(BIVN) – Officials behind a commercial spaceport proposal for East Hawaiʻi met with members of the Hawaiian Home Lands community on Friday in Panaʻewa.
The Alaska Aerospace Corporation wants to develop a Pacific Spaceport Complex-Hawaii, and is currently assessing W.H. Shipman land between Haʻena Beach and Pāpaʻi Bay as a possible location.
Craig Campbell, the CEO of Alaska Aerospace Corporation, introduced the concept to the room full of local residents, community leaders, and Hawaiian Homestead beneficiaries.
Campbell said the project is still in the planning phase. His company does not plan on doing military contract work at the 12-acre site. Instead, the focus will be on commercial satellite launches. Campbell named Rocket Lab and Vector Space Systems as potential customers.
The company is not proposing “big rocket launches”, Campbell said. Instead, the site will have two launch pads. The smaller of the two pads will be 20 x 20 ft. and made of concrete. It will accommodate “small launch vehicles” about 40 feet high. Liquid fuels will be used; liquid oxygen and kerosene, Campbell said.
The larger launch pad will be 20 x 60 ft. and will accommodate a solid fuel rocket that is “a bit bigger”, and will use a rail system.
Campbell said the project would bring jobs to the community, and added that the Alaska Aerospace Corporation wants to be a good neighbor.
Also in attendance: Margaret “Peggy” Farias, the new president of W.H. Shipman, and Rodrigo Romo of the Hilo-based PISCES – the Pacific International Space Center for Exploration Systems.
The spaceport proposal found little support from the community assembled to hear the pitch in Panaʻewa. Project officials were chided for not bringing visual aids to illustrate the appearance of the spaceport, scolded for not learning more about the lands they seek to develop, and criticized for their non-disclosure agreements that can keep secret the names of the companies launching from their facility. Others were upset about the way the meeting was organized, and held signs outside the building in protest. (We will post the video interview with Terri Napeahi this evening.)
Campbell said there “is no done deal.” His company does not have a lease for the land yet, and they are still exploring their options. On February 6, there will be a public informational meeting regarding the proposal. The location has yet to be determined.