Race for Space: Upper Peninsula Edition

Sugar Loaf Mountain by David Marvin

The Michigan Aerospace Manufacturers Association has announced that findings from a site-selection process for a vertical space launch site identified a location just north of Marquette:

Conducted by spaceport consultants BRPH and Kimley-Horn, the site-selection process has been a yearlong effort. Sites were ranked based on several factors, including existing commercial and public infrastructure, geographic and terrestrial mapping, living standards and workforce development. Operations are expected to begin by early 2025.

…The announcement for the vertical space launch comes just months after MAMA identified the Oscoda/Wurtsmith Airport outside of Oscoda as the top candidate for a horizontal spaceport. Licensing through the Federal Aviation Administration, or FAA, has begun for that site with operations projected to begin in late 2023 or early 2024. The two launch sites in Marquette and Oscoda, along with a yet-to-be-identified command and control center, will create more than 2,000 jobs. These sites will be instrumental in creating a space ecosystem in the state that is projected to top 40,000 new jobs by 2025.

“Michigan has a real opportunity to support a space-based ecosystem,” said Gavin Brown, executive director of MAMA. “The Marquette location will be a critical component, bringing low-earth orbit vertical launch capabilities to the state to meet the domestic and global demand. By integrating sophisticated infrastructure with first-rate human talent, Michigan can be one of the leaders in the space industry.

Could Michigan become a space leader? Read lots more at the Michigan Aerospace Manufacturers Association website including renderings of the site!

David took this two summers ago, looking over Lake Superior from Sugar Loaf Mountain towards the area of the proposed site. Head over to his Flickr for the latest!

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Rendering of the proposed launch site by MAMA