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The future of space landing is coming to HSV

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Dream Chaser

Dream Chaser

The future of commercial space landing is coming to Rocket City! Huntsville will be the first airport in the country to operate as a commercial space reentry site.

"This community passed the test. It's not just Huntsville International Airport, it's this whole community," says Mark McDaniel, the chairman of the board of directors for the Huntsville International Airport.

It has been years in the making, but the Rocket City has finally passed the test. "It's a dream, and it's so big, and that's what's so exciting about it today," says McDaniel.

After an extensive environmental assessment from the Federal Aviation Administration, they found no significant impact to the community and issued a license for our airport to become the first ever approved reentry site for a space vehicle landing.

"We know that this community is responsible for so many historic firsts in the space industry, and so this is just one more way that we can add to those feathers in our cap here in Huntsville," says Mary Swanstrom, the public relations manager at Huntsville International Airport.

The FAA approved eight reentry operations from 2023 to 2027, all with Sierra Space's new 'Dream Chaser'. It's a reusable space plane that is going to resupply cargo to the International Space Station.

It's a perfect fit, given that the ISS Payload Operations Center is right here at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center.

"You look back in history and they will say the first time a commercial space vehicle landed on a commercial airport was in Huntsville airport, Rocket City," says McDaniel.

It's a testament to the great minds here in Huntsville, and a historic first that will hopefully inspire more generations to keep shooting for the stars.

"Just think about the future. You know, what's going to inspire youth to pursue careers in math, science, and engineering. Visions and dreams like this that brings it home. This is not talking about it, this is doing it," says McDaniel.

Now it's up to Sierra Space to get a vehicle operator license from the FAA, but everything is on track for their first reentry at the Huntsville International Airport in 2023.

The dream chaser plans to launch aboard a rocket from Cape Canaveral, Florida, travel up to the space station, and touch down in Huntsville.

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