Nasa has agreed to support the development of spaceport at Houston Airport System’s (HAS) Ellington Airport (EFD) in the US.
Under an agreement signed by Nasa and HAS, the latter will have access to the facilities at the formers Johnson Space Center (JSC).
JSC will support the spaceport with safety-specific training, facilities, and technology capabilities, to support suborbital operations and commercial spaceflight endeavours.
HAS, which operates three airports George Bush Intercontinental Airport (IAH), William P. Hobby (HOU) and EFD, has been developing the commercial spaceport for aerospace operations, such as the launching of micro satellites, astronaut training, zero gravity experimentation, spacecraft manufacturing and other potential activities.
Houston Airport System director Mario C. Diaz said: "The Johnson Space Center represents an invaluable asset for the entire City of Houston and especially for those of us who are working to establish Houston Spaceport as a force within the aerospace industry."
One of the primary reasons why the City of Houston made such perfect sense as the site for the nation’s 10th commercial spaceport is the existence of strong intellectual capital at JSC and the willingness of their leadership team to form substantive partnerships."
The tenth commercial spaceport received a Launch Site licence from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) in June 2015, allowing EFD to establish itself as a launch site for Reusable Launch Vehicles (RLV).
RLVs execute horizontal take-offs just like commercial aircraft.
HAS is developing a design centre to facilitate collaboration between Nasa, the FAA, and the aerospace industry.
Houston spacesport received the City Council approval in July 2013, and HAS unveiled the design in September that year.
The spaceport includes a terminal facility, an aviation museum and the accompanying aerospace industries.
Image: HAS received a Launch Site licence from the FAA in June. Photo: courtesy of Fly2houston.