WATKINS, Colo. — The potential future Adams County spaceport location now has a name.
The Colorado Air and Space Port is moving forward in the process to be considered as the future site for the 11th spaceport location in the United States. The Federal Aviation Administration Office of Commercial Space Transportation (FAA AST) approved the county’s spaceport operator license application on Aug. 17 after a 180-day review period.
The county’s spaceport application allows vehicles to make horizontal takeoffs and landings. The vehicles will take off like traditional airplanes — using jet fuel — and will fly to a special-use airspace where rocket boosters launch the craft into suborbital flight. For landings, the craft will drop out of suborbital flight and land like a traditional airplane.
Adams County said the spaceport will also provide a boost to the state’s economy by keeping the nearly 200,000 jobs connected to the aerospace industry in Colorado. The spaceport would also create new employment opportunities.
Gaining a site operator’s license is just the first step. A space company will then have to apply to be licensed as an operator at the spaceport, and the vehicle that company uses for suborbital flight will also need to be approved and licensed.
Future spaceport operations would be based at the current location of Front Range Airport in Watkins. The spaceport site contains 3,200 acres and is surrounded by 7,000 more acres of privately owned industrial property.