Saturday, September 25, 2021

House interim study considers how to best utilize space port at Burns Flat

Committee Considers Avenues to Utilize Burns Flat

OKLAHOMA CITY – Rep. Tammy Townley, R-Ardmore, hosted an interim study Friday morning before the House Government Modernization Committee to consider avenues to help Oklahoma Space Industry Development Authority (OSIDA) reach its full potential as a competitive industrial authority.

The Oklahoma Space Industry Development Authority (OSIDA) is a development authority created in 1999 to operate a 2,700 spaceport near Burns Flat. The Oklahoma Air & Space Port and Aerospace Industrial Park at Clinton-Sherman Airport (CSM) features the fourth largest all-weather runway in North America at 13,503 feet long, an adjacent 5,193-foot runway and facilities that include an air traffic control tower, six large hangars and 96 acres of pavement for parking and storage.

“I really think that we’ve got a jewel out there,” Townley said while describing her first visit to Burns Flat. “Why are we not doing something with this?”

Oklahoma State Director of Aeronautics Grayson Ardies spoke on the value of the state’s airport system. He said the Oklahoma Aeronautics Commission works to ensure a thriving aviation and aerospace industry and grow Oklahoma’s aviation and aerospace workforce, an important part of which is the preservation and improvement of the state’s 108 public airports.

Steve Fendley, president for the unmanned systems division of Kratos Defense and Security Solutions, said Kratos opened a facility in Oklahoma because of the existing aerospace hub within the state, as well as the state incentives, supportive community and affordable cost of living.

Fendley said the opportunities presented by the facilities at Burns Flat offers a lot of potential to Kratos.

According to data from the Oklahoma Aeronautics Commission, aviation and aerospace is the state’s second largest industry with more than 206,000 jobs and an economic impact of $43.7 billion annually.

“There’s a revolution in aerospace going on right now,” said Geoffrey Camp, state director of aerospace and defense for the Oklahoma Dept. of Commerce. “Everything we know about airplanes, aerospace, propulsions, is all changing. The rules are being written right now.”

He later added, “But we also need to start getting ready for our kids, for our grandkids. This revolution is going to happen, seems like, overnight.”

The study is available to watch here.


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