Lone Tree is getting the first public spaceflight training facility for aerospace professionals and enthusiasts alike.
Star Harbor Academy, started by a collection of aerospace professionals, astronauts and former NASA employees, is envisioned to be a multi-faceted space business, providing training for spaceflight, supporting research and development efforts in the industry and helping educate people on space discoveries and potentials.
The academy will be one of the first commercial businesses to offer spaceflight training outside of NASA facilities and the only to have training available to the public.
“It will be professional crew training, spaceflight participants or tourism, then there’s also certification training … and the leisure market, so catering to the space enthusiasts, adventure seekers and folks that just want to see if they have the right stuff, even if they don’t necessarily have plans to actually go to space,” Star Harbor Academy CEO Maraia Tanner said. “The primary difference will be the academic education”
In preparation for the growth of the space industry and commercial spaceflights, Tanner said the academy will help meet the growing demand for employee training within the space industry.
“When I would ask what (spaceflight companies’) plans were for training and scaling up, across the board, the sentiment was we’ll worry about it later,” Tanner said. “So there’s a really profound need for it.”
Some of the key elements of spaceflight training Star Harbor will include parabolic flights, a human centrifuge, a neutral buoyancy tank and hypobaric and hyperbaric chambers. The academy plans to have distinct trainings for spaceflight crews, passengers and civilians.
Tanner said Star Harbor already has partnerships with many spaceflight companies, though she didn’t name them since the partnerships haven’t been announced yet.
On top of the possible SpaceX and BlueOrigin passengers, Tanner said Star Harbor is trying to make space more accessible to more people. Though the academy is in early stages, Tanner estimated costs for leisure training would start around $5,000.
“We’re trying to price in a way that really is attainable,” Tanner said.
Even though spaceflight is one of the more exciting elements of Star Harbor, Tanner said it will be equally dedicated to partnering on research and development, as well as with schools and universities to create academic programs and workforce development education.
The 53-acre Lone Tree campus will include housing, office space, a hotel, an e-sports arena and restaurants, provided through partnerships with existing businesses. Additionally, Star Harbor will have a nonprofit foundation that will focus on the future of space and space exploration.
Tanner said Star Harbor chose Lone Tree because of Colorado’s booming space industry, access to public transportation and local support for the project from Mayor Jackie Millet and City Manager Seth Hoffman.
During her 2022 State of the City address on May 10, Millet shared her enthusiasm for the new company coming to Lone Tree.
“We cannot wait to welcome this new neighbor to our city,” she said.
Currently, Star Harbor Academy is in the design phase with plans to start construction in 2023 and open in 2026. Once open, the academy suggests it will draw two million visitors annually.