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Space United States

Virgin Galactic Signs Historic Lease Agreement 49

RobGoldsmith writes "Governor Bill Richardson today announced that Virgin Galactic has signed a 20-year lease agreement with the State of New Mexico. Virgin Galactic's world headquarters will be established in New Mexico and its operations will be located at New Mexico's Spaceport America, the nation's first purpose-built commercial spaceport. The signing of the lease agreement coincides with the beginning of the test flying program for Virgin Galactic's WhiteKnightTwo launch vehicle which got underway this month in Mojave, CA. The WhiteKnightTwo will serve as the mother ship for SpaceShipTwo, the vehicle that will carry commercial astronauts into sub-orbital space from Spaceport America."
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Virgin Galactic Signs Historic Lease Agreement

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  • Only 20 years? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by yogibaer ( 757010 ) on Thursday January 01, 2009 @11:20AM (#26290807)
    That does not seem like a lot of time. The spacecraft are still in testing stage and at best a couple of years away from small scale tourist business and some decades (a century?) away from Weyland-Yutani style mining operations even within the limits of our solar system. So if you a serious about long-term commitment and you find a good spot for your own spaceport, a 99year lease would have made more sense...
  • by fantomas ( 94850 ) on Thursday January 01, 2009 @11:52AM (#26290975)

    "So if you a serious about long-term commitment and you find a good spot for your own spaceport, a 99year lease would have made more sense."

    He's a businessman. 20 years seems like a long enough commitment, who knows what the economic world will look like in 2030? Might be better to move his operations out to somewhere else in the USA, off to India, China, etc. What's so special about the current site that somewhere else couldn't match in a few years time and give him a better price?

    Croydon Airport [] only lasted as the main international London airport for less than 30 years, would a space port stay in the lead for longer than that? (Croydon Airport started operations in 1920 but was overtaken in the 40s by a small military airport in the west of London built over a hamlet called Heath Row).

  • by pongo000 ( 97357 ) on Thursday January 01, 2009 @12:37PM (#26291265)

    Technically, every business deal is an "historic" moment from the perspective of that exact deal probably never being consummated before. But I'm at a loss to figure out how a business lease qualifies as "historic."

  • Historic? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by GravityStar ( 1209738 ) on Thursday January 01, 2009 @12:46PM (#26291325)
    Signing a 20 year lease for a space port is historic? I'll bet history will have something to say about that. Or rather, it won't.
  • by linzeal ( 197905 ) on Thursday January 01, 2009 @05:24PM (#26293329) Homepage Journal
    Yeah, and the Wright Brothers plane and 20-30 years of tinkering it took to build a reliable plane never happened because the first 5-10 years the planes could barely stay aloft and they learned nothing from their failures and sub-stratospheric flight. You might point out we already know how to build a rocket that can go orbital, even to the moon and beyond. Well I will tell you that none of that knowledge exists in any complete form outside of JPL, ESA, NASA, JSA and now the Chinese space agency. Building a rocket engine is non-trivial, let alone the rest of the systems and until the government starts open sourcing that knowledge the private industry is going to have to learn that on their own.

%DCL-MEM-BAD, bad memory VMS-F-PDGERS, pudding between the ears