Getting a space shuttle to land in Huntsville could get closer to becoming a reality.
The Alabama Space Authority held its first meeting Tuesday. The committee was created earlier this year to work towards obtaining a federally licensed spaceport. State Senator Gerald Dial was selected as the new chairman.
“The technology is being developed here in Huntsville and we’ll have to launch that from somewhere. Why shouldn’t it be from Alabama?” Dial said.
The federal government is expected to approve several licensed commercial spaceports across the United States. Huntsville hopes to be one of those cities to land one. The airport has already submitted some paperwork to begin the process.
“If they make a space rocket here in Huntsville and you got to put it on a barge and take it all the way to Mobile and then take it to the Panama Canal, up the West Coast and take it to the Nevada desert out there to launch. What a cost? You could just put that thing on the small truck and take it down the road and launch,” Dial said.
State leaders see the spaceport as a landing spot for the shuttle “Dream Chaser” and a gateway to the city becoming a hub for the commercial space industry.
“You know Huntsville is already been working with a private company about the idea of landing the aircraft here, so we may be a little ahead of other places, but the full feasibility study will let us know the right place to put it,” U.S. Space & Rocket Center CEO Dr. Deborah Barnhart said.
Barnhart was selected at the Vice-chair of the committee. While the Alabama Space Authority has not outright said Huntsville will be the chosen city in the state, it is the front runner for the spaceport.
Creating an aviation facility for space crafts would also encourage other aerospace-related businesses and promote space exploration and tourism.
“Space tourism is something that everyone is interested in. I know that, because of the 800,000 graduates from space Camp. Every one of them wants to be a space tourist,” Barnhart said.
No timeline was given from the Alabama Space Authority on when this process will be complete.