This will make flying
over the flyover states
a little more exciting!
Did you know that Oklahoma has entered the space race? Don’t feel alone if you haven’t…I follow the aviation news daily and read a dozen trade publications every month, and this one slipped right by me:
The Oklahoma Space Industry Development Authority (OSIDA) is resolved to create in this decade a commercial spaceport that will expand and economically develop the space frontier with advanced spacecraft operation facilities and concentrations of specialized industries in Oklahoma.A “spaceport” in the heartland of America? Yeah, I didn’t see this one coming either, but apparently this project has been around since 1999 when Governor Frank Keating signed SB 720, the Space Authority Industry Development Act, creating the OSIDA. Now, it appears push is coming to shove over airspace near the Spaceport.
AOPA stated this week that the FAA's draft environmental assessment of its intentions to convert Clinton-Sherman Municipal Airport in Clinton, Oklahoma, into a spaceport does not address impacts on GA routes in the area. Let’s hope they are not talking figuratively. AOPA's director of air traffic services, Heidi Williams, makes their case:
"What we have been able to glean from the assessment is a potential impact on airways. For three hours during each launch from Clinton, it is possible that 16 Victor airways could be closed. When combined with the two nearby military operations areas, a launch could severely limit the options for GA aircraft transiting across the entire state of Oklahoma."AOPA has been in contact with the FAA to find a way for these flights to occur under air traffic control separation.
Now I have to say this: If all parties can come to the table and sort out these traffic issues, I say good for Oklahoma! I hope this spaceport brings in thousands of high-tech, high wage jobs for the area, because we ALL know commercial space flight is coming, and coming fast.
The FAA will be having a public hearing at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, March 9, at the South Western Oklahoma Development Authority, Western Technology Center in Burns Flat, Oklahoma.
Find out everything you would like to know about OSIDA here.