Sawyer International Airport and the surrounding community are competing to become a launch facility for rockets carrying small and mid-sized satellites into Low Earth Orbit (LEO) from horizontal and vertical platforms and a command center to manage post-launch satellite operations.


This would be accomplished via a Public Private Partnership (P3) facilitated and operated by the Michigan Aerospace Manufacturers Association (MAMA).

The goal is to position ourselves to take advantage of the increasing market growth -- 12,000 networked constellations of LEO satellites are being planned for the next decade (versus 1,200 satellites currently in LEO). Existing launch facilities are insufficient to meet launch demand. 

The State of Michigan is scheduled to vote on a $2 million appropriation that will provide preliminary funding to assist in evaluating five sites in Northern Michigan (north of 45th parallel). Site selection is underway.


The site plan for environmental and FAA permits is due in 2020, construction in 2021 with launches in 2022.

Other key stakeholders/partners include:

Aeris Energy LLC who has been developing a modern, high-tech oil refinery to produce jet fuel, diesel fuel and rocket fuel among other projects. 


The Upper Michigan Green Aviation Coalition comprised of aviation and aerospace companies who are actively engaged in the aerospace, satellite, UAV, autonomous vehicle, research and development arenas just to name a few. 

Marsh, a global insurance leader servicing the aerospace and aviation field.

Explorer Solutions, aviation and aerospace consultants with over 50 years combined in launch facility development and operations.


Sawyer and its stakeholders is working in parallel with MAMA to assemble a team of partners, investors and end-users to join us in this effort. If you are interested in learning more, please contact us.


Sawyer International Airport At A Glance

-12,300 foot runway easily attainable

-Over 1,000 acres of surrounding forest land and developable property

-Existing facilities (warehouses / hangars / office)

- FAA Control Tower

- Uncongested skies 

- 120,000 sf command and data center

- Readily accessible fuel supply via planned oil refinery

- Rail access via CN Rail 

- Tax Incentive Potential

- Michigan Technological University / Northern Michigan University

- Abundance of defense contracting companies engaged in research and development and manufacturing

Northern Polar Route

Considerations during early part of ascent: 

-over-water trajectories are better than over-land

-unpopulated area flyover 

-national ally

-quality and size of restricted airspace (MOA)

MAMA Immediate Schedule

Or Call Vikki Kulju at (906) 346-3333