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Spaceport America Takes Off

ScuttleMonkey posted more than 7 years ago | from the hanging-on-a-vote dept.

Space 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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153 comments

Dont know when ... (-1, Offtopic)

140Mandak262Jamuna (970587) | more than 7 years ago | (#18518785)

... the Linux port of America will take off. :-(

Re:Dont know when ... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18518843)

what the fuck? why do you even post?

Re:Dont know when ... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18518883)

What a fucking turdball.

If you have something useful to say then do so. Else stop posting nonsense.

Freakin' retard.

Re:Dont know when ... (1, Funny)

Bluesman (104513) | more than 7 years ago | (#18518931)

Study your history.

GNU/America [wikipedia.org] took off years ago, and didn't work out.

Government Propping Up Companies (3, Insightful)

hardburn (141468) | more than 7 years ago | (#18518895)

Great, another industry being propped up by government revenue. Because that worked so well for the telecommunications industry.

Re:Government Propping Up Companies (4, Insightful)

eln (21727) | more than 7 years ago | (#18519043)

There are plenty of states trying to get spaceports built, because a spaceport means high paying jobs. New Mexico gave Virgin Galactic a sweetheart deal, but if they hadn't this thing probably would have been built elsewhere. Commercial space flight is something that will almost certainly continue to grow, especially once we can get past the "joyrides for rich people" stage. I bet a lot of people balked at the idea of building airports at first too.

With commercial development hopefully driving space flight costs down, we could soon be in a situation where individual states could afford to have their own space programs. We could even get to the point where we could economically use LEO for quick trips to places halfway around the world.

As space flight (hopefully) becomes more commonplace, this spaceport will be a great thing for New Mexico to have. Yes, it's a big gamble, but it's a gamble that could not only pay off big, but also one that will spark the imaginations of New Mexico school children, and hopefully get them more interested in math and science. If it manages to do that, and maybe spur the creation of aerospace programs at the two major universities in the state, then it's worth it even if it tanks after Virgin Galactic is through with it.

Re:Government Propping Up Companies (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 7 years ago | (#18519917)

The deal was the same they could of got anywhere. Maybe better.
New Mexico is ideal for launching, and the could get facilities next to white sands. Which mean already controlled airspace. in other words location, location, location.

Re:Government Propping Up Companies (0)

j.a.mcguire (551738) | more than 7 years ago | (#18519995)

Why will it grow past a joyride for the rich?

Where will people go, what will they do?

Re:Government Propping Up Companies (4, Informative)

AeroIllini (726211) | more than 7 years ago | (#18520135)

We could even get to the point where we could economically use LEO for quick trips to places halfway around the world.
I agree with your whole comment, but as a space geek I have to take exception at this statement.

LEO will never be economical for trips between two points on the Earth's surface. The energies involved in getting to that speed are ridiculously high for that short of a distance (relatively speaking, of course). LEO brings a whole host of problems with it, including high reentry temperatures (due to the high velocity needed to attain LEO to begin with) and ridiculous amounts of fuel needed to reach it.

To put things in perspective: Burt Rutan and crew basically recreated the very first manned Mercury launch (the one with Al Shephard aboard). It was a sub-orbital launch that placed the rocket on a parabolic trajectory... pretty much the same as if you could throw a ball in the air high enough to just barely leave the atmosphere, and then let it fall back to Earth. Since the velocity of the projectile (or spacecraft) is very small when it reenters the atmosphere, no heat shielding is needed.

On the other hand, to get a vehicle to low Earth orbit requires balancing the force of gravity exactly with forward velocity to create a stable system. This requires velocities in excess of 17,000 mph, which is why spacecraft reentering from orbit need all kinds of heat shielding to protect the craft from the friction of the atmosphere.

It would be much more economical for a craft to launch at an angle (or start out in flight at high altitudes, with airbreathing jet engines), and gain just enough energy to leave the atmosphere on a parabolic path that would cross much of the trip in the vacuum of space. Reentering would not need much heat shielding, because the velocities would not be as high as an orbital flight, which would make the trip much safer. Such systems using combinations of airbreathing engines and rockets could be very fuel effecient.

