Michigan Spaceport for Best Access to Polar Orbits for Megasatellite Constellations

Chuck Lauer presenting “A Multi-Site Spaceport Licensing Plan for Launching to Polar Orbit Over Lake Huron and Lake Superior” with the Michigan Space Initiative at Space Access 2019.

Northern Michigan is uniquely positioned for a polar orbit satellite launch facility: low density population, extensive restricted airspace, interstate highway system accessible, engineering and manufacturing capacity, and most critically, home of MAMA’s Michigan Launch Initiative (MLI).

Michigan is coordinating with Ontario, Canada on an international multi-site spaceport effort.

Multiple aerospace companies, including SpaceX, Blue Origin, ISRO, ESA Vega, Firefly Aerospace and the US Department of Defense, have plans to launch thousands of satellites into low Earth orbit (LEO). From 2007 thru 2018 over 1,200 small satellites were launched. Between 2018 and 2027 more than 7,000 small satellite launches are planned… if sufficient launch capacity exists.

At full capacity, the MLI launch site will conduct 22-25 launches per year, with command center operating 24/7 for northern tracking operations. The infrastructure investment budget is $50-75 million. Estimated revenue per launch is $15,000,000 or $375,000,000 per year.

Preliminary timeline is launch facility site selection Q2 2019; public/private funding secured Q3 2019; permits & environmental impact Q3 2020; ground break facility construction Q2 2021; first launch Q2 2022.

The Nellis Range in Michigan is about the same size as the Alpena Complex.

Chuck Lauer runs Rocketplane Global which is developing a spaceplane.

The Michigan Aerospace Manufacturers Association has been corralling investors and seeking federal permitting for the proposed spaceport — dubbed the Michigan Launch Initiative — that would do vertical launches and also handle the takeoff and landing of airplanes that drop rockets that shoot into space.

SOURCES – Live Coverage of Chuck Lauer presentation at Space Access 2019.
Written By Brian Wang, Nextbigfuture.com

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