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Video New Report on Spaceport America

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Senate Bill to Sell Spaceport Launched to Senate Finance Without Recommendation

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WhiteKnightTwo visited Spaceport America for the first time in three years on Wednesday. Below, you can see a full-scale model of SpaceShipTwo on the ramp. (Credit: Virgin Galactic)

WhiteKnightTwo visited Spaceport America for the first time in three years on Wednesday. Below, you can see a full-scale model of SpaceShipTwo on the ramp. (Credit: Virgin Galactic)

SANTE FE, NM (NM Senate Democrats PR) — A Senate bill to sell the Spaceport America facility moved on to the Senate Finance (SFC) with a bipartisan no-recommendation on Thursday. After a brief debate, the Senate Corporations and Transportation Committee (SCORC) voted to move along Senate Bill 267 (SB267), “Sale of Spaceport America,” sponsored by Senator George K. Muñoz (D-4-Cibola, McKinley & San Juan).

Continue reading ‘Senate Bill to Sell Spaceport Launched to Senate Finance Without Recommendation’

Virgin Galactic’s Sales Numbers Don’t Add Up

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Richard Branson speaks to the press at the Mojave Air and Space Port about the crash off SpaceShipTwo. (Credit: Douglas Messier)

Richard Branson speaks to the press at the Mojave Air and Space Port about the crash off SpaceShipTwo. (Credit: Douglas Messier)

I’ve been doing a bit of research into Virgin Galactic over the last few days.  I’ve come to a realization that the company’s ticket sales and cancellation numbers don’t add up in the wake of SpaceShipTwo’s crash.

Prior to the crash, Richard Branson was claiming the company had 800 ticket holders, or close to that number. He reiterated the figure three days after the crash in an interview on “CBS This Morning”. Continue reading ‘Virgin Galactic’s Sales Numbers Don’t Add Up’

Learning Period Extension Could Depend on SpaceShipTwo Investigation Results

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SpaceShipTwo disintegrates as its two tail booms fall away. (Credit: Kenneth Brown)

SpaceShipTwo disintegrates as its two tail booms fall away. (Credit: Kenneth Brown)

During the FAA’s recent Commercial Space Transportation Conference in Washington, DC, there was a lot of talk about extending the learning period and regulatory “moratorium” on commercial human spaceflight that expires on Sept. 30.

Having failed to fly into space in the decade since the restrictions were put into place, industry naturally wants yet another extension so they can continue learning their lessons. In the meantime, voluntary standards will suffice. The FAA is of another mind, wanting to have the authority to write a basic set of safety standards and to react quickly to situations as they develop.

Continue reading ‘Learning Period Extension Could Depend on SpaceShipTwo Investigation Results’

Video Report on Spaceport America Fly-in

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A report on the recent fly-in at Spaceport America.

Battle Brewing Over Extending Commercial Spaceflight Learning Period

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Part of SpaceShipTwo's fuselage. (Credit: Kenneth Brown)

Part of SpaceShipTwo’s fuselage. (Credit: Kenneth Brown)

By Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

A battle is brewing over whether to extend the learning period for the commercial spaceflight industry, with Congress needing to make a decision before October on when the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) will be allowed to regulate an industry still struggling to get off the ground.

On one side are FAA officials, who believe they can begin to craft basic safety regulations based on more than 50 years of human spaceflight experience. Industry figures dispute this, saying they still don’t have enough experience with their varied vehicles to begin the process.

Continue reading ‘Battle Brewing Over Extending Commercial Spaceflight Learning Period’

Spaceport America Hosts Valentine’s Day Fly-in

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Spaceport America fly-in. (Credit: NMSA)

Spaceport America fly-in. (Credit: NMSA)

SPACEPORT AMERICA, NM (NMSA PR) — Spaceport America hosted ten private pilots and 24 of their guests in a first ever Fly-in event held at the spaceport on Valentine’s Day. Visiting aircraft at today’s event ranging from a large twin-engine, 6-passenger Cessna aircraft to a two seat, home built, RV 4, parked on the spaceport apron around the iconic “Gateway to Space” terminal hangar building.

