CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (July 9, 2010) – The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has approved a Launch Site Operator’s License for Space Florida to facilitate commercial launches from Space Launch Complex 46 (SLC-46). The license went into affect July 1, 2010.

With the FAA License now approved, Space Florida may actively pursue commercial customers for launch commitments at SLC-46. Full Complex readiness is anticipated within 12 months of a formal customer commitment.

“This is great news for Florida,” stated Florida Lt. Governor Jeff Kottkamp. “Commercial customers now have an additional option for launch from our Nation’s premier spaceport. This announcement just reinforces the fact that our state is rapidly facing the emerging space market and is ready for business.”

“We are very pleased with the speed at which this license was approved,” added Space Florida VP of Spaceport Operations Mark Bontrager. “Having a positive working partnership with the FAA – as well as the US Air Force and Navy – made this possible. We look forward to readying the site for launch.”

Earlier this year, Lockheed Martin and ATK announced their intention to return the Athena launch vehicle to the marketplace. Promotional materials put out by both companies list Florida as one of four potential launch sites. Space Florida is also in discussions with additional customers that are showing interest in utilizing SLC-46.

In May, Space Florida received Department of Defense (DoD) approval on the Explosive Site Plan for the complex. Additionally, in February, Space Florida received the Real Property License for SLC-46 from the U.S. Air Force. At that time, a Joint Use Agreement was also signed by the Navy, which shares utilization of the property for occasional testing exercises.

To date, corrosion control has been conducted on the Mobile Service Tower at SLC-46. A timeline for additional Launch Complex infrastructure build-out will be determined once a customer commitment is received.

The last active use of SLC-46 was in 1999 when RocSat 1 was launched on an Athena I rocket.

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About Space Florida: Space Florida was created to strengthen Florida’s position as the global leader in aerospace research, investment, exploration and commerce. As Florida’s aerospace development organization, we are committed to attracting and expanding the next generation of space industry businesses. With its highly trained workforce, proven infrastructure and unparalleled record of achievement, Florida is the ideal location for aerospace businesses to thrive – and Space Florida is the perfect partner to help them succeed.