FAA Issues Commercial Space Reentry Site Operator License for Huntsville International Airport

Friday, May 13, 2022

WASHINGTON— The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is issuing a license to the Huntsville-Madison Airport Authority in Alabama to operate the Huntsville International Airport (HSV) as a commercial space reentry site.

The license permits the airport to offer its site for Sierra Space Dream Chaser vehicles returning to Earth from future NASA resupply missions to the International Space Station. The Reentry Site Operator License is valid for five years. 

The FAA license evaluation process involved environmental and safety reviews. In addition, the FAA will work with the airport to develop the necessary notifications and other procedures for safely and efficiently integrating commercial space reentries into its operations.

The FAA is also issuing the Final Environmental Assessment and a Finding of No Significant Impact/Record of Decision for the Authority’s reentry site license. These same final environmental documents also cover the related, but separate Sierra Space proposal to conduct up to eight reentry operations at the airport from 2023 to 2027. To view these documents and other project information, click here.

Sierra Space, or any other commercial space vehicle operator, cannot conduct reentry operations at the airport until it obtains a Vehicle Operator License from the FAA.

The Huntsville Reentry Site is the 14th FAA-licensed commercial spaceport. To view a map of all U.S. spaceports, click here.