The Houston Spaceport signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Glasgow Prestwick Airport Spaceport on Dec. 6, 2016, that will allow both parties to share relevant policies, processes and other information relating to commercial spaceport licensing and operations. The agreement marks the start of a process to develop global “best practice” for commercial space launch activities, safety and environmental standards.
Arturo Machuca, Houston Spaceport General Manager, joined Richard Jenner, Glasgow Prestwick Airport Spaceport Director, as part of a delegation meeting with representatives from the Scottish space industry and local politicians at Glasgow Prestwick Airport. “The pioneers who first made inroads in space travel and space exploration began as contestants in a race, but soon realized that any hope of safely and efficiently reaching those goals would require productive and valuable partnerships,” Machuca said. “As we begin the next steps in this ambitious endeavor, partnerships like this with the Glasgow Prestwick Spaceport will benefit everyone, and will strengthen not only our assets and technology, but also our resolve to make commercial space travel a viable and valuable tool for the future.”
Glasgow Prestwick Spaceport is set to become one of the UK and Europe’s first spaceports. Houston Spaceport, located at Ellington Airport, will benefit from Glasgow Prestwick Spaceport’s existing relationship with space launch developers and operators Orbital Access. Glasgow Prestwick Spaceport will benefit from Houston’s existing agreements with NASA, which enable them to use NASA technology, research and resources in a commercial environment.
“We see a lot of similarity between the efforts at Prestwick and those at the Houston Spaceport,” said Dr. David Alexander of the Rice Space Institute, who was part of the Houston delegation in Scotland. “Particularly exciting is the opportunity for the spaceports to act as catalysts to foster collaboration across the high-tech space, energy and medical industries, strengths that Scotland and Houston share. The direct engagement of universities such as Glasgow, Strathclyde and Rice create additional opportunities for promoting innovation in research and education.”
This partnership also will lead to customer referrals between the two spaceports. Glasgow Prestwick Spaceport customers who have requirements for equatorial/tropical launches will be referred to Houston and Houston customers looking for polar launches will be referred to Glasgow Prestwick.
“We couldn’t wish for a more experienced partner than Houston,” Jenner said. “They have a long history of facilitating government funded launches and it is exciting to be embarking on the move to commercial space launches alongside them.”