Constellations, Launch, New Space and more…

Map: Spaceports Across America

By Doug Messier
Parabolic Arc
March 5, 2011
Filed under ,

I found this map of federally licensed spaceports in FAA’s FY 2012 budget documents. Although most of these facilities are well known, there are six proposed launch facilities that have received little attention. One of the two Texas spaceports wants to launch spacecraft into orbit.

South Texas Spaceport: This facility is designated for suborbital from land and the Gulf of Mexico with an altitude limit of 150 kilometers (94 miles).A notice on the spaceport’s website dated July 6, 2010 states that “STS moving forward with Orbital Launch plans despite hindrance of the FAA and CST!”

West Texas Spaceport — Jane’s reports:

The Pecos County/West Texas Spaceport Development Corp has been operating this spaceport since 2002. Blue Origin founder and billionaire, Jeff Bezos purchased the 165,000 acre Corn Ranch, about 32 km north of Van Horn, off Highway 54 in West Texas, with the intention of building the Spaceport to support Blue Origin launches. Construction at the site began in 2006, six years after Blue Origin was established in Kent, Washington, near Seattle.

Wisconsin Spaceport: This facility, created in 2000, is best known as Spaceport Sheboygan. It has been used for launching sounding rockets to an altitude of 55 kilometers (34 miles) and a variety of education programs.

Chugwater Spaceport: An FAA report issued in January 2009 states that the spaceport was being used by two small companies:

SpeedUp of Laramie, Wyoming, is developing the Laramie Rose vehicle to compete in the NG-LLC [Northrup Grumman Lunar Lander Challenge]. The vehicle, being built in partnership with Frontier Astronautics of Chugwater, Wyoming, is a vertical takeoff and vertical landing design powered by an engine using 90-percent concentration hydrogen peroxide.

Spaceport Washington: The only I could find on this via a Google search were a couple of stories dating back to 2000, one of which stated that it wanted to be the home of the since-canceled Venture Star vehicle. The location is an emergency landing site for the space shuttle.

Spaceport Alabama: I couldn’t find much about this spaceport other than there is (or was) an office at Jacksonville State University.