LAS CRUCES, N.M. — The former head of the Federal Aviation Administration’s commercial space office says the government should create a policy that promotes the development of spaceports as not just launch sites but also as hubs for economic development.
In an Oct. 10 presentation at the International Symposium for Personal and Commercial Spaceflight (ISPCS) here, George Nield took issue with the conventional wisdom that there is an oversupply of commercial spaceports in the United States.
The FAA has 11 active licenses for commercial spaceports, according to its website. Of those 11, five — Midland International Airport in Texas, Colorado Air and Space Port, Spaceport Oklahoma, Ellington Airport in Texas and Cecil Field in Florida — have yet to host a launch or landing.
Some in government and industry have questioned if there are too many spaceports. One case was last December, when Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross discussed commercial space issues in a call with reporters. “I’m a little concerned that there’ll be such a rush to do that that we’ll have too many spaceports,” he said. “What you’ll end up with is a lot of ghost facilities.”
“I strongly disagree with that assessment,” Nield, who retired as associate ...