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NM Officials Seek Liability Waiver to Protect Space Tourism Operators

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An artist's conception of a Virgin Galactic flight above Spaceport America in New Mexico

An artist's conception of a Virgin Galactic flight above Spaceport America in New Mexico

Spaceport officials seek way to reduce liability
Las Cruces Sun-News

New Mexico spaceport officials said Wednesday they’ll again seek legislation that would effectively reduce legal liability for companies that launch from Spaceport America.

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Commercial Spaceflight Federation Creates Spaceports Council

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CSF PRESS RELEASE

Washington, D.C., November 23, 2009 – The Commercial Spaceflight Federation is pleased to announce the creation and initial membership of the Spaceports Council, composed of spaceports worldwide who seek to cooperate on issues of common interest such as airspace access, legal and regulatory frameworks, infrastructure, international policy migration, liability, and voluntary common operating standards.

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Spaceports in New Mexico, Sweden Compete and Cooperate in Space Tourism

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The road to Spaceport America is now paved only with red dirt. Virgin Galactic and New Mexico hope it will soon be paved in gold. (Photo Credit: Lucinda Weisbach)

The road to Spaceport America is now paved only with red dirt. Virgin Galactic and New Mexico hope it will soon be paved in gold. (Photo Credit: Lucinda Weisbach)

Space industry arrives in New Mexico
Las Cruces Bulletin

A model for making the $198 million Spaceport America 45 miles north of Las Cruces a tourist destination can be found in the contingency from Spaceport Sweden. Although its spaceport launch facilities was developed from an existing operation, Sweden emphasizes other attractions than just launches, such as reindeer rides, the Northern Lights and a stay in a hotel made of ice.

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CSF to Congress: Fund Program for Spaceport Improvements

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The Commercial Spaceflight Federation is calling upon Congress and the Obama Administration to provide federal funding to the nation’s spaceports under an unfunded 1993 law:

Unlike airports, commercial spaceports currently have no opportunity to apply for federal matching dollars for infrastructure to support operations and protect public safety. In the 1993 NASA Authorization Act (Public Law No. 102-588), Congress authorized a new program to support commercial space transportation facilities, but no funding has been appropriated to date.

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Spaceport America Runway Construction Progresses

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Spaceport America

Spaceport America

SPACEPORT AMERICA PRESS RELEASE

The construction of a new runway is well underway at Spaceport America, the world’s first purpose-built commercial spaceport. New Mexico Spaceport Authority (NMSA) officials have released new aerial photos taken on September 13, 2009, of the 10,000-foot runway project, which is designed to accommodate horizontal launch space and air operations at the spaceport. The runway is expected to be complete by late Summer 2010.

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More WhiteKnightTwo Details

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wk2wing

There was a panel discussion at the Oshkosh airshow last night that featured Scaled Composites Burt Rutan and Bob Morgan and Virgin Galactic’s Will Whitehorn. Some highlights:

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Spaceport America Gets Bonds to Begin Construction

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The road to Spaceport America is now paved only with red dirt. Virgin Galactic and New Mexico hope it will soon be paved in gold. (Photo Credit: Lucinda Weisbach)

The road to Spaceport America is now paved only with red dirt. Virgin Galactic and New Mexico hope it will soon be paved in gold. (Photo Credit: Lucinda Weisbach)

Spaceport America Gets Bonds, Power
Las Cruces Bulletin

In the latter part of the coming week, Spaceport America should have $58 million for the first round of construction contracts to build the $198 million spaceport between Las Cruces and Truth or Consequences.

At a recent special meeting, the New Mexico Spaceport Authority board was given details of bids on this first series of bonds to begin construction. The bids were very favorable, spaceport officials told the board, amounting to an interest rate of less than 5 percent for an annual debt service of an estimated $4.37 million.

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British Government Slammed for Doing Little to Promote Space Tourism

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Artists conception of WhiteKnightTwo and the SpaceShipTwo space tourism vehicle. (Credit: Virgin Galactic)

Artists conception of WhiteKnightTwo and the SpaceShipTwo space tourism vehicle. (Credit: Virgin Galactic)

At a space tourism conference last week in London, Virgin Galactic CEO Will Whitehorn said the UK needed to make regulatory changes before his company would consider basing space tourism flights out of RAF Lossiemouth in Scotland.

The Times reports that the government was warned about this problem years ago but has taken no action: Continue reading ‘British Government Slammed for Doing Little to Promote Space Tourism’

WhiteKnightTwo Flight 10 Log

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WhiteKnightTwo

WhiteKnightTwo

Scaled Composites Flight Log

Flight: 10
Date:
19 June 09
Flight Time:
6 hours (planned)
Pilot:
Siebold
Copilot: Nichols
FTE: None

Objectives:

To evaluate performance, stability and control, and cold soak effects on 1st long cross country. Flyby at Spaceport America as able.

Results:

En route testing above 40,000 feet was uneventful. During the descent toward the Spaceport America groundbreaking we experienced a failure of a speedbrake actuator. Based on facilities available and logistics for our ground crew, the pilots elected to make a precautionary landing at Williams Gateway airport near Phoenix. Our ground crew is on site and we hope to return to Mojave either this afternoon or tomorrow morning.

South Korea Joins the Space Race with Russia’s Help

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Space Dreams
The Korea Times

South Korea has emerged as the world’s 13th country to operate a space center. The nation opened its first such center Thursday to place satellites in orbit and develop its own rocket technology. The opening has laid the ground for Korea’s joining in the space race with advanced countries such as the U.S., Russia and Japan.

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