RD609 - Virginia Commercial Space Flight Authority Strategic Plan 2017-2022 – December 1, 2016
Virginia Space’s strategic plan offers a path to an exciting aerospace core that creates jobs, promotes scientific activity, and is a gateway to space for the Commonwealth of Virginia.
This Strategic Plan (“the Plan”) is developed in response to Chapters 779 and 817 of the 2012 Acts of Assembly (HB 813/SB 284), which requires the Virginia Commercial Space Flight Authority to submit a strategic plan to the Governor and the General Assembly no later than December 1, 2016.
The Plan evaluates the current state of the Virginia Commercial Space Flight Authority (Virginia Space), the industry landscape, Virginia Space’s competition, and available launch forecasts and trends. Building on these items, the Plan describes the strategic objectives and key actions for Virginia Space for the 2017 to 2022 period.
Virginia Space operates the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport (MARS) located at the NASA Wallops Flight Facility (WFF) at Wallops Island, Virginia (Figures 1-1 and 1-2).
Virginia Space is permitted to use the land for MARS and does business with NASA through a regularly renewed Space Act Agreement. MARS is only one of four spaceports in the United States licensed by the FAA Commercial Space Transportation Office to launch to orbit allowing it to compete for the small-to-medium class launch vehicle market providing access to the Earth’s orbit and interplanetary missions. It is also one of only two East Coast launch sites capable of launching to orbit and inclinations that are critical to NASA, government and other commercial customers.
Key drivers that will shape the future of Virginia Space are:
• NASA International Space Station (ISS) Resupply Missions
• Prospective Department of Defense (DoD) missions on the Minotaur launch family
• Prospective NASA science missions on Antares
• Additional space launch customers and missions
• Diversification into adjacent aerospace markets
By effectively focusing on these key drivers, the strategic objectives for Virginia Space will be met in the next five years.
1.3 Strategic Objectives
Virginia Space’s ten strategic objectives for 2017-2022 are:
• Objective 1: Provide a framework for Orbital ATK’s continued success for Antares/Cygnus ISS Resupply Missions
• Objective 2: Support Orbital ATK’s efforts to secure additional Antares launches
• Objective 3: Support Orbital ATK’s efforts to secure additional Minotaur family launches with plans to expand to Minotaur VI
• Objective 4: Secure a second (and possibly a third) space launch customer that utilizes the MARS facilities
• Objective 5: Diversify into adjacent aerospace markets (such as Unmanned Systems services) and secure additional customers use for better utilization of existing assets and personnel
• Objective 6: Expand current infrastructure to add economic benefit and growth opportunities for Virginia Space
• Objective 7: Maintain Virginia Space as a sustainable entity to maximize the positive economic impact from the state’s existing investments
• Objective 8: Provide and enhance education in aerospace technologies and processes in conjunction with universities, industry, and government
• Objective 9: Establish Virginia as a leading space industry hub in the US to benefit both residents and businesses in the state
1.4 Strategic Direction
Virginia Space has a unique heritage and a vibrant future because of the re-energizing efforts that have been completed by the Commonwealth during recent years. Recent actions taken by the Governor and the General Assembly have demonstrated that Virginia Space will be given the opportunity to grow and benefit from the future of space exploration. Based on the forecasted growth in demand from the US government, military agencies, international users, and commercial space customers for orbital access, Virginia Space is well positioned to meet the current and forecast launch demand through 2022 and beyond.
As such, Virginia Space will adhere to a policy of making appropriate investments to attract customers while carefully monitoring the space market development, civil, national security and commercial launch needs, and launch capacity supplied by other states. The Authority will balance longer-term Virginia Space investments with benefits those investments provide for the Commonwealth regarding jobs, education, and industry growth.
This strategy allows Virginia Space to grow rapidly, but strategically, with the space industry. It does not commit significant public funds to investment in areas that are speculative or still evolving. It also does not commit funds to areas that are not suitable for MARS. The plan positions Virginia Space to capitalize on its current strengths, proactively follow the market, quickly adapt to serve changing industry demands and attract new business to the Commonwealth of Virginia (Figure 1-3).