Almost a decade ago the space industry as we knew it was significantly disrupted. The end of the space shuttle program and the introduction of new commercial space companies would lead to innovative opportunities to create affordable access to orbital and suborbital space for everyone. The landscape of the space industry was experiencing “disruptive innovation” that was about to change access to space forever. Ground operators across the nation began to see the benefits of establishing a spaceport in their communities in the hopes of capturing lasting economic benefits. Never has the opportunity for spaceports been so lucrative, so achievable and yet much work still remains.
Ground Operators seeking to establish themselves in the market would soon discover that the licensing process and site development requires significant time and money, and doesn’t always go as planned. Environmental Assessments, explosive site planning, air space considerations and coordination with the FAA takes time, therefore stressing the importance to execute the process well and avoid setbacks.
The value of contracting with an experienced, fully integrated team of professional to assist with these processes cannot be overstated. Working with the right design firm that offers specialized, comprehensive, in-house design services improves all aspects of the planning and design process. Proper infrastructure planning and development can help avoid and navigate severe impacts on land and financial resources. Selecting the right consultant with experience in both flight and ground operations provides a level of understanding and insight that accelerates the learning curve and can mitigate or eliminate many the risks throughout the process.
Considering that the space revival that we all have been experience for the past several years is still in its infancy and there is still much work to be done, in some cases several months, in other cases years. Funding has and always will be a critical resource for all spaceports. Using these funds effectively is crucial, just as crucial as time. Planning and development takes time, especially when interaction with state and federal agencies is involved. Reducing risk and increasing confidence is key to any large undertaking of this magnitude. Be sure to make the best use of your resources as you can.