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The Madison Record
If approved, Sierra Space could use the Huntsville airport to land the company’s Dream Chaser.

Public input sought in review of proposal to create spaceport at Huntsville airport

HUNTSVILLE – The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) said Friday the public is invited to comment on a Draft Environmental Assessment (EA) for Huntsville International Airport (HSV) to serve as a reentry site for horizontally landed commercial reentry vehicles. The Draft EA also addresses a proposal by Sierra Space Corporation to land its Dream Chaser vehicle at the site up to eight times between 2023 and 2027.

The FAA stated they plan to hold a virtual public hearing for the draft review on Dec. 9 at 5 p.m. as part of the 40-day public comment period that ends on Dec. 22. Public comments can also be submitted to HuntsvilleReentry@icf.com

The Huntsville-Madison Airport Authority is seeking a Reentry Site Operator License and Sierra Space is seeking a Vehicle Operator License. The draft review is part of both licensing processes. It evaluates the potential environmental impacts of the proposed reentry operations, including associated airspace closures.

Following the public comment period, the FAA said they will revise the draft as appropriate and prepare a Final EA. The FAA will then either issue a “Finding of No Significant Impact” or a “Notice of Intent” to prepare a more comprehensive “Environmental Impact Statement”.

The FAA will make licensing determinations after completing the environmental review and all applicable safety and financial responsibility requirements are met.

Currently, there are 12 FAA-licensed commercial spaceports in Alaska, California, Colorado, Florida, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Texas and Virginia.

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