Upper Michigan will be the site of a new command center for a Marquette spaceport.
The Chippewa County International Airport is the third and final site of a statewide space initiative.
“It’s going to take this expertise to move us into the space state status,” said Gavin Brown, Executive Director of The Michigan Aerospace Manufactures Association.
The proposed command center is preparing to manage low Earth orbit launches from the vertical launch site at Granot Loma and the horizontal launch site in Lower Michigan.
“The new command and control center location in Chippewa County will use state-of-the-art technology and will provide mission support success to both Oscoda and Marquette,” said Chris Olson, President of Chippewa County Economic Development Corporation.
All three sites are part of an effort to launch satellites that will offer 5G data and internet.
“Access to rural areas for both medical and also educational purposes,” said Brown.
The Michigan Aerospace Manufactures Association, or MAMA, says the Sawyer International Airport was also one of four finalists from across the state.
“This site has the existing facilities that can easily be converted to support the command and control centers mission,” said Brown.
The center is expected to be fully operational by July of 2023. This as MAMA says it is finishing up the feasibility study on the launch location north of Marquette and will then start an environmental study.
“We don’t want to make any claims on the environment side,” said Brown. “We want the facts of the scientific community to provide those.”
Concern over the Granot Loam site continues.
“If they industrialize this zone, then whether a rocket launch site is built there or not, it’ll be a slippery slope to other heavy industrialization and destruction of what we really need to obtain,” said Dennis Ferraro, President of Citizens for a Safe & Clean Lake Superior.
MAMA says once the environment study is complete in two to three years, it will make the findings available to the public.
“We’re looking at becoming as carbon neutral as possible,” said Brown. “Better than any other spaceport in the world.”
MAMA says 400 to over a 1,000 jobs will be created for the Upper Peninsula and that the project is primarily privately funded.
Ferraro say he’s seen studies that show that number is significantly lower.
The Granot Loma site is currently set to open in August of 2025.
The Michigan Aerospace Manufacturers Association (MAMA) announced the selection of Chippewa County as the site of its new command and control center on Thursday.
Chippewa was among four communities across the state considered for the command and control center. Site selection – co-led by spaceport consultants BRPH and Kimley-Horn – was based on many factors, including community support, constructability, existing communication infrastructure and established workforce and aerospace industry.
Chippewa was chosen as the third and final site in the Michigan Launch Initiative, a public-private partnership organized by MAMA that is expected to bring an estimated 40,000 new jobs and solidify the state’s place as a premier commercial aerospace destination. The new command and control center will enable the MLI to interface with the U.S. Department of Defense, or DOD, and other related agencies on highly sensitive and defense-related projects.
The Michigan Launch Initiative, or MLI, also includes a horizontal space launch site in Oscoda and a vertical space launch site in Marquette County. Both sites were announced in 2020 as part of a yearlong selection process that included the command and control center.
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