Assistant Majority Leader State Sen. Gilmer Capps said Oklahoma's aerospace industry took a major step forward Tuesday with the approval of an operator's license for the Oklahoma Spaceport in Burns Flat.
It creates the first inland spaceport in the nation and allows the Oklahoma Spaceport/Clinton-Sherman Airport to serve as a site for the launch and recovery of sub-orbital reusable space vehicles.
Capps said the Oklahoma Space Industry Development Authority (OSIDA) was notified Monday by the Federal Aviation Administration's Office of Commercial Space Transportation that the Spaceport's operator's license was approved.
"This is great news for Oklahoma and for all those who have worked tirelessly to make it a reality," said Senator Capps, D-Snyder. "It's been my goal to create a working spaceport that would enhance Oklahoma's aerospace industry and we are doing just that."
Bill Khourie, executive director of the Oklahoma Space Authority, said the license approval took almost six years to complete. He thanked Capps for his unwavering support for the spaceport.
"Senator Capps is without question a beacon of light and the driving force to develop a spaceport and aerospace resources for Oklahoma," Khourie said. "He had a vision for Oklahoma. He basically led us to where we are today in achievements and accomplishments."
Khourie also thanked the Oklahoma Legislature for its commitment to helping create the spaceport.
"The courage, support and partnership of a visionary Oklahoma Legislature has enabled OSIDA to attain this major goal, one that will produce significant statewide economic benefits and will be a centerpiece in the development of new research and technologies," he said. "This is just an incredible flight into the future for Oklahoma and commercial space."
OSIDA's mission is to help plan the development of spaceport facilities, launch systems and projects, and to successfully promote and simulate the creation of space commerce, education and space related industries in Oklahoma.
"This license allows us to expand our current aerospace programs as well as making Oklahoma more attractive to out-of-state companies looking to relocate or expand their current businesses," Capps said. "It's a win-win situation."