Federal Grant Announced for Denver Spaceport Study

The office of Sen. Mark Udall, D-Colo., issued the following news release:

Senators Mark Udall and Michael Bennet announced today the approval of $200,000 in grant funding from the Federal Aviation Association (FAA) to conduct a feasibility study on locating a spaceport in Denver.

The application is part of a collaborative public-private push to establish a spaceport in Colorado. The feasibility study is the first step in a process that could ultimately land a spaceport in Colorado and transform the state into a hub for commercial space flight. A spaceport is similar to an airport, but allows travelers to reach their destinations by traveling outside of Earth's atmosphere, cutting a trip to Australia, for example, from nearly 20 hours to under five.

"Colorado is an ideal hub for a spaceport - we are home to the nation's second-largest aerospace industry, a well-educated workforce, and a large technology business sector," Udall said. "This competitive grant will support Colorado's advances in the way we travel in space, and will help grow economic opportunities and well-paying jobs for Coloradans."

"Having a spaceport in Denver will make Colorado a leader in space travel and solidify our reputation as a pioneer in the 21st century innovation economy," Bennet said. "It will bring jobs to our state and fuel economic development and scientific research. This effort has been an 'all hands on deck' approach and I'm proud to partner with leaders throughout the state to work on making this dream a reality."

"Commercial space transportation is a rapidly-growing industry sector, and as the nation's second-largest private sector aerospace economy, Colorado is already playing a leading role in the commercialization of human spaceflight," said Tom Clark, CEO of the Metro Denver Economic Development Corporation. "We see Spaceport Colorado as a key driver for bringing a wide array of spaceflight-related business to our state, including spacecraft development and manufacturing, advanced scientific research, and crew training."

Dennis Heap, Front Range Airport's Director of Aviation, said, "Spaceport Colorado will have a positive impact on every family in Colorado, directly or indirectly."

"A spaceport in Colorado will leverage the deep aerospace, aviation and command and control expertise of companies and public resources in Colorado Springs and give our companies access to the emerging commercial space market," said Joe Raso, President and CEO of the Greater Colorado Springs Chamber and EDC.

In February, Colorado's Congressional delegation signed a Bennet-led letter to George C. Nield, associate administrator for commercial space transportation at the FAA, expressing support for the project.

The proposed site of the Colorado Spaceport is Front Range Airport, six miles east of Denver International Airport. The location is considered ideal because it is close to a large urban center - Denver - but it is removed enough to be able to expand if needed.

By: Mike Saccone

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