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Licensed commercial spaceport to be built in Houston, Texas
by Staff Writers
Houston (XNA) Jul 05, 2015

The spaceport will be located at Ellington Airport, just a few kilometers from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), which has for decades played a key role in America's endeavors in space.

Houston, the fourth largest city of the United States, will build a licensed commercial spaceport for Reusable Launch Vehicles (RLV), the 10th of its kind in the country, local media reported Tuesday.

According to local TV station ABC 13, Houston Mayor Annise Parker and Houston Airport Systems officials announced Tuesday morning that Houston will embellish its image as the nation's "space city" by becoming the country's 10th licensed commercial spaceport.

"Houston will play a lead role in commercial space operations in the 21st century," Parker said. "We believe a licensed spaceport in Houston will not only serve as an economic generator for the city, but also enhance Houston's well-deserved reputation as a leader and key player in the aerospace industry."

The spaceport will be located at Ellington Airport, just a few kilometers from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), which has for decades played a key role in America's endeavors in space. Previously, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) had granted the city formal approval for Ellington's establishment as a launch site for reusable launch vehicles (RLV).

Tuesday's announcement puts plans into place that could see the transformation of what was formerly a Ellington Field into a space hub that can manufacture spacecraft, train astronauts, house zero- gravity projects and launch microsatellites.

"Houston has been at the forefront of aviation history and innovation for decades," Houston Aviation Director Mario C. Diaz said. "Not only does this opportunity reinforce an already long- established connection with the aerospace industry, it offers Houston an opportunity to strengthen its reputation as a forward- looking city and leader in creating high-tech, next-generation type jobs."

"We look forward to completing our vision to create an aerospace industry cluster at the Houston Spaceport," said Arturo Machuca, the general manager at Ellington Airport. "Now that we are officially the 10th commercial spaceport in the U.S., we are ready to work with our aerospace industry partners to take advantage of the unique location, infrastructure and human resources that the fourth largest city in the U.S. has to offer."

The new site will reportedly accommodate spacecraft designed to take off and land horizontally, like aircraft, and possibly take tourists into space.

It is reported that at least 15 million U.S. dollars in grant funds is available through the Texas Spaceport Trust Fund, designated by the governor's office to establish a spaceport. And spaceport officials expect to finalize the conceptual plans by 2015 and to begin construction by 2018.

Other licensed commercial spaceports include single or dual facilities in the U.S. states of Virginia, California, Oklahoma, Florida and New Mexico. Enditem

Source: Xinhua News Agency

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