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Phase One of Construction at Spaceport in New Mexico Complete
The first phase of Spaceport America is almost complete. The project will send tourists into space along with payloads. As of right now, the Spaceport will be home to two rocket companies that will put vertical payloads into space. The company owned by Richard Branson, Virgin Galactic, has already booked 500 people for spaceflights that cost $200,000 per person.
There are some companies that are choosing other states instead of New Mexico. XCOR Aerospace skipped New Mexico and instead is going to Texas and Florida. It chose Midland, Texas for its brand new Commercial Space Research and Development Center Headquarters. Titusville, Florida won the services of RocketCrafters, Inc. over New Mexico. SpaceX also chose another state instead of New Mexico.
Town officials blame the legislature for the lack of companies choosing New Mexico. The legislature would not pass laws that would prevent suppliers of spacecraft from being liable should they crash or explode. The carrier was exempt through 2018 but none of the suppliers were exempt from liability by the state.
“The issue is informed consent legislation,” said Truth or Consequences Mayor John Mulcahy. “We need to get that passed.”
“We worked with (former Gov. Bill) Richardson’s people as well as (Gov. Susana) Martinez,” Andrew Nelson said. Nelson is the COO of XCOR Aerospace. “They are all fine. They have been great. But they couldn’t deliver the package that was necessary to get across the goal line.”
Christine Anderson, the executive director for New Mexico Space Authority said, “We are so happy we have Virgin Galactic as anchors. But we want to attract more tenants. … I think this is really a critical piece of legislation that New Mexico has to have.”
The Spaceport should see 200,000 people visit it per year, according to the Tourism and Spaceport officials.
“And I don’t know how many states or commercial entities can sit around for 10 years and wait for business to show up. They are going to have a problem staying viable,” Alex Ignatiev said. Ignatiev is a professor of physics at the University of Houston.Phase One of Construction at Spaceport in New Mexico Complete by Jim Vassallo