There’s no question that the Lake Huron shore is an incredible place to gaze at the stars, but could it also soon be reaching for them? That’s the plan, according to the Michigan Aerospace Manufacturers Association (MAMA), who has named the Oscoda-Wurtsmith Airport as its top candidate for a potential horizontal space launch site in Michigan.
The announcement came at the State Capitol Building yesterday, after an 8-month study to identify the optimal spot for such an endeavor. In June 2019, the Michigan Legislature appropriated $2 million to assess the feasibility of developing one or more low-orbit launch sites in Michigan.
The Oscoda-Wurtsmith Airport is located near the east coast of the Lower Peninsula, north of Tawas and south of Alpena. According to MAMA the airport received the top designation because of its runway infrastructure, business capacity, operational strength and safety track record.
“This initial study is exciting news for the people of northern Michigan, and I look forward to what the continuing study might tell us about how our state might expand into the space sector,” said Sen. Jim Stamas, who represents Oscoda. “The potential to develop a space ecosystem in Michigan complements the long tradition of excellence in automotive manufacturing in our great state.”
The announcement is a first step in determining whether or not Michigan can support a space ecosystem. MAMA will also need to look for an ideal command center and vertical launch site. Meanwhile, it will have more site-specific conversations regarding Oscoda-Wurtsmith, particularly in regard to governmental regulatory agencies, licensing, and commercial partners.
“The announcement of this first important step toward Oscoda becoming the official location for a horizontal spaceport is the news we had been hoping for,” said Rep. Sue Allor, who represents Iosco County. “Oscoda’s prime location and strong community are certainly deserving of this fantastic opportunity, and I will continue working with Sen. Stamas to ensure that we do what we can in Lansing to help make this plan a reality.”