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article imageTexas planning commercial spaceflight hub

By Eduardo Arrufat     Aug 13, 2013 in Technology
Houston - Houston authorities are planning to reclaim its place in space travel as home of NASA by collaborating with the private sector of the spaceflight industry.
“Houston, we’ve had a problem,” announced Commander Jim Lovell of the Apollo XIII mission back in 1970. Over 40 years have passed since one of the most famous quotes that the space race left in our history — the other being “One small step for man, one giant leap for mankind”. However, today the problems are not up in orbit, but down on the grounds of NASA. Since the space shuttle program was canceled due to budget cuts, the American Space Agency has to pay the Russians and Europeans to ship supplies up to the International Space Station (ISS).
In a progressive move, the Bay Area Houston Economic Partnership has come up with a solution proposal — open up a commercial spaceflight hub for all the private companies currently developing space flight technology. "We are not trying to reinvent anything, but want to grow into the future of spaceflight," says Bob Mitchell, president of the Economic Partnership that works with NASA to identify potential partners. "Houston is the home of human space exploration."
A combination of economic incentives, tailored legislation and the fact that many companies in the sector already have settled in the area might be key for the fate of the proposal. As the BBC reports, Texas has competition — Florida, Georgia or Puerto Rico are all tempting SpaceX to chose them to built the new launch site. SpaceX currently builds its Falcon 9 rockets in California and drives them by truck coast-to-coast to Cape Canaveral in Florida from where they take supplies to the ISS. A factor in favor of Texas is that they already host a rocket development facility near Waco property of SpaceX.
Although NASA keeps exploring ideas like sending people outside the solar system and establishing a human colony on Mars, this endeavor aims at the more commercial aspect of the space industry. “Texas state and local governments are working with Houston's Johnson Space Center on research and technology projects that can be commercialized for more down-to-earth purposes, such as offshore oil exploration and human medical applications,” says Josh Havens, spokesperson for Governor Rick Perry's office.
Other commercial opportunity within the space environment is the sub-orbital reusable vehicles (SRVs). Among the most advanced in this field is Virgin Galactic, and although they already have their own spaceport in New Mexico, many more competitors might jump on this trend is Virgin manages to settle a trend for tourism or scientific experimentation. In addition, Dallas News reported that Jeff Bezos has recently started operations with Blue Origin, another space flight company from the founder of Amazon that has installed them in West Texas and is trying to create low-cost space travel.
More about Texas, NASA, Space, Spaceflight, Virgin galactic
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