Construction is underway on a big project at Cecil Airport that will change the landscape of the facility quite a bit.
The Jacksonville Aviation Authority says the plan is to have a new air traffic control tower and the spaceport operations center up and running by 2021.
“It’s a long time coming,” says Rusty Chandler, chief of industrial and general aviation airports for JAA. “We started planning it in 2007.”
He says that planning process involved schematic designs and an environmental assessment among other things. The total price tag for the new tower is $8.9 million, funded by JAA with matching funds from the Florida Department of Transportation and Space Florida.
The first step of the construction process has started. The contractor, Walbridge Southeast LLC, has begun digging for utilities where the base of the tower will be.
Chandler says the construction schedule calls for 500 days of work from the point they broke ground a couple weeks ago, but it’s much more than a normal construction project.
“Approximately half that time is for construction,” he says. “Construction is the easy part.”
The hard part is moving everything from the existing tower to the new tower where they’ll blend the airport systems with the systems from the Federal Aviation Administration, Chandler says.
“That takes a long time, to have that transition and that coordination to move that over,” Chandler says.
That takes time, but then on top of all the traditional air traffic control equipment, they’ll have to take time to set up the spaceport as well.
The spaceport operation center and mission control will house telemetry and weather monitoring equipment to support Cecil Spaceport, which is the first FAA-licensed horizontal-launch commercial spaceport on the East Coast.
“It’s a scaled-down version of what people see on TV, with NASA or mission control,” Chandler says.
He says the spacecrafts take off horizontally like traditional aircraft instead of vertically like many in the past.
The current air traffic control tower will be demolished when the new one becomes operational, according to JAA. The new one will have unimpeded views of the entire 6,000-acre property, including the new fire station.
Quelle: NEWS WOKV