Following the bankruptcies of XCOR and Orbital outfitters, Midland City Councilman Spencer Robnett says it’s time to end the city’s efforts to establish a viable spaceport.
In an opinion piece published by the Midland Reporter Telegram, Robnett wrote:
At this Tuesday’s City Council meeting, we will consider a resolution extending a contract with SilverWing Enterprises for contractual services to renew our spaceport license for 5 years. I will vote against extending the spaceport license and any future spaceport agenda items and would encourage my fellow councilmen and councilwoman to do the same.
What was initially touted as a chance to diversify Midland’s economy and bring space tourism, space research and space travel to West Texas has cost the taxpayers of Midland over $20 million to date with nothing to show for it. Since this community began pursuit of a spaceport designation, Midland’s population has grown at unprecedented rates and Permian Basin oil production has tripled. Based on some reports, Basin production could again double by 2023 with $300 billion in upstream investment forecast during that time period. We need to spend our tax dollars supporting infrastructure that helps drive what makes Midland unique and prosperous, not chase speculative diversification efforts at the taxpayers’ expense.
SPARKS, Nev. (Nov. 3, 2016) – Sierra Nevada Corporation (SNC) and the Midland Development Corporation (MDC) today announce that Midland International Air & Space Port is now considered a compatible landing site for SNC’s Dream Chaser spacecraft. Midland International Air & Space Port, located in Midland, Texas, has successfully completed the compatibility portion of the Dream Chaser Landing Site Designation process, which is the first step toward becoming an approved landing site for Dream Chaser spacecraft landings. (more…)
The Midland Development Corporation and XCOR have struck a deal relating to the company’s hangar in Texas.
XCOR agreed to give Hangar A — or half of the building XCOR occupies at the Spaceport Business Park — back to the city. The more than 40,000-square-foot space would cost about $7.5 million to build, which is the same amount of tax revenue that MDC gets in one year.
XCOR will also pay $6,000 a month to lease its remaining half, or Hangar B.
In exchange, the MDC passed an agenda item reimbursing XCOR for about $795,500 for improvements to Hangar A…
(XCOR has) come to the conclusion that they basically had more space than they really needed at this point,” said Robert Rendall, MDC board member. “At the same time, we had prospects that are interested in coming to the Spaceport business park, so it was just a good opportunity for us to relook at their needs and our needs and possibly provide space for other companies that wanted to come in without having to build them a building right now.”
“Right now, we’re looking at XCOR to probably have their first launch here second quarter of ’16,” Lacy said during a MSDC meeting. “Orbital Outfitters’ building is moving along very nicely; they’ve also got the altitude chamber facilities inside that building. The XCOR hangar is almost complete, and we’ve already got half of their staff out here right now.”
Washington D.C. – The Commercial Spaceflight Federation is excited to announce the addition of two new Executive members and one Associate member.
“The commercial spaceflight industry is innovating and developing at an ever-increasing pace,” stated CSF President Eric Stallmer. “With the recent expansion of membership, our organization continues to grow with industry to represent the vibrant commercial spaceflight sector.”
NewsWest9.com reports the Midland City Council has approved the expenditure of up to $200,000 to build a rocket engine test stand for XCOR at the Midland International Air and Space Port. The money will come from the Midland Development Corporation.
XCOR has a lease to move its R&D facility to the west Texas city, which has put up incentives worth $10 million for the company. The move is planned for after XCOR begins flight tests of its Lynx suborbital spacecraft in Mojave, Calif.