Senator Hodge’s Spaceport mission gets a boost from the FAA today
DENVER— Today, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) announced a $200,000 Space Transportation Infrastructure grant for the Front Range Airport Authority to conduct a feasibility study on constructing a spaceport in Colorado. The State took the first step toward achieving a spaceport designation when the legislature passed the Colorado Aerospace Jobs Act, sponsored by Senator Mary Hodge (D-Brighton), during the 2012 legislative session. The feasibility study will conduct environmental and other analyses for a potential FAA Commercial Launch Site Operator’s License.
Senator Hodge offered the following comment today:
"I'm thrilled that our state has received this grant and that the work we started by passing the Aerospace Jobs Act last session has continued to move forward. The construction of a spaceport in Colorado will boost our already thriving aerospace industry and bring new high paying jobs to the state. We have been working in a dedicated statewide coalition to attract this innovative technology, and Colorado is now closer than ever to becoming a spaceport state."
Colorado is already home to 400 space related companies, and the industry is estimated to generate $3 billion in state revenue annually. This legislation allows for the continued growth of the aerospace industry in Colorado by creating a stable and transparent regulatory climate.
In December, Governor John Hickenlooper announced that Colorado was seeking an official Spaceport designation from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). The FAA’s Office of Commercial Space Transportation is responsible for licensing, regulating and promoting the commercial-sector space industry.
The first entity to pursue a spaceport designation may be the Front Range Airport in Adams County, which is located six miles from Denver International Airport. Front Range Airport is developing a space-plane program in which suborbital planes fly on the edge of space, and can transport cargo and passengers across the globe in as little as two hours.
Currently, Colorado has the second largest private aerospace workforce in the country, and space related industries employ more than 163,000 workers. In addition, eight of the nation’s top ten aerospace industries are located in Colorado, and Colorado universities provide some of the best aerospace and engineering research in the nation. The combination of a trained workforce, inventive learning institutions, and proactive legislation makes Colorado an ideal candidate to receive a spaceport designation.