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Spaceport/S site selection announcement expected in two parts

Submitted by on February 13, 2020 – 12:56 amNo Comment

The executive director of the Michigan Aerospace Manufacturers Association (MAMA) now says there will be two announcements on a site selection or selections for a spaceport in Michigan.

MAMA is attempting to attract a growing commercial satellite business sector to Michigan. The group’s spaceport or spaceports would be used to launch low earth orbit satellites into space for both commercial companies and the Department of Defense.

Gavin Brown is the Executive Director of MAMA, and told True North Radio that a site selection announcement for a horizontal launch spaceport will be made next week. Horizontal launches typically consist of large aircraft, such as a Boeing 737, carrying satellites into high altitudes before the satellite is released, using its’ own engines to propel it into space.

Brown said a second announcement will come in March for a vertical launch spaceport, which is more conventional with rockets carrying satellites into space. He said that while one site could be used for both types of launches, it is more likely two locations will be chosen. He hinted that a vertical launch spaceport would work best with direct access to water, where it would be less impactful to any surrounding community.

Seven communities remain in the running for a spaceport, including Alpena, Chippewa County, Gaylord, Mackinaw City, Marquette County, Oscoda and Rogers City.

After a site is selected for horizontal launches, it will take 16 months or more to obtain the proper licensing, with construction to begin thereafter. Brown believes launches could begin as early as the first half of 2022. Licensing for vertical launches will take 3-4 years Brown said, and require more time for construction.