Northern Michigan Picked for New Rocket Launch Site
Michigan certainly has a little bit of everything to offer, so why not add a spaceport to the mix?
The Michigan Aerospace Manufacturers Association has announced the location of a new vertical-launch spaceport. After a year long process, the new site will be located near Lake Superior. The 3-mile stretch of undeveloped land along the lake is about 16 miles north of Marquette in the Upper Peninsula.
With the news, it means that Michigan will be one of only a handful of states that will have active space launch locations. According to the Detroit Free Press, Gavin Brown, executive director of the Michigan Aerospace Manufacturers Association said the site could be operational in the next five or six years if plans come to fruition.
Those involved in getting Michigan chosen know the importance of the big announcement. “This announcement is a true win for the people of the U.P.,” said Sen Ed McBroom, who represents Michigan’s 38th District. “We are very pleased that the U.P.’s many attributes were recognized through the vetting process. The vertical spaceport could bring quality job prospects to the region and highlight Michigan as a center for excellence and innovation.”
According to Brown, Michigan is ahead of the game and has several advantages on its side.“The key here is that we’re ahead of the game in trying to put this space port into operation by 2022,” he says. “Other states will take anywhere from six to 10 years because they aren’t approaching it from a business perspective like we are, but from the perspective of trying to get the government to pay for everything."
Earlier this year Oscoda-Wurtsmith Airport, south of Alpena on the state’s east coast, was selected as the top candidate for rockets to launch from beneath airplane wings, otherwise known as horizontal launches. The Michigan Aerospace Manufacturers Association says between the two sites it will create more than 2,000 jobs, and support a business complex of around 40,000 jobs when combined with the build of a future command and control center.
Before anything can move forward the FAA will also have to sign off on the plans and the Marquette site will need approval granted from local and state officials.