The space shuttle, just after Main Engine Cutoff, is on a parabolic flight path that will have it reenter and land in the Indian Ocean (if it stayed ballistic; the shuttle also has control surfaces and can steer). During missions, it has to fire the engines several more times after MECO to elevate this orbit and attain LEO.

Traveling between points on the Earth's surface will almost always be suborbital. However, that being said, finding economical ways to get to LEO in the first place is the first step to economical travel to places like the Moon and beyond.

Re:Government Propping Up Companies (3, Insightful)

metlin (258108) | more than 7 years ago | (#18519051)

I doubt it's like government propping up industries - for one, the industry started taking off quite well (whatever that may entail) without any government intervention.

Secondly, isn't that part of the role of the government? To create and maintain basic infrastructure that people can use?

I don't see how this is different from building an airport or from building roads.

The telecom thing did not take off because the government was trying to provide a service - this is not particularly a service, this is building an infrastructure that could be used by others.

Besides, I think this is the sort of thing governments *should* do - beats the hell out of making condoms or TV sets (look at some socialist countries where the telecom thing was taking to an extreme, where the government started doing just about everything).

Best of both worlds, IMHO.

Re:Government Propping Up Companies (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#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.

Re:Government Propping Up Companies (2, Funny)

Volante3192 (953645) | more than 7 years ago | (#18519281)

Seriously! What have the Romans done for us?!

Re:Government Propping Up Companies (1)

Gilmoure (18428) | more than 7 years ago | (#18520337)

Peace? You couldn't walk the streets at night!

Re:Government Propping Up Companies (5, Informative)

burning-toast (925667) | more than 7 years ago | (#18519399)

What I am all for:
Government funding technology and scientific development in the private sector, and reigning in corporations such as AT&T (well, ok... previously they reigned in AT&T but I am still waiting for the "New" AT&T to be reigned in) when they start abusing their positions of power.

What I am against:
The government being the source of funding for "useless" technology, corporations abusing their position like the telecommunications companies currently, or funding pork barrel types of projects or initiatives.

My opinion is that we want government funding to turn space flight into a future commodity which many can enjoy (especially since NASA's budget has been flagging a lot recently). I certainly do not currently see an issue with their funding unless their actual goals are different than my perceived assumption, or if someone is just trying to make a small fortune off of the American citizens back VIA taxes and subsidies without providing equal compensation to those paying.

Considering this was FTA:
---
Now the voters in the Dona Ana County municipality where the project is to be located will weigh in, in a referendum scheduled for April 3 on a new sales tax to fund the project.

If Spaceport America meets with voter approval, a maiden space voyage is expected in two to three years. If passed, the new tax would add 25 cents to a 100-dollar purchase, bringing in about 6.5 million dollars per year.
---

My take is that the voters will decide, and fortunately we are talking state (county?) legislature, not federal taxes. If you don't like the project, vote against it. If you don't live in that county or other involved counties in New Mexico, don't like it, and hence won't be paying for it, why do you care?

It seems that this is not really pork barrel spending like the telecommunications stuff was. That (telecommunications stuff) was just a lot of people getting a lot of money, with minimal to no returns for the people actually funding it. And on top of that I don't ever recall there being a method for me to directly vote against any of that telecommunications spending myself, only by proxy of a congress critter.

This is New Mexico funding a project which could (potentially) net New Mexico tourisim dollars, not to mention all this research and development is (or would be) paying for people to have jobs, and hence, pay taxes into the program.

I wish them luck, and if they (or the other two states mentioned get this program off of the ground) I might consider taking a tour if the price ever comes down from the clouds or if I happen to get rich.

(Just my 2 cents)

Re:Government Propping Up Companies (1)

Red Flayer (890720) | more than 7 years ago | (#18519499)

Methinks it worked very well for the telecommunications industry -- maybe not so well for the general public.

