CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. -

A year-old Swiss company plans to perform zero-gravity flights at Kennedy Space Center starting next year and will consider the former shuttle runway as a future base for launches of small satellites.

Swiss Space Systems, known as S3, has signed a memorandum of understanding with Space Florida to use KSC’s three-mile Shuttle Landing Facility, which the state is in negotiations with NASA to take over and operate as a commercial spaceport, Local 6 News partner Florida Today reported.

S3 has established a new U.S. subsidiary, S3 USA Operations, and already leases office space at the state-owned Space Life Sciences Lab just outside KSC’s gates.

S3 will perform zero-G flights of people or experiments on an Airbus A300. The aircraft is also being developed to air-launch a reusable, suborbital space plane to deploy small satellites weighing up to about 550 pounds.

The company will evaluate KSC as a primary site for satellite launches that could begin in 2018.

S3 employs about 60 people in Switzerland, Spain and the U.S.

For more on the company, visit: http://www.s-3.ch/.