Richardson Gives Big Shout Out to Spaceport America

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Giving his final State of the State address, New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson gave a big shout-out to one of his signature projects, Spaceport America.

I’m pleased to report that Spaceport America is ahead of schedule and under budget. As we speak four hundred and sixty-seven new workers are on the job constructing the first commercial spaceport in the world, with one hundred and fifty to three hundred more hires expected over this year.

The Spaceport is fulfilling its promise of inspiring young men and women to study math and science, developing our southern and statewide economy, and expanding tourism. For those who doubt if the Spaceport will bring in business, you should know that Virgin Galactic has over forty two million dollars deposited for more than three hundred reservations.

The demand is there. New Mexico will get its return on investment.

To make sure New Mexico remains competitive against Virginia, Florida and Texas, I’m asking this body to pass legislation allowing participants to assume the risks of spaceflight.

Richardson was referring to a proposed law that would protect spaceflight operators such as Virgin Galactic from being sued except in cases of gross negligence as long as tourists sign waivers accepting the risks. The space tourism has argued that without such legislation, they would be in danger of being sued out of business in the event of fatal accidents. Similar laws exist in Florida, Virginia and Texas.

Richardson is in the final year of his second term as New Mexico’s governor. He is barred from seeking a third term under law.