Virginia Boosts Funding for Space Activities

Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport on Wallops Island, Virginia

General Assembly boosts funding for Virginia commercial spaceflight
Daily Press

Commercial spaceflight in Virginia will receive a boost under the General Assembly’s 2010-11 budget.

The budget, awaiting the approval of Gov. Bob McDonnell, includes $837,875 annually for the next two years to help staff the Virginia Commercial Space Flight Authority. That’s up from the $100,000 the authority has received in recent years, said Laurie Naismith, an authority spokeswoman.

NASA has launched rockets from Wallops Island since the dawn of the space age. Virginia created the authority 16 years ago – and built a facility, the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport on Wallops – to capitalize on the commercial rocket industry. Through the authority, Virginia has spent millions of dollars building roads, launch pads, and other infrastructure.

The investment paid off when NASA inked a $1.9 billion deal with Dulles-based Orbital Sciences Corp. to launch rockets from the spaceport to the International Space Station. Orbital plans its first launch next fall; many hope it will be a harbinger of things to come, specifically space tourism. The facility also is used by the Department of Defense.

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