HSV is the first commercial airport slated to receive FAA license to land commercial space vehicle.
Initially, the obtaining of the FAA license is specific to Dream Chaser.
However, this proof of concept supports other space reentry vehicles, and each would require additional FAA licensing, AviationPros reports.
The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) granted Huntsville International Airport (HSV) a commercial space vehicle reentry license, the airport said.
HSV, located in North Alabama, is the first commercial airport in the U.S. to be approved as a reentry site for a space vehicle landing.
HSV submitted the application for the reentry license in November 2021.
The approval depended on the FAA finding no significant impact during its Environmental Assessment.
The assessment included examining air space, noise, historical preservation, wildlife and impact to waterways in the area.
The FAA license is specific to Sierra Space’s Dream Chaser spaceplane only and any other space reentry vehicles would require additional FAA licensing.
Sierra Space has already been awarded six missions by NASA to resupply the International Space Station.
The cooperation depends on obtaining the FAA License to Operate a Reentry Site and a Reentry Vehicle License.
HSV’s space vehicle reentry license means that Dream Chaser could potentially land at the airport from 2023.
“Huntsville has propelled us into another historic first for our state with the award of the commercial space vehicle reentry license for Huntsville International Airport,” said Gov. Kay Ivey.
“We appreciate the collaboration exhibited by our public and private partners to make this a reality.”
Landing the Dream Chaser in Huntsville was identified as one of three pillars of the commercial space strategy developed in 2016 for the Huntsville/Madison County Chamber.
The chamber has been working to build a commercial market for low Earth orbit using the Dream Chaser as the cornerstone.
Efforts include sponsoring two competitions with the European Space Agency, hosting three workshops for industry and academic partners, hosting a panel discussion on research and development in microgravity at South by Southwest (SXSW), exhibiting at the National Space Symposium and Space Tech Expo Europe, and several media stories including a national profile on Fox and Friends.
The reentry license application was submitted by Huntsville International Airport in November 2021, and approval was contingent upon the finding of no significant impact through the FAA’s Environmental Assessment.
The public was invited to participate in the assessment, which examined air space, noise, historical preservation, wildlife and impact to waterways within the anticipated reentry trajectory of the vehicle.