Spaceport News From New Mexico, Texas and Britain

Artist's conception of the proposed SpaceX commercial launch facility near Brownsville, Texas.
Artist’s conception of the proposed SpaceX commercial launch facility near Brownsville, Texas.

A quick roundup of spaceport news around the globe:

Las Cruces, NM: With commercial Virgin Galactic flights from Spaceport America delayed until at least August 2014, New Mexico taxpayers will have to spend an extra $6.9 million to pay for the paving of a southern road to the remote site. That amount has been diverted from the road budget to cover operations.

Albuquerque, NM: Viewing increased spaceport competition from other states, the editors of the Albuquerque Journal fear their state could lose its advantages.

“In down-to-earth terms, New Mexico has impressive natural and man-made leads in this next space race, the editors write. “So it is vital not to squander them. Because not only do New Mexico taxpayers have hundreds of millions at stake in Spaceport America’s success, but plenty of other states want to enter that orbit.”

Brownsville, Texas: Cameron County commissioners met in closed session to discuss economic incentives designed to develop a commercial spaceport for SpaceX. The California company is leaning toward the Texas site, but it is awaiting the results of a review by the Federal Aviation Administration.

London, England: An English think tank believes that the nation should establish spaceports to serve the suborbital market and develop the capabilities to do microgravity research aboard these ships.

Speaking at the International Space Commerce Summit in London today, Dan Lewis, Energy Policy Adviser at the Institute of Directors, said…the UK should seize the opportunity brought about by companies such as Virgin Galactic, XCOR or Blue Origin.

“We should capitalise on the deep local research culture,” Lewis said. “The progress in sub-orbital vehicle technology is moving faster than previously foreseen and can change the current dynamics of the space industry. We need to start thinking seriously about these opportunities,” he said, suggesting that in addition to the existing telecommunications and satellite research centres, UK universities should consider establishing dedicated sub-orbital technology research centres.

  • DBC

    How about Midland, TX? Any recent progress?

  • Douglas Messier

    Midland is still working through its spaceport licensing with the FAA. Expect that to happen sometime early next year.