Spaceport America Chief Praises Spaceport’s Awesomeness

10 Comments
Credit: David Wilson, Spaceport America

Credit: David Wilson, Spaceport America

Spaceport America is awesome, and it’s just going to get more awesome in the years ahead.

So says Christine Anderson, who runs the runs the facility as executive director of the New Mexico Spaceport Authority. Anderson explained the project’s value in an op-ed that ran in the Las Cruces Sun-News on Sunday.

The piece boasted about how many jobs the spaceport had created, projected how many more it would produce in the years ahead, marveled at the high-quality tenants it had attracted (Virgin Galactic, SpaceX), and tried to make the $212 million spent thus far seem like a bargain to taxpayers.

In other words, she said nothing new that taxpayers haven’t heard for years. However, there was this intriguing paragraph toward the end:

The New Mexico Spaceport Authority and the New Mexico Economic Development Department are beginning an economic development initiative. Working in coordination with business leaders, spaceport customers, educators and economic development organizations, we will enable the infrastructure to be developed that will provide a firm foundation for the spaceport’s success and, even more importantly, result in jobs and economic prosperity for New Mexicans.

Anderson doesn’t explain precisely what this will entail, or what it might cost taxpayers. However, it is clear that the low-income region lacks the type of high-end hotels, restaurants and other amenities that the billionaires and millionaires who will fly from Spaceport America typically expect. Having spent more than $200 million building a spaceport that caters to the rich, the region’s service economy will need to follow suit.

  • teslasa

    “spaceport that caters to the rich” if you dont like “rich” people go to a communist country and see how well it worked out for them. Btw most americans can afford 200K for a flight if they sell all assets.

  • Douglas Messier

    It’s now up to $250,000, BTW. Not many people would sell every asset they own for five minutes of weightlessness, so that’s irrelevant.

    One of Virgin’s customers was in New Mexico back in October talking about the need for luxury hotels and restaurants to serve people like himself, so this is hardly an unreasonable direction for New Mexico to go in.

  • Carolynne Campbell

    One wonders what kind of hard-nosed business person would build those kinds of facilities prior to having proof that the customers are really on their way? The years of delays and lack of those vital successful flights to the Karmen Line, are hardly going to motivate anyone to assume the risk.
    What comes first – the chicken or the egg?

  • mzungu

    Are overnight trainings required for Virgin flights? If not, I can hardly imagine why anyone wants to stay around that desert.

    Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed my stay at T&C, and the hot springs, but prob not so for the jet set folks who would probably flying-in to the space ports directly rather than wasting time driving up. a Virgin hotel at the space port prob is a better idea.

  • Hug Doug

    UP Aerospace has been launching from Spaceport America since 2006. Virgin Galactic is the anchor tenant and they have been doing their test flights there. Additionally, SpaceX will be doing their test launches for the Grasshopper 2 aka Falcon 9-R there.

  • Douglas Messier

    Virgin Galactic has conducted no test flights in New Mexico. They have flown WhiteKnightTwo and SpaceShipTwo there for special events, but no actual testing.

  • Douglas Messier

    Three days of training required prior to Virgin’s flights. Once the southern route is paved, it will be a lot easier for people to stay in Las Cruces and commute up to the spaceport from there. No more routing through TorC.

  • Hug Doug

    my mistake. i assumed the test flights were done there.

  • mzungu

    Think if I am anywhere near as a savy biz man like Branson , I would build a luxury hotel right on the spaceport itself, and the save the clients 2 hours of driving each day, while sucking more money out of them 24/7 with caviar and lobster tails. Tax payers in T&C and Las Cruces would never know what hit them paying for the roads and the ports. :D

  • Carolynne Campbell

    I was meaning the investment in the hotel and restaurant….