Plans for Spaceport America Visitors Center Scaled Back

Facing a tight budget and uncertain start-up schedule, the New Mexico Spaceport Authority has scaled back a $20 million plan to build a visitor’s center at Spaceport America and a welcome center in Truth or Consequences (TorC).

The new $7.5 million plan would include the $6 million welcome center in TorC  where tourists would gather to board buses for Spaceport America. The planned $13 million visitor’s center at the spaceport would be replaced with a $1.5 million hangar until the authority could afford to build something more elaborate.

NMSA Executive Director Christine Anderson said she would ask the Legislature for $1.5 million to fund the hangar. The authority would seek a $6 million loan for the welcome center in TorC.

Under the original plan, NMSA would have sought a $20 million private loan that was to be paid back from tourist revenues.

Although the spaceport is now complete, its anchor tenant, Virgin Galactic, has suffered delays in launching is suborbital tourism service. The company is still testing SpaceShipTwo in California.

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