Who is Virginia Space?
As the Digital Age continues to demand increased accessibility and reliability of information and data from space-based technologies, both the federal government and private industry are expected to match this demand with continued and unprecedented commercial space investments over the coming years. This will create a growing demand for multi-purpose launch facilities that can support diverse missions and customers. The Virginia Commercial Space Flight Authority (Virginia Space) is prepared to seize this opportunity to further establish the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport (MARS) as the premier launch facility for small- and mid-class rocket systems and grow its reputation as an innovative, multi-purpose facility with capabilities to support national security missions and civil and commercial activities.
Virginia Space, a political subdivision of the Commonwealth of Virginia, owns and operates MARS. This spaceport includes three launch pads, an Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) Airfield, a Payload Processing Facility (PPF), and an Integration and Control Facility (ICF). These facilities are located on the Eastern Shore of Virginia at Wallops Island. Virginia Space is a tenant organization on the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Wallops Flight Facility (WFF). Virginia Space reports to and is governed by its Board of Directors (the Board).
The General Assembly of the Commonwealth of Virginia created the Virginia Commercial Space Flight Authority in 1995 to:
- Develop and enhance infrastructure that facilitates timely, efficient, safe, and low-cost access to space
- Provide education and research in aerospace technologies and processes
- Preserve, as a national asset, the expertise and capability for launch operations resident at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Wallops Flight Facility (WFF)
- Stimulate aerospace-related economic activity in the region
To fulfill these objectives, Virginia Space owns and operates the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport (MARS).
As an authority of the Commonwealth of Virginia and enjoying strong support from Virginia General Assembly members, Virginia Space provides economic and operational benefits to MARS customers and stakeholders. Development benefits, legislation, and trade zones established to encourage commercial space business in Virginia include the following:
- "ZeroGravity, ZeroTax" that provides state income tax incentives to locate and headquarter space flight launch and training business operations in Virginia
- Spaceflight Liability and Immunity Law, where the space flight entity is not liable for a participant injury, resulting from the risks of space flight activities in Virginia
- Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) relief to the customer, when doing business with Virginia Space
- Enterprise and Foreign Trade Zones established on the Eastern Shore of Virginia
Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport (MARS)
MARS is one of only five spaceports in the U.S. licensed by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Office of Commercial Space Transportation for vertical launches to orbital trajectories and one of only three East Coast orbital launch sites with launch trajectories to achieve orbital inclinations between approximately 38° and 60°.
2017 General Assembly Legislation for the Space Flight Authority states the Authority shall be governed by a board of directors consisting of nine members, two of whom shall be the Secretary of Transportation and the Director of the Virginia Department of Aviation or their respective designees. The remaining seven members shall be appointed by the Governor and shall have experience in at least one of the following fields: (i) the aerospace industry, (ii) the financial industry, (iii) the marketing industry, (iv) scientific and technological research and development; or (v) higher education.
Launch with Virginia Space
We're ready and equipped to handle a variety of launch services to ensure mission success for you and your team.