The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) of the United States Department of Transportation issues a license to the Huntsville-Madison Airport Authority in Alabama to operate Huntsville International Airport (HSV) as a commercial space re-entry site.
The license allows the airport to offer its site to Sierra Space Dream Chaser vehicles returning to Earth from future NASA resupply missions to the International Space Station. The re-entry site operator license is valid for five years.
The FAA license evaluation process involved environmental and safety reviews. In addition, the FAA will work with the airport to develop the necessary notifications and other procedures to safely and effectively integrate commercial space reentry into its operations.
The FAA also releases the Final Environmental Assessment and No Significant Impact Finding/Decisional Record for the Authority’s re-entry site license. These same final environmental documents also cover Sierra Space’s related but separate proposal to conduct up to eight re-entry operations at the airport from 2023 to 2027.
Sierra Space, or any other commercial space vehicle operator, cannot perform re-entry operations at the airport until it has obtained a vehicle operator license from the FAA.
The Huntsville re-entry site is the 14th FAA-licensed commercial spaceport. To see a map of all US spaceports, click here.