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  Ellington Field (Houston): Commercial spaceport

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Author Topic:   Ellington Field (Houston): Commercial spaceport
Robert Pearlman
Editor

Posts: 27373
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 07-13-2013 09:16 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The Houston Chronicle reports that the Houston Airport System presented plans Thursday (July 11) to build a spaceport at Ellington Field.
According to the spaceport presentation, Ellington could host orbital, sub-orbital, and point-to-point launches. There would be no vertical launches at Ellington.

They are also reportedly working on an FAA/AST Spaceport License, collaborations with the Johnson Space Center, and partnerships with local universities like Rice, Texas A&M, University of Houston, and Texas Southern University are also being forged.

The Commercial Spaceflight Federation, an industry association of over 40 businesses and organizations working to make commercial human spaceflight a reality, will be holding their annual meeting in Houston in September.

Robert Pearlman
Editor

Posts: 27373
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 07-18-2013 07:36 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Houston Business Journal reports that the Houston City Council is officially on board with bringing commercial spaceflight to Ellington Field.
On Wednesday [July 17], the council approved a $718,900 contract with Reynolds, Smith and Hills Inc., a consulting service, to study how Houston can obtain a spaceport launch site operator's license. The consulting firm will also conduct an environmental assessment at Ellington.

According to city council documents, Reynolds, Smith and Hills will have a three-year contract with the city, and the majority of the firm’s work to get a spaceport license and assess conditions at Ellington Airport will be completed in the first year of the contract.

dabolton
Member

Posts: 216
From: Round Lake, IL, US
Registered: Jan 2009

posted 07-18-2013 04:27 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for dabolton   Click Here to Email dabolton     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Would Ellington be the first spaceport that is in a metropolitan area? What's to prevent giving blanket licenses to any large airport with long enough runways?

Cozmosis22
Member

Posts: 269
From: Texas * Earth
Registered: Apr 2011

posted 07-27-2013 03:31 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Cozmosis22     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The city of Houston and that business federation are using the term "spaceport" rather loosely; and certainly not in the traditional sense.

There's a world of difference between sending something into a low orbit off a 15 screaming eagle... and "human spaceflight."

Robert Pearlman
Editor

Posts: 27373
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 07-27-2013 07:50 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
They are using the same definition of spaceport as the other eight non-federal launch sites licensed by the FAA:
  • California Spaceport at Vandenberg Air Force Base
  • Spaceport Florida at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station
  • Cecil Field Spaceport, Jacksonville, Florida
  • Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport at Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia
  • Mojave Air and Space Port in California
  • Kodiak Launch Complex on Kodiak Island, Alaska
  • Oklahoma Spaceport, Burns Flat, Oklahoma
  • Spaceport America, Las Cruces, New Mexico
quote:
Originally posted by dabolton:
What's to prevent giving blanket licenses to any large airport with long enough runways?
Per the Federal Aviation Administration:
The location of a launch site is determined by access to useful orbits and public safety. In order to protect the public's safety, launch sites are normally built as far away as possible from major cities in case of a catastrophic failure. Most launch sites are built close to bodies of water to ensure that should a failure occur, no components fall over populated areas.

All times are CT (US)

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