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  Houston Spaceport at Ellington Airport (EFD)

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Author Topic:   Houston Spaceport at Ellington Airport (EFD)
Robert Pearlman
Editor

Posts: 33453
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: 33453
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: 400
From: Seneca, IL, US
Registered: Jan 2009

posted 07-18-2013 04:27 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for 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
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Posts: 586
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: 33453
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.

Robert Pearlman
Editor

Posts: 33453
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 03-24-2015 11:14 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Sierra Nevada Corporation
Sierra Nevada Corporation and Houston Airport System Announce New Agreement

Sierra Nevada Corporation's (SNC) Space Systems and the Houston Airport System (HAS) announce a new follow-on agreement to utilize Ellington Airport's Spaceport as a future landing site for SNC's Uncrewed Dream Chaser spacecraft — SNC's solution for NASA's Cargo Resupply needs and other critical space operations.

"Entering into this new agreement with HAS will lead to enabling all variants of the Dream Chaser spacecraft to land in Houston, offering the ability to return cargo and science to Houston directly from space," said Mark Sirangelo, corporate vice president of SNC's Space Systems. "Through this agreement, we want to promote broad awareness of the importance of utilizing low-Earth orbit as a source of research, science and the expansion of space flight that are critical to Houston's ongoing position as a 'Space City.' Houston has earned its place at the forefront of space exploration with such institutes as NASA's Johnson Space Center, Rice Space University, the Texas Medical Center, the Bay Area Houston Economic Partnership and many other organizations."

The objectives of this new agreement include exploring the applications and opportunities between HAS and SNC utilizing the Uncrewed Dream Chaser spacecraft to serve the needs of government, science, research, consumer and commercial enterprise while also building awareness of the positive economic impact of the Ellington Airport/Spaceport to the state of Texas. The new agreement is in anticipation of HAS receiving its spaceport license approval for Ellington Airport.

"The Houston Airport System is pleased to continue working with Sierra Nevada Corporation as a landing site for their Dream Chaser spacecraft," said Arturo Machuca, general manager, Ellington Airport. "As we move into the final phase of receiving our spaceport license it is important that HAS work with private industry to ensure the sustainability of the Houston Spaceport. The Dream Chaser spacecraft, with its unique horizontal runway landing capability, low-g entry and use of non-toxic propulsion, makes it an ideal test bed for biomedical, pharmaceutical, cellular and genetic research payloads. Houston, a leader in space-based biomedical research, is eager to work with SNC to sustain and advance these research opportunities in low-Earth orbit, then gently return them directly to Houston for immediate unloading."

The Dream Chaser Cargo System is an autonomous system developed to provide cargo transportation services to the International Space Station (ISS). The Dream Chaser Cargo Systems is a mission variant of the Dream Chaser Space System that exceeds NASA's goals for cargo transportation to the ISS, including rapid return of critical science.

Robert Pearlman
Editor

Posts: 33453
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 03-25-2015 04:41 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Houston aviation officials said Tuesday (March 24) the city will likely obtain a spaceport license by early this summer from the Federal Aviation Administration for Ellington Airport, the Houston Chronicle reports.
"Before July we are very optimistic that you'll be living in a city with a spaceport as part of its infrastructure," said Arturo Machuca, general manager of Ellington Airport.

No rockets will launch from Ellington's spaceport... but with its runway and spaceport license, the city hopes to capture a piece of the emerging space tourism industry, which comes in a variety of spacecraft and space planes, as well as develop other related aerospace infrastructure at the 700-acre site in southeast Houston.

Machuca mentioned the likelihood of a contract with a company to manufacture drones, and hopes to eventually bring spacecraft building enterprises as well to Houston.

Robert Pearlman
Editor

Posts: 33453
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 07-01-2015 03:07 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
collectSPACE
Houston, we have a spaceport: FAA gives 'Space City' license for launches

The Houston airport where astronauts have departed on training flights for more than 50 years is now host to the United States' newest commercial spaceport.

The Houston Airport System (HAS) on Tuesday (June 30) was granted a launch site license from the FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) establishing Ellington Airport near the NASA Johnson Space Center as the tenth commercial spaceport in the country.

"Houston has a rich history in space operations. We have a first-class airport system that already connects Houston to the rest of the globe. We want to make sure that airport system is part of connecting Houston to space," Houston Mayor Annise Parker said at a press conference Tuesday.

Cozmosis22
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Posts: 586
From: Texas * Earth
Registered: Apr 2011

posted 07-01-2015 03:29 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Cozmosis22     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Well. about two years after their initial proposal of this venture they got their official designation. Maybe in another two years they will actually launch something into space. Maybe not? Still, nice bit of political rhetoric, quote Mayor Parker "...connecting Houston to space."

dabolton
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Posts: 400
From: Seneca, IL, US
Registered: Jan 2009

posted 07-02-2015 10:43 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for dabolton     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
All existing space vehicles use toxic fuels for maneuvering engines which are usually vented pre- or post-landing. How will they manage this in an urban environment? Ellington is surrounded by homes and businesses.

Robert Pearlman
Editor

Posts: 33453
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 07-02-2015 11:02 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The FAA's final environment assessment of the Houston Spaceport is here.
After reviewing and analyzing currently available data and information on existing conditions and the potential impacts of the Proposed Action, the FAA has determined that the Proposed Action would not significantly impact the quality of the human environment.

