Sunday, September 23, 2012

Commercial Spaceport Competition Heats-Up

September 22, 2012 2:16 PM

N.M. spaceport is built - but who will come?

The hangar facility at Spaceport America, northeast of Truth or Consequences, N.M., is seen in this October 17, 2011 file photo. (FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP/Getty Images)

(AP) TRUTH OR CONSEQUENCES, N.M. - New Mexico Tourism Secretary Monique Jacobson says it will be New Mexico's Sydney Opera House. Virgin Galactic Chairman Richard Branson has hinted it will host the first of his new brand of lifestyle hotels. And the eclectic hot springs town of Truth or Consequences has been anxiously awaiting all the economic development the nearly quarter-of-a-billion-dollar project is supposed to bring to this largely rural part of southern New Mexico.
But as phase one of Spaceport America, the world's first commercial port built specifically for sending tourists and payloads into space, is nearing completion, the only new hotel project that has been finalized is a Holiday Inn Express here in Truth or Consequences, about 25 miles away. And three key companies with millions of dollars in payroll have passed on developing operations in the state.
The lagging development, along with competition from heavy hitters like Florida and Texas, is raising new questions about the viability of the $209 billion taxpayer-funded project — as well as the rush by so many states to grab a piece of the commercial spaceport pie. To date, nine spaceports are planned around the United States, mostly at existing airports, and another 10 have been proposed, according to a recent report from the New Mexico Spaceport Authority.

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Sources: Associated Press, CBS News.

Florida wants NASA land to develop commercial spaceport

CAPE CANAVERAL, Florida | Sun Sep 23, 2012 4:29pm EDT
(Reuters) - With an eye toward developing a commercial spaceport, Florida has asked NASA to transfer 150 acres of land north of the shuttle launch pads and the shuttle runway to Space Florida, the state's aerospace development agency.
"Florida believes that the properties identified in this request are excess to the needs of the U.S. government," Lieutenant Governor Jennifer Carroll, who is also chairwoman of Space Florida, wrote in letter to NASA chief Charles Bolden and Ray LaHood, secretary of Department of Transportation, which oversees commercial space transportation in the United States.
The letter, dated September 20, was posted on the state's Sunburst public records website.

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Source: Reuters.


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