HUSTON – More than 50 years after he provided the link between Houston and MoonCollins Aerospace is once again helping to link Space City to future US space activities.
The aerospace company, part of Raytheon Technologies, has become the anchor tenant of the Houston spaceport, “the world’s first truly urban commercial spaceport.” On Monday (June 7), Collins Aerospace executives joined the city and spaceport authorities to inaugurate a new 8-acre (3.2 hectare), approximately 11,150-square-meter campus located at Ellington Airport.
“Today, we stand before you and the rest of the world again to strengthen our position as a Space City,” Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner said to an invited audience at the Lone Star Flight Museum, where the breakthrough took place. “I am delighted to announce that Collins Aerospace has joined the Houston spaceport family.”
“You may recall the famous broadcast from the moon when Neil Armstrong said“This is one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.” This message was received by the mission control center right here in Houston – and [now] there is another connection with that day. Neil Armstrong used Collins’ radio to broadcast this message, [from] the same organization that is now taking root in our soil, ”Turner said.
Connected: Photos from NASA’s Apollo lunar missions
Suitable for growth
Collins Aerospace’s new campus at the Houston spaceport will replace the company’s current offices near NASA. Johnson Space Centerwhich has reached its maximum capacity. The facility will continue to be part of Mission Systems’ business, providing life support systems for the NASA spacesuits currently in use aboard the International Space Station and for Orion spacecraft in the future. Artemis missions to the moon.
The new site will also house Houston’s first spaceflight incubator, with 10,000 square feet (930 square meters) set aside for startups and universities to collaborate on space technology challenges, including robotics, medicine and other industries. production of additives…
“[The new] The facility will enable Collins to continue to support the development of our proven and reliable products, including support for future spacesuit developments, ”said Allen Flint, vice president and general manager of civil space and marine systems at Collins Aerospace. Spaceport Houston will provide excellent conditions not only for Collins, but also for other members of the space community. We can unite and help facilitate cooperation. “
As the anchor tenant of the spaceport, Collins will receive funding from Houston Airport up to $ 25.6 million for a major overhaul. The amount will be returned by the company.
“We are very excited about our new home at the Houston spaceport. We hope to fill it in at least a year, ”Flint said.
Leading the way
“I am confident that the cluster of aerospace companies being assembled here at the Houston spaceport will not only revive the name of our city, but also energize our employees,” Mayor Turner said. “I am proud to say that Houston is leading and doing more than any other spaceport in the country to attract the best of the best.”
Collins is the second anchor tenant and third company to relocate to the Houston spaceport. Intuitive cars, which is under contract with NASA to land payloads on the moon in early 2022, was the first to be followed by Axiom Space, which in December announced plans to build its 5.7 hectare headquarters at the cosmodrome. The Axiom campus will be used to train astronauts and build the world’s first commercial space station to operate in free flight.
Licensed by the Federal Aviation Administration in 2015 as the nation’s 10th commercial spaceport (three more have been added since then), the urban location of the Houston spaceport does not allow it to conduct vertical launches, but it may someday support horizontal takeoff spacecraft and landing. Currently, the focus is on Houston’s growing role in the space industry community.
“We are no longer satisfied with being called ‘Space City’ because we are tracking everything [crewed] flights from Houston, “said Mario Diaz, director of Houston Airports.” Thanks to Collins’ commitment, we are ready to build, power, drive and control cars, from takeoff to landing, in the background and in wide space. … “
Robert Pearlman is the author of Space.com articles and editor of collectSPACE.com, Space.com’s partner site and leading news outlet on the history of space. Follow collectSPACE on Facebook and Twitter at @collectSPACE. Follow us @Spacedotcom and Facebook.