LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — A bill that is going through the legislative process would require the state to conduct a feasibility study into bringing a spaceport to Arkansas.
A spaceport is a place where rockets can take off, State Rep. Aaron Pilkington (R) , who sponsored the bill said. The bill would appropriate $950,000 for the state to conduct this study.
“I got excited about it hearing the suggestion from the mobility task force by Gov. Hutchinson,” Pilkington said.
Spaceports can be seen in states across the country, including Texas, Florida, Georgia, Alabama and Oklahoma. Pilkington said Arkansas is close enough to the equator for it to make sense, and its lack of density also helps.
“Shooting rockets off in the middle of Los Angeles or Dallas doesn’t make a lot of sense,” Pilkington said.
“In some of these rural places here in Arkansas, it makes a lot of sense.”
State Sen. Greg Leding (D) said this has bipartisan support, and he voted to pass the bill in committee.
“It’s just an appropriation, so it’s not committing the state to spending this $950,000,” Leding explained.
Leding said people once thought other forms of transportation were bizarre and it cost the state in the past.
“Fred Smith, in the early 1970’s, wanted to build a transportation and shipping company in Little Rock,” Leding said. “The city wasn’t wild about it, so he went to Memphis instead and built FedEx which is now one of the largest transportation companies.”
Pilkington said this would strengthen relationships with the numerous aerospace companies in the state and potentially inspire a generation of Arkansas kids.
The bill calls for the study to be finished no later than the start of 2024.