Frequently Asked Questions
What is a spaceport?
Colorado Air and Space Port will serve as America's hub for commercial space transportation, research, and development. Horizontal launch facilities like Colorado Air and Space Port are developing around the world and have the potential to become the foundation for a global suborbital transportation network.
Where is Colorado Air and Space Port?
Colorado Air and Space Port is located at the former Front Range Airport in Watkins in Adams County, only six miles from Denver International Airport and 30 minutes from downtown Denver.
Will rockets take off?
No. The application approved by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is centered on a horizontal, not vertical, launch. In 2017, we changed the horizontal launch vehicle focus of the Colorado Air and Space Port license to the Concept X, dual-propulsion type vehicle. The Concept Y vehicle was too challenging for the FAA to complete airspace analysis on and, with the FAA's very strong support, we agreed to change to the Concept X.
What will a horizontal launch look like?
Colorado Air and Space Port will accommodate vehicles making horizontal takeoffs and landings. The vehicles will take off like traditional airplanes using jet fuel, but after clearing the spaceport, rocket boosters launch the craft into suborbital flight. To land, the craft drops out of suborbital flight and will land like a traditional airplane.
When will we see space travel from Colorado?
Gaining an operator's license is the first step in a layered process. A space company will have to apply to be licensed as an operator at the spaceport, and the vehicle that company employs for suborbital flight will also need to be approved and licensed.
Looking west from Colorado Air and Space Port
Why is Colorado an ideal location?
Located one mile closer to space, Colorado's aerospace companies, educational institutions, and state leadership are growing aerospace talent and capabilities as the state's aerospace industry continues to expand. Colorado's aerospace industry contributes significantly to the state's economic output and includes 180 aerospace companies and more than 500 suppliers and companies providing space-related products and services. Colorado's aerospace industry employs 55,430 workers and supports an additional 135,450 workers in other industries. Eight of the nation's leading aerospace contractors are headquartered in Colorado, along with major U.S. Department of Defense facilities, NASA research and development activities, and top-ranked universities for aerospace. In fact, Colorado ranked third in the nation in NASA prime contract awards totaling $1.8 billion in 2016. By leveraging this experience and expertise in the aerospace sector, Colorado is well-positioned to play a key role in the continued development of private commercial space transportation.
Why this location in Adams County?
Located on 3,200 acres of land and surrounded by over 7,000 acres of privately owned industrial property, Colorado Air and Space Port is well-positioned to take advantage of both the exceptional Colorado high-tech workforce and the outstanding connections available through Denver International Airport, located just six miles away. The location offers hundreds of acres of development opportunity just 30 minutes from downtown Denver and less than an hour from major research universities and laboratories. While it is remote enough to safely conduct horizontal launch operations, it is close enough to meet the needs of future commercial customers located in the Denver metropolitan area and throughout the region. These natural advantages, combined with the resources available from Colorado's aerospace community, make Colorado Air and Space Port well-situated to further develop commercial space transportation in Colorado.