NM Legislature Slashes Spaceport America Budget

Spaceport America budget cut 57 percent

Las Cruces Sun-News

Spaceport America’s operating budget was slashed 57 percent in this year’s legislative session, spaceport officials heard for the first time Wednesday.

The agency received about $1.17 million in the current fiscal year that ends June 30, according to spaceport Director Christine Anderson. But it’s slated to get about $500,000 next year, she said. The reduction is concerning, said spaceport board member Ben Woods, also a vice president at New Mexico State University.

“We do have a responsibility to find out how the actions of the Legislature affect the operation of the spaceport,” he said, during a public meeting in Elephant Butte. “Obviously that affects everything we do.”

The state budget assumed that the spaceport would receive, in addition to the half-million dollars, about $200,000 as part of the first lease payments from Virgin Galactic, the main tenant at Spaceport America, Anderson said. But she said those payments hinge upon the company moving into the under-construction terminal-hangar building in the coming year, which isn’t guaranteed.

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