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Houston Airport Gets License To Become A Commercial Spaceport

Sometime in the next few years, you may be able to travel into space from a nearby airport, now that federal officials have given approval.


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receive Ellington Spaceport license from FAA
Mayor Annise Parker and Houston Airport System Director Mario Diaz receive Ellington Spaceport license from Dr. George Nield, Associate Administrator for FAA Commercial Space Transportation.


Following a lengthy environmental study, the Federal Aviation Administration has approved Ellington Airport’s application to become a commercial spaceport.

Houston city officials have been working to lure private companies that want to do horizontal launches of reusable space vehicles. Several schools also plan to use Ellington for aerospace research.

Houston Mayor Annise Parker says the southeast Houston facility is a logical site for a spaceport, especially since it’s close to NASA.

“There’s plenty of land. We already have the runways in place. It’s surrounded by that strong aerospace presence,” says Parker.

Investment in the spaceport is expected to be in the hundreds of millions of dollars. As for who’s putting up the money, Airport System Director Mario Diaz expects it’ll be a mix of public and private funds.

“We’re not looking to speculate investments. We’re making investments based on the demands as they arise,” explains Diaz.

The Ellington Spaceport is now the 10th licensed commercial spaceport in the U.S.


Future plans for the Houston Spaceport. Renderings courtesy of the Houston Airport System. 

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Gail Delaughter

Gail Delaughter

News Anchor

From early-morning interviews with commuters to walks through muddy construction sites, Gail covers all aspects of getting around Houston. That includes walking, driving, cycling, taking the bus, and occasionally flying. Before she became transportation reporter in 2011, Gail hosted weekend programs for Houston Public Media. She's also covered courts in...

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