Japan's Okinawa Prefecture To Build Its Own Spaceport
The Okinawa prefectural government has agreed with PD AeroSpace to convert the airport on Shimojima island into a spaceport that will serve as a starting point for space tourists, according to the Mainichi newspaper.
The prefectural government signed an agreement to build the spaceport with PD AeroSpace, based in Nagoya, on September 10. The head of the company, Shuji Ogawa, hopes that the first launch of a spacecraft from the projected spaceport will be carried out in 2025. According to him, the project will be implemented under the motto "Shimonojima - an island from which you can go on a space trip."
PD AeroSpace intends to invest several billion yen (tens of millions of dollars) in the construction of the spaceport and is ready to launch a prototype of an unmanned spacecraft next year. In 2025, it is planned to deliver 100 space tourists to space, and in 2030, to increase the number of travelers sent to space to 1000. The cost of the space voyage will be approximately 15 million yen ($141 thousand) for one wealthy client.
Okinawa Vice Governor Kiichiro Jahano described the project as "a very attractive proposal that inspires a dream." He noted that the space industry is an industry with high prospects, and it will have a positive impact on the economy of the Prefecture.
Shimojima is located West of Miyako island in the Japanese Prefecture of Okinawa. Its area is about 10 square kilometers. The airport on the island has a runway length of about 3 thousand meters. It was built in 1979 as the only center in Japan for training pilots of private airlines. However, after the spread of flight simulators, Japanese private companies refused to use it.