Colorado Air and Space Port Receives Spaceport License

BRIGHTON, Colo. (Adams County PR) — The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has granted a site operator license to Colorado Air and Space Port after a 180-day review period, the 11th such license granted in the United States. Colorado Air and Space Port will serve as America’s hub for commercial space transportation, research, and development.

“Facilities like Colorado Air and Space Port will be developed around the country and the world,” said Mary Hodge, chair of the Adams County Board of Commissioners. “We’ll be building a hub that connects Colorado to commercial and research opportunities across the globe.”


Front Range Airport Receives Spaceport License

Front Range Airport in Colorado has received a spaceport license from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).

Adams County spokesman Jim Siedlecki said the Federal Aviation Administration’s approval came through Friday. A formal announcement on the license is scheduled to take place at 11 a.m. Monday at Adams County government headquarters.

The operator license means that Spaceport Colorado, housed at Front Range Airport in Adams County, becomes the nation’s 11th facility of its kind, opening the door for Colorado to further cement its already robust reputation as an epicenter for space-related missions and business ventures.

“Certainly, having the regulatory stamp of approval from the FAA does enable Spaceport Colorado to accelerate engagement and partnerships with potential users,” said Carolyn Belle, a senior analyst with Northern Sky Research who specializes in the aerospace sector.

But it’s the users, the handful of companies developing the space planes of the future, that are lagging behind the infrastructure being built to accommodate their vehicles. Dave Ruppel, airport director for Front Range Airport, said the first horizontal launch and landing at Spaceport Colorado won’t occur for at least a half decade.

Spaceport Colorado Prepares to Submit Application to FAA

Front_Range_AirportWATKINS, Colo. (Spaceport Colorado PR) — Adams County, Front Range Airport–Spaceport Colorado, is in the final stages of the Spaceport License submission process. The Spaceport Colorado team is completing its final review of the License Application and Environmental Assessment documents and expects to submit both final documents to the FAA Office of Commercial Space (AST) later this month.

Spaceport Colorado is also working closely with the local and regional offices of the FAA Air Traffic Control Organization to establish an effective Letter of Agreement (LOA) for spacecraft horizontal launch operations at the Spaceport. This process has been challenging due to the proximity of Denver International Airport but the team also expects to have the draft LOA approved by ATC and ready for submission to AST later this month.

Submission this month will mean that Spaceport Colorado could receive its license and be open for business as early as the second quarter of 2016. Spaceport Colorado will provide access to space for the hundreds of aerospace and commercial space companies and research institutions that call Colorado’s Front Range home.

ISPCS Day One Review & a Mojave Engine Test

Credit: Robin Snelson
Credit: Robin Snelson

Greetings from Mojave.  I had hoped to be greeting you from Las Cruces from the International Symposium for Personal and Commercial Spaceflight (ISPCS — pronounced ‘Lĕh-‘nérd ‘Is-pic-us). But, my plans to leave one desert town to travel across vast stretches of desert to a larger desert town didn’t work out this year. (I don’t know why; it sounded like so much fun.)


Front Range Airport Near to Submitting Spaceport Application

Front_Range_AirportKUNC Radio reports that Front Range Airport near Denver is close to completing a spaceport application for review by the Federal Aviation Administration. The airport already has a potential space tenant.

One of those businesses is Switzerland based S3, who last year signed a memorandum of understanding to house its North American headquarters in Adams County.

S3 is developing a flight system similar to Virgin Galactic, but instead of offering space tourism, [Airport Manager Dave] Ruppel said the company will focus on satellites.

“When you look at aerospace and commercial space development, Colorado is already a leader,” Ruppel said, citing broad support for the project from the likes of the Governor to area businesses.

Read the full story.

Swiss Space Systems to Locate Office at Front Range Airport

Front_Range_AirportSwiss Space Systems will base its North American headquarters at Front Range Airport outside of Denver after signing a memorandum of understanding with Spaceport Colorado last month:

Spaceport Colorado is a statewide initiative to create an aerospace hub at Front Range Airport in Adams County that is designed to attract high-tech research, commercial space development and eventually the creation of a horizontal launch pad for space transport.


