Bradford Space, Inc. will test small rocket thruster at FB airport in 2023

Bradford Space, Inc., is a high-tech global developer and manufacturer of satellite control sub-systems and components. This corporation is competing for the award of an international contract to conduct analysis and testing of a small satellite thruster device with representatives from the United States and Israel.

Contingent upon award of this contract, Bradford Space is requesting use of property at the Fernandina Beach Municipal Airport for storage of a small satellite thruster device between the dates of March 1, 2023, and September 1, 2023. During this storage period, the stored The device would be placed and tested during a two-week period within the aforementioned date range. The testing conducted would be for approximately five minutes in duration for each individual test, totaling less than one hour of operation time for the device over the two-week testing period.

This small device, the size of two coffee cups stacked together, can be stored in a container the size of an automobile parking space. The proposed storage location within this facilities use agreement is adjacent to Closed Runway 18/36. In this location, the storage of the facility would not conflict with any other uses of airport property or airport operations. Based upon sound modeling from Bradford Space representatives, (see below), sound from testing is not anticipated to be noticed or audible to individuals outside the audible rings indicated on the exhibit. There will be no use of hazardous material (s) other than routine fuel used for the operation of the small thruster device.

In response to a question from Mayor Mike Lednovich, Airport Manager Nate Coyle said that Bradford plans to run 5-6 tests of 5 minutes duration each, totaling an hour. Testing could be completed within 1-2 days, but the 2-week lease was requested in case additional time was needed. Coyle stressed that this is a very small device that can produce 100 pounds of thrust, compared to a Gulfstream 4 airplane that can produce 6,000-9,000 pounds of thrust.

Vice Mayor Len Kreger said that this opportunity was brought to the City by the Nassau County Economic Development Board and that it fits well within the Airport Master Plan. “I think it’s important that we move forward with economic development at the airport,” Kreger said.

Airport Manager Nate Coyle (l) and City Manager Dale Martin

Coyle said, “It is important to understand that this is a manufacturing operation. We are not permitted as a space port. There is zero interest in launching anything into space. ”

Lednovich said they would not support this item. “When I think of Vision 2045, I don’t think of‘ space industrial ’on the island. I think we have enough industry on the island. If it would be airport related, I would support it. But this is aero space, a totally different animal. ”

When the vote was called, only Lednovich voted in opposition.

The fee for use of the property is based upon the airport’s non-aeronautical land lease rate of $ 0.35 per square foot (annually) and a conservative storage size of 10 ′ wide x 20 ′ long. City staff will confirm receipt of a current certificate of insurance showing the City of Fernandina Beach as additionally insured prior to storage of the device on airport property.

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