Thu, Dec 22, 2011
Front Range Airport Could Become Launch Facility
Those skeptical of the potential for commercial space flight to
become a major industry certainly have their counterparts among
state and local governments. Colorado is the latest state to apply
to the FAA for status as a "spaceport state."
Tom Clark, executive vice president of the Metro Denver Economic
Development Corporation, tells the Denver Post that Colorado, which
already claims more space-related industry than any state except
California, could gain even more high-paying technical jobs by
turning the Front Range Airport, 19 miles east of Denver, into a
launch facility - "It would be another star in our sky." (Airport
entrance photo by J. Pock.)
Elaine Thorndike, chief executive of the Colorado Association
for Manufacturing and Technology, tells the Post, "companies that
are either suppliers to the commercial space market or part of the
aerospace sector in general are extremely excited." Thorndike is
overseeing the redevelopment of an old Hewlett Packard campus in
Loveland, CO into an Aerospace and Clean Energy Park.
Clark is a recent convert to the spaceport idea, having said as
recently as a year and a half ago that such a facility in Colorado
didn't make sense with Spaceport America just down the road in Las
Cruces, New Mexico. Developing horizontal launch technology is what
changed his mind.
Formal estimates of the costs and benefits of converting Front
Range into a spaceport have not yet been done.
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