Front Range Airport Executive Director Departs

Front_Range_AirportDennis Heap has been dismissed as executive director of the Front Range Airport near Denver after 19 years in the position, the airport authority said in a terse, two-paragraph press release.

The Front Range Airport Authority announced today that Ken Lawson, assistant director of aviation, will serve as interim aviation director. Dennis Heap’s last day of employment with the airport was Monday, Aug. 19, 2013.

“The Front Range Airport Authority appreciates the many years of dedicated service that Dennis provided as aviation director,” said Stephanie Takis, chair of the airport authority. “However, the Authority decided to move in a new direction.”

The Denver Business Journal reports:

Lawson on Tuesday told me that the authority and Heap parted ways due to a personnel, contractual matter.

“The authority and Heap could not come to an agreement on an employment contract,” Lawson said. Heap’s current contract was due to end on Dec. 31, Lawson said.

Front Range Airport is currently seeking a spaceport license in the hope of becoming a major center for point-to-point suborbital travel.


Front Range Airport Gets State Funding to Launch Spaceport Bid

DENVER (Front Range Airport PR) — Front Range Airport is ready to launch its bid for spaceport licensing with full funding commitments from strategic partners.

“The Colorado Department of Transportation’s Division of Aeronautics approved a grant request for $275,000, which is the last commitment needed to match a $200,000 grant received Sept. 25, 2012, from the Federal Aviation Administration’s Office of Commercial Space Transportation,” said Dennis Heap, executive director for Front Range Airport.


FAA Awards $474K in Commercial Space Transportation Grants

WASHINGTON (FAA PR) – The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) today announced nearly $500,000 in new Space Transportation Infrastructure matching grants to three projects located in California, Colorado and Hawaii that will help develop and expand commercial space transportation infrastructure.

“These investments will help us continue to develop a safe and robust commercial space industry in the United States,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood.

Spaceport Colorado Receives $200K FAA Grant

WASHINGTON (Mark Udall PR) — Colorado U.S. Senators Michael Bennet and Mark Udall announced Sept. 25, 2012, the approval of $200,000 in grant funding from the Federal Aviation Association (FAA) to conduct a feasibility study on locating a spaceport in Denver.


Mojave Becomes the Global Expert in Spaceports

By Douglas Messier
Parabolic Arc Managing Editor

The Mojave Air and Space Port has developed a profitable consulting business: advising other groups about how to build and operate their spaceports.

Officials from the California spaceport have provided advice to spaceport operators in New Mexico, Oklahoma, Sweden and the Caribbean island of Curacao, said Mojave CEO Stuart Witt.


Look Out Spaceport America! Here Comes Colorado

Colorado has applied to the FAA of spaceport certification of Front Range Airport, which is about 22 miles from Denver and six miles from Denver International Airport. The reason? To prepare for the impending era of suborbital, point-to-point passenger service:

The impetus for applying for spaceport certification now is the result of serious interest on the part of out-of-state companies preparing for future space tourism, said Tom Clark, CEO of the Metro Denver Economic Development Corp.

The companies, which Clark would not identify, are working on a spacecraft that takes off horizontally from a runway like a plane but then, tens of thousands of feet into the air, lights a booster rocket capable to taking passengers past the upper reaches of the atmosphere, Clark said.

That would open up the possibility not just of space travel to ordinary — but wealthy — people, but also of ultrafast travel to points on Earth, he said.

“Once you light that thing, then you’re in Sydney [Australia] in an hour and a half,” Clark said. “We in Colorado like to brag about being able to ski in the morning and golf in the afternoon. This would let us boast we can ski in morning and be surfing just after lunch — that’s the future these people are talking about.”

It’s a great vision. I’m not sure just how quickly that will happen. There are a lot of steps involved and it could take some time. On the other hand, why wait until it’s here to get a spaceport designation? And in the meantime, Colorado would be able to attract companies developing the vehicles.