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Space Science

Spaceport Development Picks Up Steam In Texas 116

Posted by samzenpus
from the if-you-build-it-they-will-launch dept.
RocketAcademy writes "The Lone Star State is moving to become a leader in spaceport development. The Houston Airport System is officially moving ahead with plans to turn Ellington Airport, near NASA's Johnson Space Center, into an FAA-licensed commercial spaceport. The airport system has completed a feasibility study for turning the field into a spaceport for suborbital spacecraft such as Virgin Galactic's SpaceShip Two and XCOR's Lynx. In the longer term, spacecraft could link Houston to Singapore in as little as three hours, according to airport system director Mario Diaz. Meanwhile, state Representative Rene Oliveira (D-Brownsville) introduced a bill that would allow county commissioners to close a local beach for launches from the proposed SpaceX launch site in Cameron County. The bill is part of a flood of spaceport-related legislation that has been introduced recently in the Texas legislature."
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Spaceport Development Picks Up Steam In Texas

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  • by Press2ToContinue (2424598) * on Thursday March 07, 2013 @11:02PM (#43112587)

    (Line for the 10-mile-high club forms to the rear of the craft.)

    "and thank-you for riding Virgin Galactic. We hope you'll come again."

    • by tlhIngan (30335)

      (Line for the 10-mile-high club forms to the rear of the craft.)

      10 miles is only 52,800 feet, which isn't terribly high. Heck, a lot of airliners these days are pushing that regularly. 100 mile high, now...

  • Science (Score:2, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward

    Science, shame they don't teach that in Texas schools.

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Hey guess what? I am a Texas high school student and I am currently doing chemistry homework.

    • by sethstorm (512897)

      That, and it's not theft only if you're a business and bring it to Texas.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Dasuraga (1147871)
      I get that it's a joke, but I'm really tired of hearing people demean Texas' education system.
      While the state might not do so well in math and science test comparisons compared to other states, the state excels at making many things available to students that are rare if non-existent elsewhere. The right to a good education is in the state constitution (which also asks for the foundation of "first-class" state universities: University of Texas and Texas A&M), and implements a very broad wealth redist
      • So you're saying it's the people that're stupid and that it's not the schools' fault? Somehow, that doesn't seem a whole lot better or laudatory...
        • Re:Science (Score:4, Interesting)

          by Dasuraga (1147871) on Friday March 08, 2013 @12:27AM (#43112977)
          No, I'm saying that the demographics of Texas (5th poorest state in the nation by poverty rate, among other things) cause the lower rankings, not the school system. The school system gives the tools for motivated children to learn, but when these children don't get three meals a day....
          • Gotcha! I'll buy that line of reasoning. I remember reading somewhere that when the school system provides a free lunch, kids do better. When the school system provides a free breakfast (also, or instead, I forget which...) the kids do even better. This is most effective when the kids getting the free or reduced cost meals are not pointed out and do not feel like they're different from the other kids who don't get the free meals (like not having special meal card colors or anything).
            .
            There's also the
            • by crutchy (1949900)

              there's big oil, patent lawsuits and guns... what else could texans possibly want?

            • by Opyros (1153335)
              The quote [wikiquote.org] you're probably thinking of is this, from Anatole France's The Red Lily:

              The law, in its majestic equality, forbids the rich as well as the poor to sleep under bridges, to beg in the streets, and to steal bread.

            • by Intropy (2009018)

              Football is certainly a popular sport in Texas both for players and spectators. Where I lived it was definitely thought of as culturally important to a decent number of students, but that of course varied widely across the student body. And it was well funded with a nice field, good equipment, etc. On the other hand other activities didn't seem to suffer from lack of funding. I was in Academic Decathlon, the chess club, debate, and the tennis team. We had art classes, theater, band, orchestra, soccer, lacro

            • Re:Science (Score:4, Informative)

              by sycodon (149926) on Friday March 08, 2013 @10:46AM (#43115571)

              What you and everyone else is missing is that Texas is burdened with educating hundreds of thousands, if not more, illegal aliens. In fact, Kids come across the border to attend our school. Why? Fuck if I know, but the courts said we have to let them in for some reason.

              So now you have to feed them, hire Bi-Lingual teachers, and then deal with the inevitable gang problems. Just look at San Antonio ISD.

              The district my kids went to is rated tops in the nation in all the math and science scores and guess what? 99.9% of the kids that go there speak English and are not in gangs. If you think I should pony up more tax dollars to make sure a bunch of illegals on the border get a nice stadium and band instruments, then I think you should too.

              As for Football, aside from the initial capital investments, the programs are run mostly on ticket sales and other fund raisers. Same thing with the Bands.

            • The sports games (in theory) pay for themselves in various ways.

      • Your comment would carry more weight if it didn't say right there in the headline that they were trying to build a steam-powered spaceport...
      • I get that it's a joke, but I'm really tired of hearing people demean Texas' education system. While the state might not do so well in math and science test comparisons compared to other states, the state excels at making many things available to students that are rare if non-existent elsewhere. The right to a good education is in the state constitution (which also asks for the foundation of "first-class" state universities: University of Texas and Texas A&M), and implements a very broad wealth redistribution scheme (Robin hood plan), which makes sure that even very poor school districts can pay for AP classes, music electives, sports facilities, the works. Children who show potential are given chances from a very early age to enter advanced-placement courses, and many efforts are made by teachers to identify children who can enter these. I honestly think that the low rankings of Texas in Math and Science comparisons is more due to demographics than the school system, and in more general rankings the school fares much better. In any case, it goes to great lengths to let children broaden their horizons with their peers, independent of social class.

