Earlier today, Houston Airport System Director Mario Diaz addressed industry representatives, city leaders, and members of the media at the organization's annual "State of the Airports" address. Much of Diaz's talk, which was live-tweeted, reviewed advances, innovations, and plans for growth at Hobby and Bush Intercontinental airports, like Southwest Airlines's upcoming international terminal.
One tweet was of special interest to all, however: Houston's further progress in the space race:
Houston Airport System has filed its application to become nation’s 10th licensed commercial spaceport – Diaz #StateofAirports
Nine active licenses are currently approved and on file with the Federal Aviation Administration, including ones for Spaceport America in New Mexico and Midland International Airport in Midland. If Ellington Field's application meets with FAA approval, Houston will become the owner of the tenth licensed commercial spaceport.
We’ll have our answer no later than June 28, but we are extremely optimistic – Diaz #StateofAirports
License approval is just one piece to the puzzle. Further studies, designs, and business will all be required before any construction (a la New Mexico's Spaceport America, spearheaded by Virgin Galactic) can occur. Still, it would be a personal victory for Diaz, who first presented an early plan to convert Ellington Field into a burgeoning spaceport in 2013. "I see a potential opportunity for our city," Diaz told Houstonia Magazine in October of that year. "We must stake our claim to keep Houston at the forefront."