The City of Houston and the Houston Airport System met with U.S. Assistant Secretary for Economic Development Jay Williams last month to discuss future plans for the Houston Spaceport project.
The presentation to the leader of the Economic Development Administration, a bureau within the U.S Department of Commerce, was given by Houston Aviation Director Mario C. Diaz at the Houston Aerospace Support Center in an effort to secure federal grant funds for infrastructure for Phase 1 of the development of the Houston Spaceport.
If secured, the grant funds would support the growth of the nation’s 10th licensed commercial spaceport located at Ellington Airport. Vital services are needed to encourage development of the Phase 1 campus site including roads, water and sewer lines, power service and more.
Still in the developmental stage, construction in Phase 1 will eventually include a co-working space located near the Houston Aerospace Support Center, as well as land for several aerospace companies, and more.
“With more than 600 acres of land available for lease at the location, the Houston Spaceport is primed for development,” Houston Aviation Director Mario C. Diaz said. “Houston offers a booming economy with a strong aerospace industrial base, a well-educated workforce with experience in the high-tech demands of space exploration and plenty of room for growth at a strategically located airport facility.”
In June 2015, the Houston Airport System was awarded a license from the Federal Aviation Administration, making Ellington Airport one of two such spaceports in the state of Texas. The license makes Ellington Airport a potential launch and landing site for suborbital, reusable launch vehicles.
Already, committed partners to the program include the Houston Airport System, NASA, the Greater Houston Partnership, Sierra Nevada Corporation, the City of Houston, Rice Space Institute, Texas A&M Aerospace Technology, University of Houston College of Architecture, Bay Area Houston Economic Partnership, U.K.-based Catapult Satellite Applications, and Intuitive Machines.
One partner, Sierra Nevada Corporation’s Space Systems, recently won a piece of a multibillion-dollar NASA contract, making it one of three companies charged with resupplying the International Space Station starting in 2019. Sierra Nevada Corporation signed a letter of intent with the Houston Airport System in April 2014 indicating its goal of working towards the establishment of landing operations at Houston Spaceport.
And in November 2015, the Houston Spaceport and NASA signed an Umbrella Agreement that will allow the new venture to tap into the federal space agency’s assets and expertise, expanding the possibilities for the growing commercial spaceflight industry. The Houston Spaceport and NASA will collaborate, providing access to a number of the unique capabilities at the Johnson Space Center, including projects like safety-specific training, facilities, and technology capabilities, to support suborbital operations and commercial spaceflight endeavors.
Learn more about the Houston Spaceport at this link.