So Spaceport America got there eventually. It was the US Federal Aviation Administration environmental impact assessment that held it up
A while ago the then spaceport authority chairman and New mexico government cabinet secretary for economic development Rick Homans (now New Mexico Secretary of the New Mexico Taxation and Revenue Department) told me that they had under estimated how long that assessment would take
Go through to the extended portion of this blog for a trip down memory lane with Flight’s coverage of the development of the world’s first dedicated commercial spaceport
Back in September 2007 the spaceport’s design was unveiled but due to local geological issues the original submerged concept had to be abandoned. The New Mexico state had lobbyed the US federal government in 2006 for funding and then in March 2007 announced the spaceport would cost $198 million after an engineering company conducted a study for the state’s government
This article about the planning for spaceport America will give you an idea of what has had to be overcome to get this far. From land deals to “triple lock” funding legislation with the state’s Congress, ancient desert trails and two victories out of three New Mexico county referendums on raising taxes for the project there has been no end of trial and tribulation
That triple lock legislation included getting an anchor tenant. Beyond the MOUs or MOAs, whatever you want to call agreements not worth the paper their written on, Virgin Galactic has yet to actually a sign a legally binding anchor tenant deal – so for all those media reports citing the imminent release of all that New Mexico state money, hold on a minute – and did that state law about spaceport funding mean an MOU/A was acceptable or not?
With some of the reports about spaceport sources claiming an imminent anchor being agreed with Galactic I am guessing the MOU/As ain’t
And whatever happened to that spaceport alliance lobbying the FAA for support akin to the airport’s improvement grant programme? Something for me to follow up