View from the runway at the Stennis International Airport at Kiln

Hancock County intends to maintain its dominant role in the aerospace corridor. Accordingly, a Spaceport will become part of the Stennis International Airport at the Kiln.

Rockets are fast becoming an important sector of a burgeoning commercial spaceflight marketplace, Hancock County Port and Harbor (HCPHC) CEO Bill Cork said this week. Small to mid-size satellites are employed by the military and civilian industries to support or monitor weather, communication, surveillance, security, and research, he said.

An exciting development projected for our Spaceport will be horizontal take-off aircraft that will launch these satellite-laden rockets at a high altitude over the Gulf of Mexico, Cork said.

He said the airport will commit $15,871,387 in 2019 to capital investment projects, including construction of a dual 4,000-foot runway parallel to the present runway, which will cost an estimated $5million. At one end of the concrete runway will be a fueling point for the rockets, he said. Wayfinding and signage improvements will cost an estimated $500,000. Airplanes can carry the rockets on their underbellies, he said, and might contain single-purpose satellites. Communication, defense, and GPS satellites are an integral part of the earth/space network, Cork said. Additionally, expansion plans include the construction of two corporate hangars, which are proposed at a cost of $5.5 million.

Over the years, The airport/airpark has attracted an emerging cluster of defense technology firms, Cork said, and the U.S. Air Force and Navy are attracted to this hub for military training. Government and U S Department of Defense activity represent more than fifty percent of the business at the airport, he said. In addition the HCPHC is an economic partner with the Stennis Space Center (NASA) and the Hancock County Chamber of Commerce.

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