Business View Magazine | Volume 8, Issue 8

151 BUSINESS VIEW MAGAZINE VOLUME 8, ISSUE 8 O scoda-Wurtsmith Airport is no stranger to rolling with the punches, having seen a lot of changes since its humble beginning as a soft-landing airfield for the Army Air Corps in 1923. The Airport may now take a quantum leap forward by becoming the first horizontal launch spaceport in Michigan. This opportunity is being pursued by Michigan Aerospace Manufacturers Association which is a professional affiliation representing aerospace industry manufacturers and service providers. The Association has completed a site selection process which identified feasible locations, within the state of Michigan, for establishing spaceport launch and support facilities. Gary Kellan, Oscoda-Wurtsmith Airport Manager, reports, “Michigan Aerospace Manufactures Association has identified three Michigan development sites. Oscoda-Wurtsmith Airport is their preferred development site for supporting horizontal launching of space vehicles.” Kellan explains that horizontal launching involves attaching space vehicles to jet aircraft, which then fly to a determined altitude and location where the space vehicles are released for launch to a ‘Lower Earth Orbit’ flight pattern. The other two sites are located within Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. A site located along Lake Superior, within Marquette County, has been identified as the preferred development site for establishing vertical launch facilities. The third site is located at Chippewa County Airport and will support space vehicle missions as the Command and Control Center. Oscoda-Wurtsmith Airport has a long and storied military background. It was used to train for winter manoeuvres throughout the second world war. In 1953 it was renamed Wurtsmith Air Force Base after Michigan native, Major General Paul Wurtsmith. At the time, it was considered a vital Air Defense Command base and was equipped and manned with interceptor aircraft capable Oscoda-Wurt Ready to launch