ADAMS COUNTY, Colo. – Colorado’s future as a gateway to space exploration is one step closer to becoming a reality.
That’s because the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has approved Adam County’s bid for an operator license, a government official said Friday. The formal announcement on the license will happen Monday at 11 a.m. at the Government Center in Brighton.
By granting the operator license, the Front Range Airport becomes the 11th facility to be granted such license across the United States.
Spaceport Colorado, whose hub will be located about a mile-and-a-half from the airport’s current grounds, will allow plans to make horizontal takeoffs and landings using jet fuel to fly to a special-use airspace where rocket boosters will then launch the craft into suborbital flight. To land, the craft will have to drop out of suborbital flight to land like a traditional airplane.
The hub is expected to bring a boost to the state’s economy by keeping nearly 200,000 aerospace industry jobs in Colorado and by creating new jobs related to the hub’s operations, a county spokesperson said in a statement posted on the county’s website.
“This license supports the rapid pace of innovation of Colorado-based companies while inviting new investment to grow these 21st century jobs throughout the state,” said Governor John Hickenlooper. “Colorado welcomes the chance to write the next chapter in our country’s space history.”
But the process is far from over.
A space company will have to apply to be licensed as an operator at Spaceport, and the vehicle that company employs employs will also be approved and licensed.