Kennedy Space Center today hosted the successful kick-off meeting of the
Advanced Spaceport Technology Working Group (ASTWG). The group’s visionary
efforts are expected to help shape spaceports and spaceport technologies of
the future.

About 150 leaders from NASA, other federal agencies, state agencies,
state spaceports, commercial spaceports, industry and academia met to share
information and address potential needs for next-generation spaceport

The group, chaired by NASA/KSC’s Randy Eastman, discussed how they
could work together to identify, develop and demonstrate new spaceport
technologies that will be required to provide ground systems for future
vehicles. They also discussed fundamental needs for spaceport master
planning, environmental assessments and business management.

While the space industry market currently is not generating a demand
for more spaceports, Eastman said, government and industry leaders must
begin planning for the time when low-earth-orbit space tourism and
suborbital business travel and commerce generate the need for multiple

“That way, you’ll be that much farther ahead in making the most of
the emerging markets,” Eastman said.

Kennedy Space Center Director Roy Bridges applauded participants for taking
a key role in fostering future spaceports. “We are here to make sure we
understand what our technology needs are and to be supportive of them,”
Bridges said. “If we want to move forward, we have to joint together.”

Because of KSC’s unique history and expertise in developing spaceport
technologies, KSC is in a position to help states plan and get ready for
their own spaceports, Bridges said. In turn, KSC values input from the
states so that the Center can continue to create technologies that can be
applied to a variety of changing spaceport needs.

ASTWG’s companion working group is the Advanced Range Technology
Working Group, which had its kick-off meeting March 1. Phil Weber of
Advanced Space Transportation Projects in KSC’s Spaceport Engineering and
Technology Directorate manages the two groups.

The major impetus for the KSC-based working groups came from
findings of the Interagency Working Group (IWG) co-chaired by the Office of
Science and Technology Policy and the National Security Council.

The IWG determined that more focus on the development of range
technology to support next-generation reusable launch vehicles and
expendable launch vehicles would be needed if the ground systems were to
keep pace with the development of the flight systems.

“KSC understands the challenges of running a spaceport,” Bridges
said. “Our goal is to do what is right for future space transportation.”