The Virginia Commercial Space Flight Authority (VCSFA) was created in 1995, with the mission of promoting commercial space activity, economic development and aerospace research within the Commonwealth of Virginia. VCSFA began its lease at Wallops Island in 1997 and continually expanded the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport (MARS) facilities to its present day state, with two launch facilities (one mid-class and one small-class launch facility), as well as access to support infrastructure facilities through agreements with NASA, such as vehicle and payload processing integration facilities, support instrumentation and emergency facilities.
MARS is licensed by FAA for orbital launches.
Building upon a 55-year legacy of experience gained during over 16,000 rockets launched from NASA Wallops Flight Facility, MARS provides the best alternative for responsive, cost effective, reliable mission capable access to space.
Priority for the Commonwealth of Virginia
Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell and his Administration see growing and expanding MARS (from a combination of commercial, civil, scientific, US Government, NASA, and military customers) as a strategic priority and are committed to its success. This commitment aligns with Governor McDonnell's priority of creating an environment that attracts highly-skilled and high-paying jobs to the Commonwealth and leading the country in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematic (STEM) educational programs. Highlights from Governor McDonnell's plan to make MARS America’s best spaceport include:
- Supporting a substantial increase in base funding for the spaceport operations, and focusing a portion of the funding on a coordinated marketing strategy to attract more companies to invest in and create jobs in Virginia.
- Creating an aerospace business roundtable to bring experts together to plan for Spaceport development and future projects.
- Aggressively recruiting and growing new and existing aerospace companies.
- Promoting space tourism initiatives.
- Supporting scholarships and investment in aerospace related educational programs and workforce training opportunities.
- Putting "Virginia First" - leading the country in STEM educational programs and ensuring our workforce is highly skilled in career and technical skills, which the Spaceport relies on.