OSCODA – Oscoda Township and the Oscoda-Wurtsmith Airport (OWA) received a warm welcome at the Michigan Aerospace Manufacturers Association’s North American Space Summit, held Aug. 31 to Sept. 2 in Traverse City.

During the Oscoda Township Board of Trustees’ regular meeting on Monday, Sept. 14, Township Superintendent Dave Schaeffer gave a recap of the summit and said the township and airport were “well-received,” by the other attendees.

Representatives with the township and the Oscoda-Wurtsmith Airport Authority attended the summit to network with others in the industry, and to garner interest in Oscoda as the potential site of the MAMA horizontal launch. As reported, the OWA was identified as the top candidate for the spaceport, but the Federal Aviation Administration has yet to make the final selection.

Schaeffer said the township and airport hosted a combined booth, where they gave out merchandise including foam fingers with the township and airport logo, and USB drives with information about the area.

OWA Manager Gary Kellan also participated in a panel titled “The Michigan Launch Initiative: Economic Growth and Inspired Innovation,” moderated by MAMA Executive Director Gavin Brown.  

“The NASS is designed to inform, educate and invigorate your participation in the commercialization of Low Earth Orbit space and the development of hypersonic flight,” MAMA Executive Director Gavin Brown wrote in a welcome letter to the summit’s attendees. “We believe that the speakers and people in attendance have the knowledge and expertise from which we can learn and advance together.”

Schaeffer said the summit had industry leaders from across the country with expertise in engineering, satellite technology, welding and skilled trades, military, cybersecurity, telecommunications and defense — the types of jobs the spaceport could bring to Oscoda. 

“The township’s willingness and ability to partner with the aerospace industry was definitely on display at the booth and interested attendees were invited to come to Oscoda later this month to see the area, kind of as an open house to learn more about what makes Oscoda an ideal partner for making Michigan a space state,” Schaeffer told trustees during the meeting. 

Supervisor Aaron Weed also commented on how the summit generated interest in Oscoda as a launch site, and provided the township with useful information about what could be expected in the future.

“The FAA has to make the decision and we’ll find out what that is, but a lot of people felt that Oscoda was highly viable for horizontal launch,” Weed said. “It was really good to get the information from the seminars and hear what other people had to say and garner a lot of interest from companies across our nation that want to press forward with this, and if Oscoda is selected they’re eager to make things happen.”