Spaceport America Executive Director, Christine Anderson and her staff took the group of pilots and their passengers on a special morning tour of the Spaceport Operations Center (SOC) and then during a luncheon updated the group on the spaceport’s progress. The spaceport guests were treated to a private tour of the Gateway To Space building given by Jonathan Firth, Virgin Galactic Senior Vice President before departing in mid-afternoon.

“Today’s unique event gave our spaceport staff a chance to share a glimpse of the future of the commercial space industry with members of the aviation community and also allowed them an opportunity to work together on a large airfield operations mission,” said Christine Anderson. “We look forward to doing more community outreach projects like this with the public in the near future.”

Spaceport America has over 5,000 visitors to date who have toured the spaceport by taking one of the weekly public tours offered by the Follow The Sun tour company. Follow The Sun will be expanding their tours from 3 to 5 days a week to accommodate the new Spaceport America Visitors Experience. The new experience will include a visit to the onsite Gateway Gallery, featuring many exciting interactive displays, exhibits and the new Spaceport America Visitor Center in Truth or Consequences.

Virgin Galactic Moving LauncherOne Design and Production to Long Beach

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Artist's conception of WhiteKnightTwo with LauncherOne (Credit: Virgin Galactic)

Artist’s conception of WhiteKnightTwo with LauncherOne (Credit: Virgin Galactic)

LONG BEACH, Calif. (Virgin Galactic PR) – February 12, 2015 – Virgin Galactic, the privately-funded space company owned by Sir Richard Branson’s Virgin Group and Abu Dhabi’s Aabar Investments PJS, is pleased to announce it has leased a new 150,000 square foot facility that will house design and manufacturing of the company’s small satellite launch vehicle, LauncherOne.

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Senior Citizens Being Pushed Aside for Spaceport America Visitors Center

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Oh God! As if Spaceport America needed more bad publicity.

Truth or Consequences has voted to rent out a large part of its senior citizens center for a welcome center where tourists will gather to be bused to Spaceport America.

So, let me see if I’ve got this straight:

New Mexico taxpayers spend nearly a quarter billion dollars on a spaceport built for billionaire Richard Branson so he can fly his fellow billionaires and millionaire on space joy rides with the promise of vast economic benefits to the local population. Branson fails to deliver on any of it despite 10 years of effort, leaving taxpayers subsidizing a largely empty spaceport used for occasional sounding rocket launches. And now senior citizens living on fixed incomes are being pushed aside to make way for tourists to go visit a spaceport with no spacecraft.

This is not good. The crown jewel of NewSpace is becoming a cosmic embarrassment.

Continue reading ‘Senior Citizens Being Pushed Aside for Spaceport America Visitors Center’

For Sale: One Slightly Used Spaceport

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WhiteKnightTwo visited Spaceport America for the first time in three years on Wednesday. Below, you can see a full-scale model of SpaceShipTwo on the ramp. (Credit: Virgin Galactic)

WhiteKnightTwo visited Spaceport America for the first time in three years on Wednesday. Below, you can see a full-scale model of SpaceShipTwo on the ramp. (Credit: Virgin Galactic)

New Mexico State Sen. George Munoz, D-Gallop, has introduced a bill that would get New Mexico out of the space business by putting Spaceport America up for sale.

The measure, SB-267, would require the New Mexico Spaceport Authority to develop a plan for selling the $225 million facility located outside of Truth or Consequences.

Funds from the sale would go toward early pay back of bonds used to fund the spaceport. Special taxes imposed in Sierra and Dona Ana counties to help pay for the spaceport would be rescinded. And the spaceport authority would be put out of business.

The spaceport was developed with Virgin Galactic as its anchor tenant. However, Virgin has experienced years of delay in getting its space tourism business up and running. SpaceX has a test facility at Spaceport America, and a number of sounding rockets have been launched from the location.