Houston Wants Ellington Airport Designated as a Spaceport

EllingtonAirportHoustonDespite abundant evidence that America already has far too many spaceports and far too few launches, Houston Airport System officials are going forward with a plan to obtain a spaceport license for Ellington Field.

Director Mario Diaz on Wednesday said the system is officially moving forward with a plan to turn Ellington Airport into one of the nation’s first spaceports and is seeking certification from the Federal Aviation Administration.

The system completed a feasibility study last year that found it would cost an estimated $48 million to $122 million to equip Ellington for launching small space vehicles full of joyriders out over the Gulf of Mexico, more than 60 miles above Earth.

“It is definitely doable because, you see, space is not the final frontier, it just happens to be our next destination,” Diaz said told business leaders in a State of the Airports speech hosted by the Greater Houston Partnership….

He cited not only the establishment of space tourism in Houston, but also manufacturing the “small reusable space vehicles” that companies like Virgin Galactic are planning to use to launch everyday people into outer space.

“We will create facilities where companies can integrate all of the new and exciting advances in aeronautical engineering to produce spacecraft” that could feasibly “connect Houston in the future with places like Singapore in under three hours.”

The cost estimate here seems rather high, unless the airport is going to build an entire hangar and terminal facility on the order of what New Mexico built for Virgin Galactic.  It would be interesting to see this feasibility study.

As for hypersonic point-to-point travel, that’s probably a couple of decades away, if it proves commercially feasible at all.

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