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FAA Spaceport grants will strengthen America's commercial space industry
by Ray LaHood
US Secretary of Transportation.
Washington DC (SPX) Aug 31, 2011

File image.

If you're like me, you probably watched the final landing of the Space Shuttle Atlantis last month with a strong sense of nostalgia for an astounding era in American space travel. The good news is that the Federal Aviation Administration has been working hard to usher in a new era for U.S. space transportation.

I'm excited to announce that the FAA is awarding grants to projects at three spaceports. With matching support, these projects will develop and expand our nation's commercial space transportation infrastructure.

These grants will go a long way toward meeting President Obama's National Space Policy and its greater emphasis on using the commercial space industry to meet our current and future space transportation needs.

That's right; although the NASA Shuttle era has drawn to a close, the U.S. already has a commercial space transportation industry that is ready, willing, and able to meet the challenges of providing access to space for science, research, tourism, and other national needs. This industry is absolutely poised to take American space transportation to the next level.

And, since 1984, the FAA's Office of Commercial Space Transportation has been in charge of regulating and promoting this dynamic sector. The new matching grants are just the latest example of that support.

The FAA has also issued licenses for more than 200 launches, licensed eight FAA-approved launch sites known as spaceports, and helped ensure that no loss of life or serious injury has been associated with these efforts.

That good work continues with these grants to three projects:

+ $125,000 to the Virginia Commercial Space Flight Authority's Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport to improve security and remote monitoring;

+ $125,000 to the East Kern Airport District's Mojave Air and Space Port in California for a Supplemental Environmental Assessment; and

+ $249,378 to the New Mexico Space Port Authority's Spaceport America to construct a mobile structure to prepare larger rockets before launch.

I think the FAA's Office of Commercial Space Transportation has a terrific record, and I am confident these grants will provide another step in the right direction. I hope you'll join me in getting excited about America's next great era of space travel.

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