Northern Michigan Could Be Home to a New Satellite-Launching Spaceport

Florida and Texas are usually the first states that come to mind when you think about spaceports, but could you soon think Michigan?

The Michigan Aerospace Manufacturers Association has launched an initiative to build a spaceport in Michigan by 2022.

It’s likely a Northern Michigan town would be picked to launch the program.

Over the next decade there are 7000 small satellites scheduled to launch. The goal of the “Michigan Launch Initiative” is to make sure many of those satellites are launched from somewhere in Michigan.

The initiative is looking to lock in private and state investment and gain federal approval to get this plan off the ground.

Many here are confident Northern Michigan has what they’re looking for.

“In the next few months they should have a pretty good idea of what location they will be using,” Chippewa County EDC President Chris Olson, said.

Olson says Kincheloe is a prime spot to launch satellites.

“We are at the sight of the former Air Force base so that kind of puts us in a unique position, we have over 800 acres, two active runways, one very long runway. We’re served by rail, we are in proximity to I-75, so those things kind of check all the boxes for us being an ideal candidate for that type of activity,” Olson, explained.

The site selection process is ongoing but whichever Northern Michigan area is chosen will get a big economic boost.

“The investment alone would be $50-75 million in just the launch site, as well as the annual revenues could be upwards of $375 million. It would be a significant driver to the economy,” Olson, added.

Alpena, Marquette, Rogers City and Oscoda are among the other areas in the running.