Swiss Space Systems Annouces Flights from KSC’s Shuttle Landing Facility

Hopes SOAR at KSC Credit: Swiss Space Systems

Hopes SOAR at KSC
Credit: Swiss Space Systems

Swiss Space Systems, the European startup which began operations just over a year ago with plans for an airplane launched, two-stage partially reusable space launch system, was at Cape Canaveral Friday to announce an agreement enabling zero-g, parabolic flights starting in 2015.

The announcement, which was made after negotiations with Space Florida, will see a slate of zero-G flights of the company’s black Airbus 300 aircraft operating from the massive Shuttle Landing Facility.  The parabolic flights, which will be marketed for both research and tourism, will also be part of a global campaign highlighting Swiss Space Systems’ anticipated entry into the smallsat launch market beginning in 2018.

Though perhaps not yet as well known as two high profile U.S. based companies; Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic and XCOR Aerospace offering the runway launched Lynx space plane,  Swiss Space Systems has staked out an interesting position in moving directly into the launch market with its own, completely automated space plane, which will function as a fully re-usable second stage, (or first depending on your perspective) climbing to over 80 kilometers feet before releasing its payload, a smaller orbital insertion stage capable of boosting 250 kg to LEO.  For Space Florida and the Cape Canaveral area, the clear hope is that Friday’s announcement will lead to the selection of the Kennedy Space Center as one of S3’s planned global network of space launch facilities.

The full press release is after the break

KENNEDY SPACE CENTER (March 14, 2014) – Today, aerospace company Swiss Space Systems
(S3) inaugurated its new U.S. subsidiary, S3 USA Operations (Florida) Inc., at the Kennedy Space
Center (KSC). S3 has also signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Space Florida for
future utilization the Shuttle Landing Facility (SLF) and associated infrastructure for its flight
operations, which are slated to begin in 2015 with zero gravity flights. S3 will also evaluate the SLF as
a main site for satellite launches beginning in 2018.

Swiss Space Systems currently has more than 60 employees in Switzerland, Spain and the U.S. S3’s
engineering team, supported by its industrial and academic partners, is steadily progressing on the
research & development phase of an innovative small satellite launching system, the SOAR, based on
an Airbus aircraft lofting the sub-orbital reusable shuttle on its back. S3 has already established an
initial footprint at the Kennedy Space Center, leasing offices at Space Florida’s Space Life Sciences
Laboratory (SLSL) in Exploration Park. The establishment of this new subsidiary further reinforces
S3’s presence in the United States, after the creation of the S3 USA office in Washington DC.
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.”

Space Florida has been working with KSC and Cape Canaveral Spaceport to repurpose excessed
government infrastructure for commercial use, providing a significant time and cost saving advantage
to commercial operators. In 2013, Space Florida was selected by NASA to maintain and operate the
Shuttle Landing Facility (SLF) for commercial use, the historic 15,000 ft. launch and landing facility
previously utilized for the Space Shuttle Program.

“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.

The Kennedy Space Center is one of the locations S3 will evaluate as a main site of operations for
small satellite launches, starting in 2018. In the near term, S3 will propose zero gravity (Zero G) flights
onboard its latest-generation Airbus carrier aircraft in Florida starting in 2015. These flights will enable
passengers and payloads to experience weightlessness like astronauts do in space, during
approximately 20 seconds per parabolic flight, with a basic flight “mission” consisting of approximately
15 parabolas during a 2-hour flight. Throughout 2015, S3 will conduct a world tour of Zero G flights,
operating in more than 15 locations around the world, including the Kennedy Space Center.

“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.

To learn more about S3 Zero G flights, visit


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1 Comment on "Swiss Space Systems Annouces Flights from KSC’s Shuttle Landing Facility"

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  1. kap55 says:

    Something is seriously wrong with your headline: “Facilityt oins the gspa”?

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