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Space News

Spaceport America Takes Off 153

SeaDour writes "Spaceport America, being built north of Las Cruces, New Mexico, is finally becoming a reality and is set to become the world's first commercial spaceport. Governor Bill Richardson recently secured 33 million dollars from the state legislature for the final design, and a proposed 0.25% sales tax increase in Dona Ana County, where the facility is to be constructed, is expected to bring an additional 6.5 million dollars per year (if approved by voters next week). Richard Branson, the head of upstart Virgin Galactic, on Monday agreed to lease the facility for 27.5 million dollars over twenty years. If all continues to go as planned, SpaceShipTwo will make its first suborbital joy ride in two to three years."
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Spaceport America Takes Off

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  • by metlin ( 258108 ) * on Wednesday March 28, 2007 @03:10PM (#18519001) Journal
    Ummm, if you'd read the article you'd know that Virgin Galactic is leasing out parts of the space port.

    And they aren't leasing out the whole facilities, only portions of it. Now, if this took off, there would doubtless be others who would build something like this and they too could lease the facility.

    This is more like the government building the first airport so that more people fly to/from a particularly destination. More people fly out from the Spaceport to see space means NM gets more revenue and the tourism improves. And the companies providing the service will also have to pay the state of NM for use of the facility.

    If Virgin was the only company that did it, what is the point? There is no competition and others cannot use the facility. This way, NM keeps the prime real-estate and gets to make money out of it.
  • by AK Marc ( 707885 ) on Wednesday March 28, 2007 @03:23PM (#18519155)
    And what defines a commercial spaceport? I've visited the first non-federally owned facility (verified for the US, presumed for the world). Like this one, it will be linked to state funding, but isn't owned or run by them directly. So I'm thinking that the first commercial spaceport is the Alaska Aerospace Development Corporation's Kodiak Launch Complex. You give them money and a rocket, and they put it in space. And with their latitude, they are the best launch facility in the world for polar orbits.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 28, 2007 @03:24PM (#18519189)

    Secondly, isn't that part of the role of the government? To create and maintain basic infrastructure that people can use?
    Careful, there... according to a surprisingly large portion of active posters on slashdot, the sole purpose of government is to keep individuals from infringing on the rights of other individuals -- in short, to keep people from killing you or stealing from you. Infrastructure should be paid for by the people directly benefiting from it, as there is no recognition of a public good -- this includes roads, ports, etc.
  • by GooberToo ( 74388 ) on Wednesday March 28, 2007 @04:06PM (#18519665)
    While I agree with your grumblings, I also believe it is the job of a government to prop up critical infrastructure. Items such as telephone, roads, railways, and even plane travel deserve some loving...if needed. Believe it or not, even commercial aviation is frequently used for military purposes (transport) because they can do it cheaper and faster than the military can. So which would you rather pay, the goverment to do it slowly and cost 20x more than it should or for the government to pay for a commercial entity to do it cheaper and faster?

    One way or another, you're going to be paying for it.
  • by ParaShoot ( 992496 ) on Wednesday March 28, 2007 @05:38PM (#18520919)

    When Miller Brewery built their facility near Trenton, Ohio, they didn't produce any bear at it for a decade.
    I love the idea of a bear factory. Great mental images.

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