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FAA approves Huntsville airport as landing site for Dream Chaser

Capitalism in space: The FAA announced on May 13, 2022 that it has approved use of Huntsville International airport for landing Sierra Space’s reusable Dream Chaser cargo mini-shuttle, once it begins flying.

The approval covers “up to eight reentry operations at the airport from 2023 to 2027.” Though Sierra Space will still need to get its launch license from the FAA before those flights can happen, it looks like the company is finally getting close to the first flight of Tenacity, its first Dream Chaser ship.

Conscious Choice cover

From the press release: In this ground-breaking new history of early America, historian Robert Zimmerman not only exposes the lie behind The New York Times 1619 Project that falsely claims slavery is central to the history of the United States, he also provides profound lessons about the nature of human societies, lessons important for Americans today as well as for all future settlers on Mars and elsewhere in space.

Conscious Choice: The origins of slavery in America and why it matters today and for our future in outer space, is a riveting page-turning story that documents how slavery slowly became pervasive in the southern British colonies of North America, colonies founded by a people and culture that not only did not allow slavery but in every way were hostile to the practice.  
Conscious Choice does more however. In telling the tragic history of the Virginia colony and the rise of slavery there, Zimmerman lays out the proper path for creating healthy societies in places like the Moon and Mars.


“Zimmerman’s ground-breaking history provides every future generation the basic framework for establishing new societies on other worlds. We would be wise to heed what he says.” —Robert Zubrin, founder of founder of the Mars Society.


Available everywhere for $3.99 (before discount) at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and all ebook vendors, or direct from the ebook publisher, ebookit. And if you buy it from ebookit you don't support the big tech companies and I get a bigger cut much sooner.


  • Col Beausabre

    When I lived in New York’s Mid-Hudson Valley, I was surprised to learn that Stewart Airport (formerly Stewart AFB) was designated as an alternate landing place for the shuttle. I didn’t know its runways were that big.
    “The east–west runway 9–27 is 11,817 feet (3,602 m) long by 150 feet (46 m) wide, but the landing threshold at each end is displaced 2,000 feet (610 m).” Never used, of course.

  • David K

    This is just a mini shuttle that should be more reusable, safer, and easier to produce than the previous version. Why use technology that is 40 years old? I still think that starship is better for things like going to Mars, but this might be better for LEO space stations.

  • Doubting Thomas

    2 thoughts:

    1. Glad I don’t have to fly into Huntsville any more for business. I can hear the pilot announcing that “Folks, we’re in a holding pattern while spacecraft land.”

    2. When Dream Chaser finally gets crewed, I hope they will let it land near Gates 4,5,6,12 so the crew can get a great McAlister’s Spud Max when they land and a big cup of Sweet Tea.

  • pzatchok

    Did they file their EPA and fish and game environmental studies.

    I suspect there is a new plover fish someplace close by.

  • Edward

    David K asked: “Why use technology that is 40 years old?

    NewSpace companies are relatively small and often are not funded to develop new technologies. Even SpaceX and Boeing started with sixty-year old capsule technology for their commercial manned spacecraft. Virgin Orbit uses similar technology as Orbital Science’s Pegasus from a third of a century ago (similar tech as used to fly the X-1 to mach 1, three quarters of a century ago).

    One of the reasons that the more successful companies tended to be funded by billionaire owners is that they had pockets deep enough to keep them going until they could start revenue services. Bigelow Aerospace shows that this did not always work, however. Blue Origin is an example of a billionaire funding the development of a reusable booster, starting at the initial concept, and it took fifteen years to demonstrate that technology and another six to start revenue service.

    Once successful, these new companies are showing enthusiasm for developing new technologies for the future. SpaceX and Rocket Lab are two examples.

  • Jeremy

    I would like nothing better, actually. I live in Huntsville and can watch planes landing from the north, for both runways. One of the runways is over 12000 ft, which is long enough to get FAA approval to land anything that flies. If that runway is waiting for a spacecraft, I presume regular flights can use the other runway (10000 ft).

    I do like the idea of feeding them spuds and tea when they get off the spaceship, though.

  • Cotour

    What happens if and more likely when the wacky Left extremists become in command of these kinds of issues through the permenant government regulators and they decide that on balance in their judgement there should be no more or much less in the form of rocket launches and all of this space stuff when there are issues down here on earth that would be better served, including the environment, with these kinds of investments?

    These kinds of government involved regulation issues must be in the forefront of Ilon Musks mind.

    What happens when the internal machine just says *NO*?

  • sippin_bourbon

    I mean, the first powered flight was DEC 1903. Why are we still using Tech that is 119 years old..

    Yes that is sarcasm.

    Just because the airframe design of the DreamChaser is similar to the STS, (actually closer to X-20 Dyna-soar, Hermes, and others), does not mean that under the skin they are not using the latest tech, or building it using modern materials.

  • Jay

    Col Beausabre,
    Wow, that is a pretty long runway. Was it ever a bomber base just out of curiosity? The base I grew up next to, Fairchild, was over 13,000′ to accommodate the B-36 and B-52.

  • Alton

    The runway extension at Huntsville was designed according to Google Turds Answers:

    The new 12,600ft-long runway will allow Boeing 747s to be turned around in two hours and have enough fuel to make direct Asia-Alabama flights for cargo and passengers.
    May 1, 2008

  • Col Beausabre

    Jay. What was then, Stewart Field opened by the direction of Chief of Staff MacArthur in 1934 to provide flight training for USMA cadets intending to join the Air Corps (After WWI, Pershing made him Superintendent with orders to bring it, kicking and screaming, into the 20th Century. Today’s West Point is largely based on his work). It was greatly expanded in WW2, primarily serving as a training base. After the war, it was part of NORAD, operating the SAGE site for the Northeast US Sector. Not sure of when or why the runway was extended, as no bombers were ever permanently stationed there. But Strategic Air Command had a plan to disperse its bombers to airbases and civilian airports across the US as tensions rose to complicate the targeting problem for any enemy. These locations had ground support facilities already in place, so all that was needed was fly the bombers and support personnel in. After the USAF closed down the AFB, it was sold to New York and serves as the primary freight airport for the New York area. Today it has a Air Guard transport unit that used to fly the huge C-5A and, today flies the slightly smaller C-17, a Marine Reserve unit flying LC-130’s and a modern Reserve/Guard center, consolidating units from smaller, obsoletely facilities in the area. It also has Stewart Army Subpost, which supports the Military Academy, providing some housing, hosting various support activities, the 1st Battalion, First Infantry (universally known to the rest of the Army as “The First of the Worst”. although, since its troops help train the cadets at Camp Buckner’s firing ranges and maneuver areas, its they tend to be experienced men who have done well in previous assignments), which also can provide security to the entire West Point Military Reservation if necessary, and the 2nd Aviation Detachment flying the UH-72 Light Utility Helicopter. The 2nd Detachment was formed in 1950 and deployed to Korea as the Army’s first Aeromedical Evacuation unit flying the OH-13 (think opening sequence in MASH), the Bell Model 47 which was the first helicopter in the world certified for civilian as well as military use.

  • Cotour


    “SpaceX and Blue Origin reusable rockets are POLLUTING the atmosphere: Exhaust fumes from rocket engines could affect Earth’s climate, study warns”

    If and when the Left really takes over you will be able to manufacture as many rockets as you want, you just will not be able to fly them.

    It gets easier and easier.

  • sippin_bourbon


    They will let them fly. They will just tax them and regulate them to the point that it is impossible to get ahead, make a profit or advance the tech.

    That’s what government’ s do.

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