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Air Force seeking options to adapt launch ranges into commercial needs

The Space Command of Air Force (AFSPC) will organize tabletop exercises this week. The exercises will focus on military launch facility’s future as well as the way in which they might support commercial space’s growth. The event will take place in Virginia’s Chantilly on November 5-7. This effort is aimed at collecting ideas for transforming the launch ranges of the military into national spaceports. These spaceports will have multiple uses and will be able to better accommodate civil, commercial and national security launch demands.

According to a statement given to SpaceNews by an AFSPC spokesperson, authorities representing the NASA, the Administration of Federal Aviation Administration, the Commerce Department as well as experienced leaders of the Air Force leaders will participate in the event.

This interagency discussion comes in the wake of an information request posted by AFSPC on September 12. The request had asked for operational as well as management concepts for national spaceports, where these spaceports would be collocated with current Western and Eastern ranges. The responses were scheduled to be recorded by October 11.

Currently, the Eastern Ranges support rocket launches taking place in Florida’s Kennedy Center of Space and the Station of Air Force in Cape Canaveral Air. On the other hand, the Western Ranges support launches at the Air Force Station of Vandenberg, California. Both these ranges are regulated and managed by the nation’s Air Force. Currently, the FAA oversees the commercial spaceports.

General John Raymond has requested infrastructure investments and alterations in the management of ranges. Raymond is at the helm of the Space Command of Air Force and also runs the Space Command of the U.S. Space Command. His motive is to make the ranges more responsive in case of economic and national security demands of space launch. As per his vision, the AFSPC can maintain and enhance the interests of national security with the help improved ranges. These ranges will have the ability of supporting launches and tests operations as and when demanded.

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