©Swiss Space Systems
SOAR spaceplane and Airbus 330.
Swiss Space Systems (S3) and Space Florida signed a memorandum of understanding today for S3 to use the Kennedy Space Center (KSC) Shuttle Landing Facility (SLF) for future zero gravity flights and small satellite launches. In so doing S3 has created a new subsidiary in the U.S., S3 USA Operations Inc.
Frank DiBello, CEO and President of Space Florida stated, "We are pleased to welcome Swiss Space Systems to Florida. We believe strongly in the enormous potential of the markets they are pursuing including small satellites and suborbital operations. We look forward to working with S3 to enable their growth and expansion in our state."
S3 is a private company based out of Switzerland developing small unmanned suborbital reusable spaceplanes called SOAR to launch small satellites of up to 250kg.
The SOAR spaceplane will piggyback on top of a zero-g certified Airbus A300 for launch. According to S3, SOAR uses standard fuels and does not require furl during landing after a suborbital flight.
"For S3, Florida offers several major advantages, including a strategic geographic location, as well as access to key infrastructure and human resources, which will help to enable our success," stated Pascal Jaussi, Founder and CEO of Swiss Space Systems.
S3 has leased offices at Space Florida's Space Life Sciences Laboratory (SLSL) in Exploration Park.
"Zero G flights will enable S3 to offer research institutes and universities, partners or clients the possibility to conduct extremely precise and demanding missions in various microgravity environments. However, we will also let the public live this one-of-a-kind experience through our online ticketing system for our flight campaigns around the world, as a way for us to democratize access to space," outlines Robert Feierbach, Head of S3 USA. "We look forward to working with Space Florida as we establish our initial flight operations and evaluate opportunities for future expansion in the state," added Feierbach.
The agreement with Space Florida would see S3 begin zero gravity flights in 2015 and after evaluating KSC's SLF for use, could begin to launch satellites in 2018.