Group wants to thwart construction of spaceport in Marquette County

Jun 29, 2021

MARQUETTE, MI--   The Michigan Aerospace Manufacturers Association wants to build a vertical launch site for rockets carrying commercial satellites in Marquette County, but a local group is saying “Not so fast.”

Artist's rendering of vertical launch site.
Credit MAMA

Citizens for a Safe and Clean Lake Superior says its goal is to protect the lake and its coastal habitat and to defeat the plan to construct the site near historic Granot Loma lodge. Group President Dennis Ferraro says shockwaves and noise associated with launching rockets is bad not only for the environment, but for the UP’s recreation-based economy.

“These are all areas that people come to because they like the quiet, beautiful, wildness of our environment here in the U.P. So it’s just a bad idea all the way around.” 

He says 50 acres of forestland would be clear cut to make way for the spaceport, which would be near rivers, hiking trails, beaches, and a nature conservancy.

Ferraro says because of the risk of explosion and having the rocket go off course—which is somewhere between 21 percent and 29 percent, they’re going to have to evacuate at least six families every launch.

“That’s according to the county board’s own aerospace consultant. According to our consultant, it’s going to be more like 13 families.” 

The group says there are 19 other, underused sites in the U.S. where the rockets can be launched.

Officials with MAMA say the project would create thousands of jobs across Michigan.

A horizontal launch site is planned for downstate Oscoda, and the Chippewa County Airport was selected as the spaceport command and control center.

The Citizens for a Safe and Clean Lake Superior website is stoptherocket.com.