By Paul Drewes
HONOLULU (KHNL) - The State of Hawaii is shooting for the stars, or at least outer space.
Part of the plans by the Office of Aerospace Development for our islands.
For decades, the race into space and beyond has captured the attention of millions. And during that time, Hawaii has had a role seeing that men get on the moon and also seeing beyond our own galaxy.
"Hawaii has been involved in aerospace for 4 decades. With the training of the apollo astronauts and the development of world class observatories on Mauna Kea, Haleakala and Mauna Loa." says Jim Crisafulli, the Director of the Office of Aerospace Development.
While Hawaii observatories look up to the skies, things are also looking up for space partnerships and development here in the islands.
In addition to NASA showing interest in the state, by setting up 5 centers for research, aerospace companies are also taking a look at Hawaii as they expand around the pacific.
And the islands could also become a player in the latest space race. Under the state's ambitious plan, Honolulu International Airport would become a spaceport. And that would have more than just jets taking off, it would allow space planes to take off and land.
Unlike the Space Shuttle, space planes could turn into a revenue source from space tourists. Something many are willing to pay big bucks for. And the state hopes the race into space will also provide an uplifting boost to Hawaii's economy.
"I think aerospace could be one of the biggest drivers for the state's economy for years to come. I believe our destiny is in space and Hawaii has a lot to contribute." adds Crisafulli.