...for nominal launches, all of the oxidizer would be consumed during the RLV powered flight. For aborted flights, the oxidizer would be released and evaporate before landing, while the fuel would remain onboard and would be returned to the ground by the RLV.

For a nominal launch, no hazardous post-flight ground operations would be required to return the RLV to safe conditions. In the event the oxidizer is not completely consumed or released, the RLV would be moved to an area with an established safety clear zone (i.e., OLA), and the remaining oxidizer and fuel would be removed in accordance with safety procedures developed for the Houston Spaceport.

Robert Pearlman
Editor

Posts: 33453
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 11-04-2015 03:58 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
NASA release
HAS, NASA enter into agreement to support Houston Spaceport

The Houston Airport System (HAS) and NASA have entered into an agreement today that will allow the new commercial spaceport developing at Ellington Airport (EFD) to tap into the federal space agency's assets and expertise, expanding the possibilities for the growing commercial spaceflight industry.

Under the Umbrella Agreement — made possible by NASA's Safety and Mission Assurance Directorate — HAS and NASA will collaborate, providing access to a number of the unique capabilities at the Johnson Space Center (JSC), including things like safety-specific training, facilities, and technology capabilities, to support suborbital operations and commercial spaceflight endeavors.

"The Johnson Space Center represents an invaluable asset for the entire City of Houston and especially for those of us who are working to establish Houston Spaceport as a force within the aerospace industry," says Houston Airport System Director Mario C. Diaz. "One of the primary reasons why the City of Houston made such perfect sense as the site for the nation's 10th commercial spaceport is the existence of strong intellectual capital at JSC and the willingness of their leadership team to form substantive partnerships."

The Houston Spaceport at EFD became the 10th commercial spaceport in the United States when it received a license from the Federal Aviation Administration in June 2015 to support operations of horizontally launched Reusable Launch Vehicles (RLVs). The agreement with NASA offers access to the JSC's unique capabilities in several areas, including risk analysis, engineering analysis, mission operations, training, spacecraft systems testing and mission execution.

The ultimate goal is to make the Houston Spaceport a focal point for aerospace innovation — a regional center for a cluster of aerospace entities that would act as an incubator for aerospace innovation and growth. As part of this effort, HAS is developing a design center that will facilitate collaboration between NASA, the FAA, and the aerospace industry.

System Safety Fundamentals training stresses the analytical process of system safety management and hazard analysis of hardware, software, and operations. Additional concepts and principles are introduced on risk assessment, risk management, and hazardous operations. The NASA Safety Training Center (NSTC) at the Johnson Space Center provides unique safety training that enables students to meet uniform engineering/technical requirements for processes, procedures, practices and methods that have been endorsed as a standard for NASA programs and projects.

Unlike system safety training available in the commercial marketplace, NASA's course provides examples and discussion specifically related to aerospace. A system safety course with a focus on aerospace is directly applicable to the types of operations envisioned to be conducted at the Houston Spaceport. In addition, NSTC instructors provide training on the causes and outcomes of aerospace accidents and incidents which is not available from other sources.

The agreement helps NASA achieve its functions as expressed in the National Aeronautics and Space Act to "seek and encourage, to the maximum extent possible, the fullest commercial use of space." In addition, because safety is a core value at NASA, this partnership helps NASA in its mission to transfer its knowledge and expertise in system safety to the private sector as part of its mission to disseminate information, to enable it to encourage the development of a commercial space sector mission operations capability for operating in low Earth orbit.

Robert Pearlman
Editor

Posts: 33453
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 11-10-2015 12:39 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Houston Airport System release
Purchase of building at Ellington a key step in Houston Spaceport development plans

The Houston Airport System completed an important step in the functional launch of the Houston Spaceport was taken on Wednesday, Nov. 4, 2015, when Houston City Council members approved the $6.9 million purchase of an aerospace engineering building and land adjacent to Ellington Airport.

Using airport funds for the purchase, the 53,000 square foot building will house a shared use manufacturing and general office facility, and already has prospective tenants. The airport system has received a letter of intent to lease from both Intuitive Machines and UK-based Catapult Satellite Applications, and expects to receive others in the near future.

Houston Airports will modify the building and eventually have small and large companies housed on the same campus to encourage collaboration. The co-working space would conceivably include an incubation space for early-stage companies, more permanent offices for developing companies and even larger facilities for companies that need room to mass produce their products.

"This facility becomes the first dedicated infrastructure for the Houston Spaceport project," said Arturo Machuca, the General Manager at Ellington Airport who successfully led the HAS effort to obtain a Launch Site License from the Federal Aviation Administration. "This building will allow us to solidify ongoing commercial relationships with established and emerging aerospace companies. The concept of developing an innovation district as part of the Houston Spaceport project is a key element in achieving the far-reaching goal of developing the aerospace industry into a successful commercial endeavor."

Located on 4.30 acres of land that abuts the west side of Ellington Airport near existing Boeing Company offices and National Aeronautics and Space Administration's Sonny Carter Training Facility, the Boeing Company currently occupies the Houston Product Service Center and plans to continue to use a portion in connection with its NASA contracts.

More details on the plans for the co-working space and incubator concept will be announced at the SpaceCom Conference in Houston next week.

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