic development organization. "This project also is the result of strong and effective teamwork between private and public sector partners on the local to state levels who are committed to helping businesses meet their needs and improving Florida's economy."