Possibility of Sawyer spaceport intriguing and exciting

A proposal that would see an airport in Michigan used to launch satellites into orbit is intriguing. That Sawyer International Airport in rural Marquette County is on some sort of short list for consideration takes the concept from intriguing to exciting, especially given the potential economic impact that could occur with the selection.

There are a total of five airports in the state being looked at: Sawyer, the Chippewa County Airport in the eastern Upper Peninsula, the former Wurtsmith Air Force Base in Oscoda and sites in Rogers City and Alpena.

The agency, the Michigan Launch Initiative, “public/private nonprofit entity that provides a collaborative platform for academia, industry and governmental agencies to provide low-Earth orbit and hypersonic launch technology for commercial and defense application” is spearheaded by the Michigan Aerospace Manufacturers Association, with backing from a private investment group, a story in The Mining Journal stated.

“Sawyer International is a viable candidate,” Sawyer International Airport Manager Duane DuRay said for the Journal story. A decision could come in the next several months.

In the Journal story, DuRay noted that between 2007 and 2018, 1,200 satellites launched into orbit.

“But they’re anticipating over the next decade, 7,000 more launches,” he said “That’s almost six-fold of what it was. And this group is trying to get ahead of it to develop sites in the state of Michigan.”

Officials estimates a $50 million to $75 million budget for infrastructure investment involved with the project. Each launch would garner some $50-$75 million with an estimated $375 million in revenue each year.

Based on the information that’s been released so far, it’s hard to find very much wrong with this this concept, which doesn’t appear to require much in the way of local investment.

We like what little we’ve seen and look forward to additional details being released, going forward.