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Sierra County approves spaceport tax

The Las Cruces (NM) Sun-News reports that voters in Sierra County, New Mexico approved a spaceport sales tax by roughly a two-to-one margin, much larger than the margin of victory last year in neighboring Doña Ana County. The quarter-cent increase will provide a modest amount of funding for New Mexico’s Spaceport America but also allow the formation of a “tax district” with Doña Ana County so that the tax revenue can actually be spent.

25 comments to Sierra County approves spaceport tax

  • Awesome news! This will set a very visible example of how investment in space can bring great wealth to a community that embrases it.

    With 3000 votes out of a county population of 1400, its not that bad of a turnout, I dont think.

  • me

    Space? They only funded an upgraded airport to serve as a amusement park

  • Vladislaw

    An amusement park that will be offering suborbital flights to space, a nice roller coaster ride, don’t you think?

  • me

    I think you mean 3000 out of 14000 – otherwise, yes, 3000 out of 1400 is one hell of a turn out!

  • Brent

    Spaceport America is more than Virgin Galactic.

    Its position is based on its qualities for orbital flight. If it was just an “amusement park” it would have taken over an abandoned airstrip.

  • @me I’m telling you, the space supporters were very enthusiastic!

  • ME: Space? They only funded an upgraded airport to serve as a amusement park

    I count myself a realist as far as commercial spaceflight it concerned, but your comment is too cynical by half. This is, indeed, great news because it provides a place for an industry that could help to pay for a lot of future development. (I think that Rand is entirely correct in the big picture, or at least has a good chance of being so; it’s only his time scale and the apparent fact that he is willing to bet the entire future on one impending industry that I dispute.) Moreover, it means that at least a small sample of voters who are not necessarily space advocates are willing to vote their own tax money for what was clearly advertized as space development if they see a clear industrial benefit.

    It is hard for me to see how this can be painted as bad, or even indifferent, news for us.

    — Donald

  • DataPoint


    There is not even an airport at the site. Just a clearning at the end of a gravel road in the middle of nowhere.

  • Vladislaw

    Is not “the middle of nowhere” the best place to launch from to lower the chance of an accident involving third parties?

  • DataPoint

    And that is why that location was selected. But there is no airport there as “Me” thought.

  • me

    No, I meant the spaceport is nothing more but an “upgraded” airport i.e. nothing really special. It isn’t a “real” launch site

  • Me,
    You seem to be under the mistaken impression that anyone launching from there wants or needs what you call a “real” launch site. Being a commercial operator means a different set of ground ops requirements. Take a look at what the DC-X needed as a launch site and you’ll realize that NM is well on its way to being functional enough for commercial operation.

  • GM

    DC-X was not orbital and didn’t carry any payloads. A launch site is more than a plot of land and a “passenger’ terminal. Launch ranges have telemetry assets (TDRSS is not enough for initial ascent), payload processing facilities, ordnance storage facilities, etc. ” Commercial” operations has nothing to do with basic launch site requirements.

    The term spaceport is being abused. There are tens of “spaceports” around the country. yet, they are only plots of land. Edwards AFB was never considered spaceport, yet it had missions before Mojave. Calling Mojave a spaceport is like calling a dirt strip near San Diego, an international airport because it has flights into Tijuana.

    Until one of these “spaceports” handles an orbital flight, they are no more that an airport with an extra piece of paper.

    NM spaceport is no more different than building a harbor for one day/gambling cruise ships. Until it handles 3,4, 7 day, etc cruises, it doesn’t count as a cruise terminal. Also it doesn’t rank until non passenger ships (bulk carrier, container ships) use it.

  • Until one of these “spaceports” handles an orbital flight, they are no more that an airport with an extra piece of paper.

    The name isn’t “orbital port.” It’s “spaceport.” Vehicles departing from there go into space.

    Just because you want to arbitrarily redefine words doesn’t obligate anyone else to go along with your little semantic games. That “extra piece of paper” makes it a spaceport, or so says the FAA. Go argue with them.

  • In this, I fully agree with Rand.

    — Donald

  • GM

    Your word games don’t change the fact that this still applies “Until one of these “spaceports” handles an orbital flight, they are no more that an airport with an extra piece of paper.”

  • “Until one of these “spaceports” handles an orbital flight, they are no more that an airport with an extra piece of paper.”

    You can continue to repeat that, but it doesn’t make it true. Or non-stupid.

  • me

    On the contrary, my statement is true unlike your asinine response. They are no more than airports with an extra piece of paper. Prove me wrong, oh “top aerospace engineer” . Pffft.

  • They are ports from which vehicles go into space. That doesn’t happen from “airports.”


  • GM

    What does the URL say”

    Who administrates the facility?
    East Kern Airport District

    It is an airport that has a piece of paper

    I rest my case.

    You might want to not look in a mirror when calling names

  • So they didn’t bother to get a new URL. Big whoop. If you actually look at the page, right at the top, it says, in big letters, “Mojave Air and Space Port.” So apparently you can’t even read.

  • Vladislaw

    Rand, I think you if you paste the dictionary definition of airport, spaceport, and space they MIGHT understand, but if they can not read spaceport on the website I would imagine a dictionary would be out of the question.

  • […] that two counties in souther New Mexico have passed a sales tax increase to help fund development of a commercial spaceport, attention now turns to the third and final county in the region, Otero, which includes the city of […]

  • […] New Mexico governor Bill Richardson’s presidential campaign sputtered out earlier this year, but the campaign found at least one alternative use for the money it raised. The Las Cruces Sun-News reported Thursday that the campaign donated $10,000 to efforts to get a spaceport sales tax approved in Sierra County, New Mexico, in April. That donation was the single largest contribution to “People for Aerospace”, the group that spearheaded the pro-spaceport tax effort; the group raised about $105,000 overall. “He was a supporter,” Gary Whitehead, chairman of People for Aerospace, told the Sun-News. “It’s been kind of his project and he certainly wanted it to be successful and he was willing to invest in the success of the election.” Voters in Sierra County approved the tax by a two-to-one margin in April. […]

  • […] educational programs. A year later, voters in Sierra County, where the spaceport is located, approved the same tax. Now, however, both uses of the tax are under fire in the New Mexico Legislature, with bills […]

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