Re:Government Propping Up Companies (2, Interesting)

GooberToo (74388) | more than 7 years ago | (#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.

Re:Government Propping Up Companies (2, Informative)

Ngarrang (1023425) | more than 7 years ago | (#18519813)

Earth to Major Tom, we have a problem.

Some government propping is a good thing (OSHA, Fair Labor Laws). For big business, it is all about who will give the company the best deal, which usually means no taxes. When Miller Brewery built their facility near Trenton, Ohio, they didn't produce any bear at it for a decade. It wasn't until the local government threatened to pull the exempt status that Miller opened the factory and, thus, local workers.

Wal-Mart in Oxford, Ohio moved its store location to outside the city limits after its tax-exempt status expired. This, after a lot of money was spent to restructure the road their old building was locating within the city, AND the fact that Wal-Mart didn't even build the building, but only leased.

NM did a good thing. This deal puts them on front of a wave of cutting-edge travel, even if it starting as entertainment for the rich.

Re:Government Propping Up Companies (2, Interesting)

ParaShoot (992496) | more than 7 years ago | (#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.

Re:Government Propping Up Companies (2, Insightful)

louks (1075763) | more than 7 years ago | (#18520287)

Our city and state governments in Indiana are spending hundreds of millions of dollars building a new stadium for the Indianapolis Colts to continue to play football here. We will still owe tens of millions on the old stadium when we tear it down. Did I mention the tax hike on each stadium, too?

The spaceport actually slightly more acceptable, especially if it translates into high-speed, intercontinental travel.

Commerical/Government (4, Insightful)

jwiegley (520444) | more than 7 years ago | (#18518945)

Am I the only one that sees the oxymoron here... "the world's first commercial spaceport" vs "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,

This is a government spaceport. Possible deployed to deliver commercial products into space but it should be billed corrected as a government facility. Yet another shining example of your tax dollars at work. I am glad I don't live in that state/county but I fully expect that when a tornado or hurricane wipes it out I will have to foot the FEMA bill for it.

I'm not against space ports. But if Virgin Galactic wants a facility then Virgin Galactic should foot the bill for it.

Re:Commerical/Government (4, Interesting)

metlin (258108) | more than 7 years ago | (#18519001)

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.

Re:Commerical/Government (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18519183)

well, gotta say, Las Cruces could really use the jobs (Median household income in 2005: $29,363, Percentage of residents living in poverty in 2005: 27.5%) , but not sure how many have the technical chops to swing a decent job there...potential local labor force is largely unskilled - although it is near White Sand Missle Range, Los Alamos, and NMSU-Las Cruces. Could pick worse locations.

http://www.city-data.com/county/Dona_Ana_County-NM .html [city-data.com]
http://www.city-data.com/city/Las-Cruces-New-Mexic o.html [city-data.com]

Re:Commerical/Government (1)

eln (21727) | more than 7 years ago | (#18519213)

NMSU has a very good engineering school. With this spaceport here, more engineering graduates may actually stay in the state rather than taking off to places where they can get real work like they do now.

Re:Commerical/Government (1)

Orange Crush (934731) | more than 7 years ago | (#18520075)

more engineering graduates may actually stay in the state rather than taking off to places

Your choice of words amuses me.

Re:Commerical/Government (1)

Chr0me (180627) | more than 7 years ago | (#18519301)

although it is near White Sand Missle Range, Los Alamos, and NMSU-Las Cruces
You forgot NM Tech in Socorro, UNM, Kirtland, Holloman, Ft. Bliss, and Sandia National Labs.

Re:Commerical/Government (3, Insightful)

jwiegley (520444) | more than 7 years ago | (#18519693)

Since you brought up government subsidized airfields... Do you mean "NM keeps the prime real-estate and gets to make money out of it." in the same way that the US government turns a tidy profit these days from the airfields/airlines that it subsidized?

