The Michigan Launch Initiative
The Michigan Aerospace Manufacturers Association (MAMA), is the organization leading the Michigan Launch Initiative (MLI). It is important to note that MLI is not a County of Marquette (County) project and thus the County is not able to answer many questions that have been raised. MAMA is the appropriate party to answer questions about the MLI project. (Reference Link 1 below to view the MLI presentation given by MAMA officials to County staff for consideration).
When the County learned of the Request for Information (RFI) related to the MLI, the County viewed this as an opportunity for continued redevelopment of the former KI Sawyer Air Force Base. It was understood that if KI Sawyer was selected as a launch site, local jobs and educational opportunities would be created. The County felt KI Sawyer was a strong contender for both the horizontal and vertical launch facilities. To this end, the County hired Explorer Solutions to assist with development and submission of an RFI. (Reference linked items 2 & 3 below for RFI and RFI Addendum responses).
MAMA determined that the KI Sawyer location was unsuitable for the vertical launch facility due to launch trajectories and the population that the rockets would travel over. Oscoda-Wurtsmith Airport was ultimately selected as the horizontal launch site. The Explorer Solutions report identified other sites off of County owned property, such as the Granot Loma site, that better met the requirements of a vertical launch site, as proposed by MAMA. (Reference link 4 for the Explorer Solutions Report).
Although MAMA selected Granot Loma as the most promising vertical launch site in Michigan, MAMA has advised that the site is still being evaluated. The County understands that a feasibility study is currently underway and that the FAA licensing process has not been initiated as of the beginning of 2021.
The County will continue to seek answers and information that will be shared with the public.
- Michigan Launch Initiative Presentation by MAMA
- County Response to RFI
- County Response to RFI - Addendum
- Report by Explorer Solutions
- Explorer Solutions Letter: Clarification to post on Citizen for a Safe and Clean Lake Superior Website
MAMA (Michigan Aerospace Manufacturers Association)
State of Michigan/Michigan Economic Development Corporation
Federal Aviation Administration
WLUC TV6 Interview (Extended) Link:
Economic Impact Powerpoint Presentation (as presented by Gavin Brown, MAMA at the 5.4.21 County Bd Meeting)
Frequently Asked Questions (General Info - click link for MAMA Document)
County: When will environmental questions be answered pertaining to the Granot Loma site and surrounding area?
MAMA: Environmental assessment of Granot Loma will commence when the site is officially registered to go through the FAA licensing process. Once the process of licensing is initiated, the environmental assessment requirements for the site is established in accordance with FAA protocols. The process assesses the proposed operational effects on the air, land, water and noise Issues. This process can take anywhere from 2 years or more to complete. Currently there is not a set date to start the licensing process and all questions will be answered and information available in accordance with FAA protocols.
County: When will the entity operating the Granot Loma site be known?
MAMA: There is no designated operator at this time. Feasibility study is on going and assimilating information and does not determine ownership issues.
County: When will feasibility study results be available?
MAMA: MAMA is contracted to finish the feasibility study by January 31, 2021. MAMA will submit information gathered under agreement to the MEDC. Public distribution of material MAMA presents under contractual terms to MEDC is at discretion of MEDC.
County: Will there be a large build out of the proposed site that will degrade the surrounding natural resources?
MAMA: The feasibility of the site was conducted with a ‘green spaceport’ concept, focused on serving low earth orbit satellite technology. There was an emphasis on carbon neutral technologies that will be available as early as 2023. The facilities that are essential to operations have a minimal impact on the land and on a comparable scale, would be more in line as a visual comparison to a small business with structures that would not be seen by neighbors, by water line or surrounding communities of Marquette.
County: Will the community have a voice on issues of concern?
MAMA: Yes. There is a community outreach process that is associated with the licensing process. This is where community concerns, issues and questions will have a ‘seat at the table’ and will be regularly scheduled and open to all in the community. This is a structured process to engage the community and to publicly give feedback.