FAA Invites Public Input on Draft Environmental Review to Operate Huntsville International Airport as Commercial Space Reentry Site

WASHINGTON (FAA PR) – The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) invites the public to comment on a Draft Environmental Assessment (EA) for Huntsville International Airport (HSV) to serve as a reentry site for horizontally landed commercial reentry vehicles. The Draft EA also addresses a proposal by Sierra Space Corporation to land its Dream Chaser vehicle at the site up to eight times between 2023 and 2027. 

The FAA plans to hold a virtual public hearing for the draft review on Dec. 9 at 5 p.m. Central Time as part of the 40-day public comment period that ends on Dec. 22. Public comments can also be submitted to HuntsvilleReentry@icf.com.

The Huntsville-Madison Airport Authority is seeking a Reentry Site Operator License and Sierra Space is seeking a Vehicle Operator License. The draft review is part of both licensing processes. It evaluates the potential environmental impacts of the proposed reentry operations, including associated airspace closures. 

Following the public comment period, the FAA will revise the draft as appropriate and prepare a Final EA. The FAA will then either issue a Finding of No Significant Impact or a Notice of Intent to prepare a more comprehensive Environmental Impact Statement. 

The FAA will make licensing determinations after completing the environmental review and all applicable safety and financial responsibility requirements are met.

Any future commercial space vehicle operator seeking to conduct reentry operations at the proposed HSV site would need to obtain its own FAA license, which would require a separate environmental review. The Authority also would need to modify its license to accommodate another operator at HSV.

Currently, there are 12 FAA-licensed commercial spaceports in Alaska, California, Colorado, Florida, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Texas and Virginia.