Houston, Texas is already home to the Johnson Space Center, responsible for the famous Apollo program and every Space Shuttle mission.
Now, Texas’ largest city will also be home to the tenth commercial spaceport in the United States.
Renderings for the project, shown here, are what officials hope the field will look like, once their goal of 80 private partnerships is fulfilled and the facility is constructed.
“Houston has been at the forefront of aviation history and innovation for decades,” Houston Aviation Director Mario C. Diaz said in a statement.
“Not only does this opportunity reinforce an already long-established connection with the aerospace industry, it offers Houston an opportunity to strengthen its reputation as a forward-looking city and leader in creating high-tech, next-generation type jobs.”
Spaceport Houston is a plan years in the making. Originally proposed by the City of Houston in 2013, the project was finalised and announced by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) in June of this year.
Ellington Airport, a general aviation field just south of Houston’s central business district, will be home to the spaceport. It’s abundant space for construction makes it an ideal location, officials said.
Eventually, the spaceport will “act as an accelerator for innovation and an incubator for growth,” fuelled by a “design and solutions lab” lead by the University of Houston.
Arturo Machuca, General Manager of Ellington Airport, the future home of Spaceport Houston, told Business Insider that agreements have already been secured with 5 companies. Machuca expects flights to begin taking off in 2016.
America’s fourth-largest city already has a robust air transportation network, with over 53 million passengers passing through both George Bush Intercontinental and Hobby Airports in 2014.
Now work begins on securing a Launch Site Licence from the FAA. This does not include vertical takeoffs, due to the fields proximity to urban areas, but it will allow for spaceflight from the airfield’s two runways.
“We look forward to completing our vision to create an aerospace industry cluster at the Houston Spaceport,” Machuca said.
“Now that we are officially the 10th commercial spaceport in the U.S. we are ready to work with our aerospace industry partners to take advantage of the unique location, infrastructure and human resources that the fourth largest city in the US has to offer.”