Rocket Crafters planning new spaceport in Titusville

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TITUSVILLE, Fla. - The city of Titusville may soon be home to a new spaceport. The Space Coast Regional Airport recently applied for a special license from the Federal Aviation Administration as part of a deal to lure Rocket Crafters headquarters to Central Florida.

The company's focus is rocket propulsion technology and suborbital flight.

 When Rocket Crafters makes the move from Utah to Titusville, it's planning on making a $72 million investment at the airport, where it plans to build a 400,000-square-foot facility.

Titusville beat out Utah, Texas, Colorado and New Mexico in its effort to lure Rocket Crafters, and now many are hopeful the company will usher in a new era of suborbital spaceflight.

“These are vehicles that take off conventionally from a runway,” said Ronald Jones of Rocket Crafters.

The crafts accelerate to high altitude at high speed and then they transition to rocket-powered flight, he said.

Essentially, it's hybrid technology with part aircraft, part rocket.

Space Coast Regional Airport has already applied for the FAA license for a port authorized for horizontal liftoffs.

And Rocket Crafters believes it can build a suborbital space plane that can make the trip from  Melbourne, Fla., to Melbourne, Australia, in roughly two hours.

 “It's a perfect fit for Titusville. It's a perfect fit for Brevard and the people who've been displaced by the retirement of the space shuttle,” said Robert Whelen of the Space Coast Economic Development Commission.

A qualified workforce and incentive package that includes a break on property taxes and a state target industry tax refund helped the deal, but all incentives are performance based.

Initially, the company plans to hire 150 employees, but it could hire hundreds more if it's successful.

Space Coast Economic Development believes the impact of the company's move to Titusville could be as much as $48 million.