Gov. John Hickenlooper has announced that Colorado has applied for a spaceport designation with the federal government. Hickenlooper said his administration has sent a letter to the Federal Aviation Administration stating that it is seeking the designation and hopes to get approval within a year, the Denver Post reports.
A spaceport designation would allow for the creation of a facility from which space-bound payloads can be launched. The sites are viewed by many as important economic development tools because of the potential growth in commercial space payloads and eventually space tourists.
New Mexico’s Spaceport America is perhaps the best-known effort, but other states are pursuing or have such facilities.
In his letter seeking that Colorado be recognized as a “proposed spaceport state,” Hickenlooper noted that Colorado is home to more than 140 aerospace companies and is ranked among the top three states in terms of revenue generated from the aerospace industry. He also cited the presence of military space operations including the Air Force Space Command headquarters and North America Aerospace Defense Command or NORAD.
The governor told attendees of an aerospace roundtable event being held at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science that Front Range Airport is a likely candidate for the designation. The airport, which is east of Denver International Airport, is comprised of 4,000 acres and is surrounded by 6,000 acres zoned for industrial development.