WISE — The Virginia Chamber of Commerce has selected Wise County Circuit Court Clerk Jack Kennedy to chair the chamber transportation committee’s spaceport subcommittee to advocate commercial space policy at the state and federal levels.
Virginia Chamber President Barry E. DuVal appointed Kennedy to communicate with the chamber’s 13,000 membership about progress being made at the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport at Wallops Island on the East Coast of Virginia and to advocate pro-space policy within the Virginia business community.
Kennedy serves on the board of directors of the Virginia Commercial Space Flight Authority. He chairs the strategic planning committee and serves on the personnel committee as it transitions to a fully operational spaceport operated by Virginia at the NASA Wallops Flight Facility in Accomack County.
A regional advocate for science education through the Southwestern Virginia Technology Council and NASA DEVELOP (Digital Earth Virtual Environment and Learning Outreach Project), Kennedy has previously served on the board of directors of the Challenger Center for Space Science Education and has advocated space policy at the Virginia General Assembly for the past six years.
Kennedy has participated in three state-sponsored studies of the spaceport over the past year and holds a master of science in space policy from the University of North Dakota.
Gov. Bob McDonnell has advanced funding to the commercial spaceport, with the 2012 Virginia General Assembly authorizing nearly $50 million over the next five years for spaceport operations through the Virginia Department of Transportation.
Later this year, Orbital Sciences Corp. will begin flight operations at Wallops Island under a $1.8 billion contract for the new medium lift commercial Antares rocket with Cygnus spacecraft to transport cargo to the International Space Station. Launches are projected every six months.
Next year, the Wallops Island launch site is to serve as a launch point for a NASA spacecraft designed to orbit the moon on a science mission, the first robotic probe launched from Virginia.