$18.8M in funding approved for Phase 1 of Houston Spaceport project

City Council approves funding for project at Ellington Airport

By Troy Blevins - Graham Media Group

HOUSTON - More than $18.8 million in funding was approved Wednesday by Houston City Council for Phase 1 of the Houston Spaceport project at Ellington Airport, officials said.

The completion of work on the design-build agreement with Texas Sterling-Banicki, JV LLC will provide infrastructure important to the development of the 90 acres set aside for Phase 1. Officials said this includes streets, water, wastewater, electrical power distribution facilities and communications facilities that are necessary to attract future development.

"Houston offers a booming economy with a strong aerospace industrial base, a well-educated workforce with experience in the high-tech demands of space exploration and plenty of room for growth at a strategically located airport facility," Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner said. "The Houston Spaceport project looks to the future and embraces our city's spirit of adventure and innovation."

Officials said the 10th licensed commercial spaceport in the U.S. will foster and accelerate key aerospace engineering activities, which include:

- Component and composite development and fabrication.
- Space vehicle assembly.
- Zero-gravity scientific and medical experiments.
- Microsatellite deployment.
- Astronaut training and development.
- Space tourism.

"Phase 1 is an important first step toward our final vision for the Houston Spaceport," Houston Aviation Director Mario C. Diaz said. "With more than 600 acres of land available for lease at the location, the Houston Spaceport is primed for development, and with vital infrastructure in place, momentum for this exciting project continues to build -- much like our future partners will with these key assets already in place."

Officials said construction in Phase 1 will eventually include a co-working space near the Houston Aerospace Support Center, as well as land for several aerospace companies and more.

"We are excited to move forward with the construction of the infrastructure that we've been planning for," said Arturo Machuca, the general manager of Ellington Airport and the Houston Spaceport. "This is an important step in the process, putting in place the groundwork for future partners and giving them the infrastructure necessary for developing future ventures."

More than $13.1 million of the funding will go to pre-construction and design services, and construction phase services, officials said. Funding for the project will come from the Houston Airport System Airport Improvement Fund.

Click here to learn more about the Houston Spaceport project.

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