FAA considering plan to land space vehicles in Huntsville

Alabama News

In this Saturday, April 24, 2021 photo made available by NASA, the SpaceX Crew Dragon capsule approaches the International Space Station for docking. SpaceX’s four astronauts had barely settled into orbit on Friday, April 23, when they were ordered back into their spacesuits because of a potential collision with orbiting junk. It turns out there was no threat, the U.S. Space Command acknowledged Monday, April 26. The error is under review. (NASA via AP)

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (AP) — The Federal Aviation Administration is considering a plan to land commercial space vehicles in Alabama.

The agency recently released information about a proposal by the Huntsville airport and Nevada-based Sierra Space to use the site roughly 15 miles (24 kilometers) west of downtown to land ships that resemble a small space shuttle with upswept wings, WHNT-TV reported.

The spacecraft would be launched elsewhere and land on an existing runway in Huntsville, which has the largest commercial airport in north Alabama and is a hub for the aerospace industry.

The Huntsville-Madison County Airport Authority said the FAA is conducting a preliminary review of the proposal.

A study completed in 2015 found the airport compatible for the so-called Dream Chaser, which Sierra Space describes as a spaceplane designed to take crew and cargo into low-Earth orbit. It would be launched on an Atlas V rocket.

Both the airport and the company would need licenses before any landings could occur.

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