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FAA looking for public comment on additional space travel in Huntsville

Alabama is on its way to boosting the state’s presence in space travel.

The Federal Aviation Administration is discussing plans for Sierra Space to land a new kind of space cargo ship in Huntsville. The company is hoping to start landing its new Dream Chaser spacecraft at Huntsville International Airport. The company wants to land the vehicle up to eight times between 2023 and 2027.

Mary Swanstrom is the Public Relations Manager for the Port of Huntsville. She said it would be a great milestone for Huntsville to be the first city in the U.S. to land the Dream Chaser.

“Huntsville is a community where we’re accustomed to being first. We were. We designed the rocket that put the man on the Moon, so there’s a lot of pride in the ability of our community to support high tech endeavors such as Dream Chaser – bringing it back to Earth,” Swanstrom said.

She said this collaboration with Sierra Space could have many benefits for the city of Huntsville.

“The potential is, once the commercial space vehicle are able to land in our community, then you have the opportunity to for lots of different organizations to be able to utilize it," Swanstrom said, "You might have companies, or universities - they can send their experiments to space.”

Plans to land the spacecraft in Huntsville could take years before the deal is made public. The FAA is asking members of the Huntsville community to email their thoughts about the collaboration. Community input will be accepted until Wednesday, Dec. 22.

Will McLelland is a news intern for Alabama Public Radio.
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