SPARKS, Nev. (MyNews4.com & KRNV) -- In a joint news conference held on April 10 at the Rice University Space Institute, Sierra Nevada Corporation (SNC) and the Houston Airport System (HAS) announced plans to possibly combine the Houston-based spaceport and SNC's Dream Chaser, a spacecraft that can land at the spaceport directly from low-Earth orbit.
SNC and HAS signed a letter of intent to work together exploring the possibilities associated with the proposed Houston Spaceport. As part of the initiative, the organizations will study the physical, operational and regulatory requirements for SNC's commercial space vehicle, Dream Chaser, to utilize the spaceport as one of its potential landing sites.
This effort will contribute to defining a long range strategy for the development of a commercial space industry in Texas. In addition to serving the needs of government, it will also have science and commercial applications.
"Dream Chaser's ability to land on a commercial runway such as Ellington offers, for the first time, a realistic path for America's space program to return and be seen locally by the thousands of people who make space happen every day in Houston and gives tribute to the generations that have made us the leaders in exploration," said Mark N. Sirangelo, corporate vice president and head of SNC's Space Systems. "With the unique combination of NASA, the local aerospace industry, many of whom are already partnered on our program and academic institutions such as Rice University, combined with the potential of a future spaceport, Houston's future in space commerce is a go."
HAS Business Development Manager Arturo Machuca said The Houston Airport System plans to submit their official application for plans to bring Houston Spaceport to Ellington Airport to the Federal Aviation Administration's Office of Commercial Space in July of 2014.