Commercial space flight may be coming to Colorado as soon as 2016. Front Range Airport, just southeast of Denver International Airport will soon complete a spaceport application. From there, the Federal Aviation Administration will have six months to evaluate it, and make the final decision.
Front Range Airport's proximity to downtown Denver, as well as rail lines, interstates and DIA make it an ideal location according to airport manager Dave Ruppel.
"It has about 3,600-acres so we have a lot of space for aerospace related and commercial space related businesses to be able to operate out there and to build their operations," he said.
One of those businesses is Switzerland based S3, who last year signed a memorandum of understanding to house its North American headquarters in Adams County.
S3 is developing a flight system similar to Virgin Galactic, but instead of offering space tourism, Ruppel said the company will focus on satellites.
"When you look at aerospace and commercial space development, Colorado is already a leader," Ruppel said, citing broad support for the project from the likes of the Governor to area businesses.
"We have one of the top aerospace companies and employees; we have a wide range of research type colleges and universities that work on those type of projects," he said. "It's just a logical fit to have a spaceport right here close by where those businesses can have access so they can complete those projects they are working on."
Even if the FAA approves the application, it won't be unique. There are nine spaceports currently in the U.S., Ruppel said another eight are in the application process.