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Welcome to Virginia Space and the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport (MARS)
The Virginia Commercial Space Flight Authority (VCSFA), also known as ‘Virginia Space,' is a political subdivision of the Commonwealth of Virginia. Virginia Space owns and operates the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport (MARS) and the MARS UMS Airfield.
Virginia Space aims to provide and is proud to offer full-service launch and drone testing facilities for commercial, government, scientific and academic users.
The mission of Virginia Space is to serve as a driver for Virginia's New Economy by providing safe, reliable, and responsive space Access at competitive prices, and secure facilities for testing of unmanned vehicles for integration into the National Air Space.
Virginia’s Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport Successfully Launches NG-17 Resupply Mission to International Space Station
GOVERNOR GLENN YOUNGKIN RELEASED THE FOLLOWING STATEMENT FOLLOWING THE SUCCESSFUL ANTARES LAUNCH
RICHMOND, VA – The Virginia Commercial Space Flight Authority (VA Space), NASA Wallops Flight Facility (WFF), and Northrop Grumman celebrate the successful launch of the 17th cargo resupply mission to the International Space Station (ISS). The mission launched today from the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport (MARS) Pad 0A on the Eastern Shore of Virginia. It will deliver more than 8,300 pounds of cargo to the ISS including critical materials to support dozens of science and research investigations that will occur during Expedition 66, the current long-duration ISS mission.
Northrop Grumman named the Cygnus spacecraft for this mission the S.S. Piers Sellers, in honor of Astronaut Piers Sellers (1955–2016). Sellers began his career at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in 1982. After 14 years as a NASA scientist, he joined NASA’s astronaut corps in 1996. In total, over three missions to the ISS, Sellers logged 35 days, 9 hours and 2 minutes in space, including more than 41 hours on six spacewalks. He retired as an astronaut in 2011 and returned to Goddard as the deputy director of the science and exploration directorate.
“The successful collaboration of Virginia Space, NASA, and Northrop Grumman at the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport fills me with optimism for the future of Virginia’s aerospace industry. The Commonwealth is committed to the continued support of commercial aerospace development as well as the limitless educational and scientific applications this new and exciting industry has in store,” said Governor Youngkin. “And with this critical mission, we remember and honor the life of Piers Sellers, a dedicated scientist and astronaut.”
NASA Astronaut Raja Chari, stationed on the ISS, will capture S.S. Piers Sellers and install the spacecraft on the Unity module’s Earth-facing port.
S.S. Piers Sellers’ payload includes cargo supporting dozens of academic and commercial space station experiments. Highlights of the research facilitated by this mission include:
- The MicroQuin 3D Tumor to examine the effects of a drug on breast and prostate cancer cells. In microgravity, the cells can grow in a three-dimensional model, making it easier to characterize their structure, gene expression, and cell signaling and response to therapeutics.
- A new SoFIE (Solid Fuel Ignition and Extinction) combustion facility which investigates different elements to material flammability, a catastrophic hazard for manned spacecraft.
- A Colgate-Palmolive study that will leverage the acceleration of skin aging in microgravity to help create and validate an engineered tissue model to serve as a platform for testing potential products to protect aging skin.
- A demonstration of the Space AS-Lib, a lithium-ion secondary battery capable of safe, stable operation under extreme temperatures.
- The XROOTS system to test hydroponic and aeroponic techniques for plant growth and allow scientists to observe root growth.
“The Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport is the nation’s premier example of state, federal, and private collaboration,” said Secretary of Transportation Sheppard Miller. “General Mercer and his team at Virginia Space have done a tremendous job managing not only the launch pads, but the Uncrewed Aerial Systems Airfield, the Payload Processing Facility, and the Integration Control Facility at Wallops. Virginia Space was created in 1995 to promote industrial and economic development through the development and promotion of the commercial and government aerospace industry. I look forward to working with Virginia Space, NASA Wallops, NASA Langley and their countless commercial partners to grow this vital Virginia asset. Virginia is indeed open for business and we intend to work collaboratively to raise the profile and increase the competitiveness of the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport.”
"This is the first launch this year from the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport to the ISS, and we are looking forward to NG-18 later this summer,” said Virginia Space CEO and Executive Director Ted Mercer. “We are pleased with the consistent and rapid turnaround from rollout to launch of the Antares rocket. Virginia Space, NASA Wallops, and Northrop Grumman continue to strengthen our excellent partnership that benefits NASA’s Space Flight Program as well as the nation’s overall space interests.”
On December 31, 2021 NASA announced the President’s commitment to extend ISS operations through 2030, and to work with international partners to enable continued cutting-edge research at this unique orbiting laboratory through the end of the decade. This research will enable human and robotic exploration of destinations beyond low-Earth orbit. The station also facilitates the growth of a robust commercial market within low-Earth orbit for scientific research, technology development, and human and cargo transportation.
Virginia Space owns and operates the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport consisting of three launch pads, the MARS Payload Processing Facility, the MARS Uncrewed Systems Test Range, and the Integration and Control Facility in Wallops Research Park. These facilities are located at NASA Goddard’s Wallops Flight Facility on the Eastern Shore of Virginia. The mission of Virginia Space is “to operate, maintain, and grow a premier spaceport for small- and mid-class rocket systems to support flawless launch to orbit for government, domestic, and international customers, provide state-of-the-art secure facilities for training and testing of unmanned systems and serve as a key driver of the Commonwealth’s economic development.” For more information, visit www.vaspace.org.
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