Another day, another state, another spaceport

For the second day in a row, a state governor mentioned a state spaceport in an address to legislators, with a request for support. On Monday Virginia governor Bob McDonnell asked for state support of the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport. On Tuesday, New Mexico governor Bill Richardson, in his final State of the State address (he is term-limited and can’t run for reelection this year), mentioned his state’s Spaceport America, and made a request for spaceflight-related legislation:

I’m pleased to report that Spaceport America is ahead of schedule and under budget.

As we speak four hundred and sixty-seven new workers are on the job constructing the first commercial spaceport in the world, with one hundred and fifty to three hundred more hires expected over this year.

The Spaceport is fulfilling its promise of inspiring young men and women to study math and science, developing our southern and statewide economy, and expanding tourism.

For those who doubt if the Spaceport will bring in business, you should know that Virgin Galactic has over forty two million dollars deposited for more than three hundred reservations.

The demand is there.

New Mexico will get its return on investment.

To make sure New Mexico remains competitive against Virginia, Florida and Texas, I’m asking this body to pass legislation allowing participants to assume the risks of spaceflight.

The last paragraph is a reference to the “Space Flight Informed Consent Act”, legislation introduced into the state Senate this year that would indemnify vehicle operators from claims of liability provided that spaceflight participants sign a waiver (with the exception of cases of “gross negligence”). As Richardson noted, three states have already passed similar legislation, starting with Virginia in 2007.

3 comments to Another day, another state, another spaceport

  • NASA Fan

    So will Senator Scott Brown of MA call for a spaceport off the coast of Cape Cod?

  • Doug Lassiter

    “The Spaceport is fulfilling its promise of inspiring young men and women to study math and science …”

    While I hope such a commercial spaceport comes to pass, and that it helps realize dreams of routine space access, the idea that a 10,000 foot strip of concrete is fulfilling any promise to inspire young men and women to study math and science is hilarious. Just another one of these reflexive political space mantras that are all too common these days. Too bad the project doesn’t inspire politicians to think.

    The “education” video on their website is pretty telling, showing just a half dozen or so geezers in a control room watching a launch. Oh, I guess the kids are busy elsewhere doing their math and science homework.

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