Spaceports Abound

Do you know the way to your friendly neighborhood spaceport? Yeah, me neither. If you’re like me you probably had to first ask “what’s a spaceport?”. Well, the commercial space travel industry is heating up and spaceport — where commercial spacecraft launch, I guess — are popping up all over the place. And if you live in Oklahoma, there may be a spaceport coming to your neighborhood.

Oklahoma Spaceport

The Federal Aviation Administration has given its OK for commercial spaceflight operations at Oklahoma’s spaceport, a former military air base that is expected to begin hosting test flights of a new suborbital spacecraft next year.

“We are the planet’s newest gateway to space,” Bill Khourie, executive director of the Oklahoma Space Development Authority, told after the FAA’s announcement on Tuesday.

The launch site operator license, issued Monday, gives Oklahoma an edge in the nascent space tourism industry — a market also being targeted by California, New Mexico, Florida and even Wisconsin, as well as Singapore and the United Arab Emirates. However, the FAA’s Office of Commercial Space Transportation would have to issue separate licenses to companies wishing to operate from Oklahoma.

With the Oklahoma spaceport scheduled to start an extensive test site schedule in 2007, one already operating in the Mojave, and activity picking up at the New Mexico site, I have jut one question. Is living near a spaceport anything like living near an airport?