Welcome to the Virginia Commercial Space Flight Authority
and Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport

Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport News

Future of Space Travel from Wallops Island Looks Bright - February 28, 2014

Launching rockets from Wallops Island is a big deal in Virginia now. But the possibilities that exist for space travel in the near future could be an even bigger deal.

“We have developed a space port that proves we can launch into space. We launch critical missions to the International Space Station and we’re looking forward to building on that,” says Dale Nash, the Executive Director of the Virginia Commercial Space Flight Authority.

The Virginia Commercial Space Flight Authority at ODU makes some of the big decisions when it comes to space travel from our shores.

And one thing that has been a big topic recently is the possibility of human spaceflight from Wallops Island.

“Any time you have astronauts on, your cargo is extremely precious, and you pay a lot of attention to that. So it`s a different game in many ways. But don`t discount what we`ve done so far because that`s very significant, too. It is the supplies and the lifeline to the astronauts on the International Space Station being launched from here. But that would be a very big deal,” Nash says.

In order to continue the launches, the board is working with NASA and the Army Corps to replenish sand and restore dunes to protect the infrastructure at Wallops Island.

“It’s very beneficial. It was that sand buildup that helped us ride out Superstorm Sandy very well. We didn’t really receive any kind of damage to the launch pad, just some erosion. This is building it back up,” Nash says.

So from the Space Station to the moon, these board members are playing a big role in keeping Wallops Island on the map for space travel.
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Wallops Island: A hub for space flight in Virginia - January 10, 2014

Norfolk, Va. – More and more people are coming to Wallops Island these days to experience space travel up close and personal.

“They played an important part in getting the space program going, and since, they have launched thousands of sounding rockets,” said Zig Leszczynski, deputy executive director of the Virginia Commercial Space Flight Authority (VCSFA). The organization owns and operates launch pads at the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport (MARS) on Wallops Island.

Since the 1940s, NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility has played a big role in space research.

“There’s a culture of innovation, a culture of experimentation and it really gels well with what we’re trying to do,” said Leszczysnski. He says that while the shuttle program is no longer around, interest in space hasn’t gone anywhere. In fact, launches, like the Antares rocket Thursday, is making this area a hub for space flight. The Eastern Shore’s location also gives it an edge over places like Florida.

“It’s very optimal in that geographic location. The incline orbits, when you send a satellite up and they’re going to take pictures or do what they do, services most of the population of the world and so that really is a draw for customers,” said Leszczysnski.

A draw to visitors along the Eastern Shore, too, helping the local economy.

“The people up on the Eastern Shore are wonderful. Chincoteague is a great area, so when folks come out to see the launches, you can also enjoy a kayak trip and some good seafood,” said Leszczysnski.

And now that the space station will stay in orbit until at least 2024, Wallops Island will continue to play an important role, as rockets send cargo there and keep space exploration alive.

“It’s all these people’s dreams you know, wrapped into that rocket, that it’s going to go and complete a mission. There’s just something about that – something about realizing human dream,” said Leszczysnski.

The Virginia General Assembly created the Virginia Commercial Space Flight Authority in 1995.
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