By Jake Rayl

Spaceport Colorado is a commercial aircraft operation looking for a horizontal launch license. We met with Ken Buck Representatives Erika Chaves and Cody LeBlanc who started off the listening session in Burlington. Those in attendance were then able to meet Dave Ruppel, airport director out of Adams County.

Those who are a part of Spaceport Colorado have produced a vehicle meant to be launched into suborbital space. The vehicle is the same size as a medium business jet. It takes off just like any other commercial flight, but then produces two sonic booms, to help get it in and out of suborbital space. While up in space they pick the angle for re-entry, and head back toward earth with the second sonic boom. It would turn a flight from Denver to Tokyo into an hour and a half flight!

As the session continued locals asked, “Why here?” Ruppel’s response was that in this area the operation would be far enough away to have less negative impact on other commercial flights. Local air traffic in the Burlington area would see minor effects. Flight for life aircrafts have priority over all commercial flights including Spaceport. Spaceport is searching for a new way of transportation and economic growth in Colorado. It would produce new jobs and new opportunity for the people of Colorado.

The vehicle breaks the sound barrier at 100,000 feet so only a small amount noise pollution produced is noticeable. With cattle and other livestock in the area it is still a concern.

Spaceport Colorado is looking into having 52 launches a year at peak operation. The vehicle will have a crew of two on board to operate the flight. Each launch will be in the daylight as long as the weather remains fair for the day of the launch. There will be no test flights because everything is pre-approved.

The vehicle will have to land at runways with licenses for that type of aircraft. Spaceport and others are working together to separate air space.

All negative impacts so far are manageable. As of this moment things are still in the developmental stages. Spaceport still needs one company to really get things going. Ruppel also explained that it’s good to have a little bit of everything to maximize economic benefits. If you have any questions or concerns, Spaceport Colorado or Congressman Ken Buck would be happy to help and encourage getting involved.