The climate around Yuma, Arizona is known to be one of the driest, sunniest, and least humid on the North American continent — perfect for spaceflight. That could be one of the reasons local leaders in Yuma County are hoping to secure plans for a spaceport in the desert southwest, according to a report on News 11 Yuma.
The gateway of the great Southwest, Yuma may become the gateway to outer space as a patch of desert owned by the city of Yuma, which may not look like much, could be a place to launch rockets and satellites into space in the coming years.
“It’s very exciting and this is a game changer for the community,” said Julie Engel, President and CEO at the Greater Yuma Economic Development Corporation, which is leading efforts to get a spaceport in the area.
The city has allegedly pitched in US $250 million to pay for the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) licensing application, as Yuma’s city administrator believes it is an investment that will lead to major economic growth.
“It just adds to our economy another layer that we can support in the years to come,” said Simon Simonton, a Yuma City administrator.
Space is big business. And no one knows this more than Morgan Stanley. The American multinational investment management and financial services company projects the global space industry could generate a revenue of more than US $1 trillion by 2040, money Yuma and the surrounding area hope to cash in on, too.
The city has plans to build the spaceport just east of San Luis, right next to the border with Mexico and the Arizona state prison complex.
Engels says Yuma is one of the few places in the U.S. where having a spaceport is viable.
“There are two areas of crisis – so to speak – when a rocket is launched where they are volatile. And so, in both situations, they’re over the ocean. They’re over the Sea of Cortez and then they’re actually over the Pacific,” said Engels.
Outside of the space industry, Simonton claims the spaceport would also be a boost for local tourism.
“Everybody knows where Cape Canaveral is in Florida and every time there’s a launch there’s a lot of people that want to go see it — we view that as probably a potential opportunity here too,” said Simonton.
According to Engel, the application with the FAA has only recently been filed, but there is no timeline for how long it could take for the agency to review it.
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