        Straight from good points headlong into the racism we tend to expect from Texans.

        • by Dasuraga (1147871)
          Demographics was a bad choice of word. I mainly meant the fact that Texas is super poor(5th poorest in the nation by poverty rate), and there's a pretty well documented correlation between poverty and educational results.
          • Demographics was a bad choice of word. I mainly meant the fact that Texas is super poor(5th poorest in the nation by poverty rate), and there's a pretty well documented correlation between poverty and educational results.

            Fair enough. Criticism withdrawn.

      • by dywolf (2673597)

        add to that, if you're a resident of texas, and you join the military, your college education is free (at least to the state schools, honorable discharge required). And that's on top of your federal gi bill benefits.

    • Eh, teaching is overrated. When you have a GDP that is sufficient to land you between Australia and Russia, you can afford to simply import the folks with book learnin'. See: NASA.

      Of course, that doesn't stop some of us from getting one of those edjumacations. When I wanted to study Computer Science some more (instead of following up on one of the three separate internships I had in the space industry as an undergrad), I ended up pursuing my graduate coursework at a major Texas university, for instance. Now

  • Since it's for the few and does not cater to the many, it's just cronyism done in the traditional Texas way.

    • by Anubis IV (1279820) on Friday March 08, 2013 @01:30AM (#43113207)

      Indeed! How can they possibly justify suggesting that a large-ish military/NASA airport within spitting distance of Johnson Space Center be used as a spaceport?! Why, next thing you know, they'll try and pass it off as common sense. One person I met had the gall to suggest that because Houston is one of the largest urban centers in the nation, is within a short driving distance of 3 of the top 5 seaports in the nation (which might make transporting parts for these craft easier), and has a high concentration of individuals connected to the space industry, it makes sense to put a starport there. How dare there! Harumph.

      • by Hillgiant (916436)

        WARNING: A Texan's (and especially a Houstonian's) definition "a short driving distance" may not correspond with common definitions found elsewhere in the country.

        • Quite true. It's worth pointing out that I was thinking in terms of cargo shipping rather than passenger transport with that particular point, hence why I added that parenthetical statement above. Obviously, a 4-5 hour drive from Corpus Christi to Houston (which is the most distant of the 3 seaports I was referring to) is more than pretty much anyone would consider a "short drive" (even a Houstonian!), but if you're comparing it against a typical drive that a flatbed semi would have to take to deliver a lar

  • by Animats (122034) on Friday March 08, 2013 @12:53AM (#43113085) Homepage

    New Mexico already was screwed by Virgin Galactic on this. The state built Spaceport America [spaceportamerica.com] for Virgin. Then Virgin demanded a better deal, and got it. Once in a while Armadillo Aerospace launches some test rocket from there. The terminal building is used for bus tours.

    • by dywolf (2673597)

      to be honest, what were they thinking putting one in New Mexico in the first place? int he future, it might be a great spot. but right now? its too far from its theoretical customer base. and what were they thinking building it before they even had a businees plan/model to make money from? Spaceport America was a cool idea, but it lacked a lot of common sense.

  • Designed, built and operated by the New Mexico Spaceport Authority (NMSA), Spaceport America is nearing completion of the first phase of construction, which includes basic operational infrastructure such as an airfield, launch pads, terminal / hangar facility, emergency response capabilities, utilities and roadways

    Umm, there's already a spaceport under construction and really close to Texas.

    • by mjr167 (2477430)
      I know in America we suck at geography.... but New Mexico is on the west side of Texas. Houston in on the east. When I was little we would drive into Texas from Louisiana (east side) and the sign on I10 read "Welcome to Texas. Beaumont 25 miles. El Paso 890 miles." You might consider 890 miles pretty close, but I think it would be one heck of a commute...
    • by dywolf (2673597)

      it's "really" close to the western tip of texas.....which puts it really far away from 99% of texas.

      it's also in an absolutely stupid location. it's as if no one did a feasibility study or anything. there is no nearby population center. there is no nearby logistical transportation lines (major freeway, freight railline, major airport, etc). its int he middle of freaking no where. who's going to use it? super rish, super bored people....and thats it.

      in order for a space port, spance-trans company to work rea

      • by ThorGod (456163)

        Actually, those were listed as the criteria for locating the spaceport there. It's far enough from population, and that's good when things go south.

        • by dywolf (2673597)

          and thats the thing. i thnk those criteria are in error. a spaceport shouldnt be a facility for experiment, where those things are a thing to be worried about, anymore than airplanes are expected to crash at airports. and whats happened is its now too far away for anyone or anything to even try to use it, to even try to start a new industry.

  • A "_____"port is a transportation and commercial node - but there's no transport or commerce of note taking places at these "space"ports... just glorified amusement park rides. They're being built (with tax dollars) for no purpose other than allowing airport mangers and commissions and various state officials to brag about having a "space"port.

    • by zwede (1478355)
      By that logic the Interstate highway system was a waste of tax money. After all, before the highways were built there weren't that many people travelling between states.
      • Wow... Not only an apple to... God knows what, as "apples to oranges comparison" doesn't even begin to describe the blithering idiocy and ignorance of your reply.

        In the first place, a highway is a route connecting two destinations (which these 'ports' do not). Further, the Interstate Highway system was (originally) built for military purposes - commercial use was a distant secondary consideration. (Though it later came to dominate as the highway system became a pork barrel.)

        In the second p

  • by PPH (736903)

    Can we load all of Texas onto a rocket and send it to mars? One way?

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