Houston Airport System plan calls for building spaceport at Ellington Field

The Houston Airport System sees the potential for the city to be a leading player in commercial spaceflight and presented plans Thursday to build a spaceport at Ellington Field.

Mario Diaz, the Director of Aviation at the Houston Airport System, presented a plan to City Council’s Budget and Fiscal Affairs Committee  that details unique advantages Houston has over other emerging spaceport cities and outlines which types of spacecraft could be launched from populated areas.

Councilwoman Ellen Cohen’s chief of staff Brooke Boyett said Cohen found the presentation and prospect of a Houston spaceport “exciting.”

Diaz and the Houston Airport System hopes to see Houston as a leader in commercial aerospace travel in the next 20 years. The presentation notes that within 25 years of the Wright brothers’ first flight, Houston had an airfield — W.T. Carter Field — which later became Hobby Airport.

“The spotlight will be on Houston in September as we host the Commercial Spaceflight Federation meetings which attract aerospace organizations from across the country,” said Diaz.

The Commercial Spaceflight Federation is an industry association of over 40 leading businesses and organizations working to make commercial human spaceflight a reality.

Houston’s booming economy is also mentioned in the material.

“We envision that (Ellington) could be a focal point for aerospace innovation, a regional center for a cluster of aerospace entities acting as incubators for aerospace innovation and growth,” said the presentation.

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.

There are also preliminary maps of what Ellington Field would look like with added spaceport capabilities.

The presentation reitierates at the end that it’s imperative that spaceport planning begins soon, calling it “critical”.

“Houston, with its distinct advantages, has the potential to become a major player
in this industry by preparing ourselves early.”

“Preparedness meets opportunity,” goes the message.

The presentation, “The Vision for Commercial Spaceflight in Houston” can be seen here.

By Craig Hlavaty of the Houston Chronicle – read here

July 12th, 2013|Categories: News|Tags: , , |0 Comments

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