HANCOCK COUNTY, MS (WLOX) - South Mississippi could be the next place to add space travel to its list of offerings.
The Hancock County Port and Harbor Commission is leading the effort to make that a reality.
At Stennis International Airport in Hancock County, the aircraft that operate there are 60 percent military and about 40 percent private operations.
With the possibility of space travel, there could soon be more traffic at the airport.
"A lot of applications are using space now. We have Lockheed Martin that actually makes satellites that go into orbit. Things like Sirius Radio gets made right here at Stennis Space Center and put into orbit in other places. So we want to see if other things can actually go into orbit in Hancock County," said Janel Carothers, who is the Chief Development Officer at the Hancock County Port and Harbor Commission .
The Hancock County Port and Harbor Commission has paid close to $100,000 to the firm RS&H to study the feasibility of obtaining a launch site operator license that would ultimately allow space travel.
Officials said it would open the county up to private and commercial space flight. The study will look at public safety, existing infrastructure and market for space travel.
"So depending on where you're located within the US, you can get into orbit at different points," said Carothers.
Carothers said the study would begin later on this month and wrap up in July.
If the firm discovers Hancock County is a viable option, then companies that need it would not have to travel to get their products into space.
"If we could do the rocket testing at Stennis Space Center and then actually launch them from close, a lot of that transportation cost would be saved," Carothers said.
Stennis International Airport also launches unmanned operations right now. If space travel comes, a private user could come in, pay a fee and either launch a plane or rocket into outer space.
Currently seven states have a space port. Texas and Florida are the two closest to Mississippi.