cowboy, horse, and spaceship

Texas may soon have more spaceports than any other state.

An Associated Press report quotes SpaceX CEO Elon Musk confirming that south Texas is the first choice for a new SpaceX launch site. The remarks were made after a long meeting between Musk and Texas governor Rick Perry.

SpaceX already does engine testing in McGregor, Texas and plans to fly its reusable suborbital testbed, Grasshopper,  from McGregor as well.

The secretive Blue Origin has a private spaceport at Corn Ranch in far west Texas, where it has been testing its own suborbital vehicle.

Those are not the only potential spaceport sites. Sources confirm that there is regional interest around Ellington Airport, which is located between Houston and Clear Lake (home of NASA’s Johnson Space Center). Ellington Airport could become a commercial spaceport for suborbital vehicles.

Armadillo Aerospace has conducted low-energy test flights from its facility at Caddo Mills Airport, just outside of Dallas. Caddo Mills is not a licensed spaceport, however. For higher energy missions, Armadillo has to travel to Spaceport America in New Mexico. Armadillo would probably show interest in a Texas spaceport if one were available.

The state of Texas is appealing to commercial spaceflight operators for a number of reasons. Some are obvious. Texas is home to the NASA manned spaceflight community, which provides a potential source of customers and trained personnel. It is centrally located, providing equally convenient access from all parts of the United States. It has a large population and growing economy. Texas is also in close proximity to Oklahoma, home of the FAA’s Civil Aerospace Medical Institute (CAMI), which may play a key role in screening and training future space explorers.

The following map shows current and proposed spaceport sites in Texas. The red pin indicates a licensed active spaceport. Yellow pins are proposed spaceports. The blue pin marks the location of Caddo Mills.

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Written by Astro1 on June 14th, 2012 , Armadillo Aerospace, Spaceports, SpaceX Tags:

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