No, I read that Virgin is leasing. Virgin is getting a cheaper cost of vehicle launch at the expense of government tax payers with the state expecting [hoping would be a better word] to make 6.5Million annually.

Sorry, Virgin has a shill in the NM government that is acquiring an economic windfall for them on the public's dime. All the economic risk that Virgin should be bearing is being shifted to the public.

Commercial money should fund commercial ventures. The government should not be involved in the business of making money because it has been proven time and time again that government efforts cannot be done efficiently and do not make money.

And there is a basic flaw with your economic argument... If it is going to be profitable and sustainable to provide this facility why do they need to raise sales taxes? Because the truth is they expect to make a net loss each year and need additional tax revenue to break even. (Yes, you can bring in 6.5Million every year and still have a net loss.)

Re:Commerical/Government (3, Funny)

Darth_brooks (180756) | more than 7 years ago | (#18519079)

I am glad I don't live in that state/county but I fully expect that when a tornado or hurricane wipes it out I will have to foot the FEMA bill for it.

Because South-Central New Mexico is such a hotbed for Hurricane & Tornado activity......

+1 for observation
-1 for geography & meteorology

Re:Commerical/Government (1)

adamanthaea (723150) | more than 7 years ago | (#18519283)

Hurricanes, obviously not. Tornadoes don't often occur in that part of New Mexico, but it is possible. (There was a near-tornado in Las Cruces last summer.) Heck, if we're considering low-probability events, I suppose there could be a massive earthquake from the Rio Grande Rift. There was a 5.8 earthquake in the Soccoro area back in 1906, after all.

Re:Commerical/Government (1)

soft_guy (534437) | more than 7 years ago | (#18520899)

Because South-Central New Mexico is such a hotbed for Hurricane & Tornado activity......
The climate is changing, so anything is possible.

Whatever, if the people of new mexico want to be ripped off funding an obvious fraud, then they are idiots.

Re:Commerical/Government (3, Informative)

Red Flayer (890720) | more than 7 years ago | (#18519097)

I think if you check out the definitions of commercial available [google.com] from a quick googling, you'll see that the definition typically has nothing to do with whether it's publically or privately funded. What's important is whether the facility will be used to buy or sell commodities (or services) or not.

Governments have always been involved in commercial operations. The two are not mutually exclusive. This could be a government-run commercial spaceport, or it could be a government-owned-but-privately-run commercial spaceport, or it could be a non-commercial spaceport.

Commercial != Private.

Of course, many people believe that government should not be involved in commercial activity at all, which is what I think you're getting at. But it's still perfectly fine to call this a commercial spaceport regardless of who owns or runs it, since goods and services will be bought and sold there.

Re:Commerical/Government (1)

jwiegley (520444) | more than 7 years ago | (#18519947)

Agreed. And yes my point is that government should not be involved in commercial activity.

But I also don't think it's fine to call it a commercial spaceport because I think the most widely accepted connotation of that is "private industry run/managed/funded spaceport" and is used as a deceptive marketing ploy to lead the public to believe that it isn't being funded by themselves.

Just because a definition list encompasses an alternate meaning does not change the fact that most slashdot readers will read that headline and say "Finally a private effort for space launch!" (similar to X-Prize efforts.) And I would wager slashdot readers are a lot more astute at wordsmithing than the NM public on voting day.

with apologies to NM for the implied insult. I could have more accurately substituted "earthlings" for "the NM public"

Re:Commerical/Government (1)

RealGrouchy (943109) | more than 7 years ago | (#18519119)

Whether it's a commercial or government spaceport isn't based on who pays for it, but rather on who collects the profits.

- RG>

Re:Commerical/Government (3, Interesting)

AK Marc (707885) | more than 7 years ago | (#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.

Re:Commerical/Government (1)

Kemanorel (127835) | more than 7 years ago | (#18519325)

Last I checked, airports are built using public funds, just as roads, highways, and freeways are. The only exceptions are totally private airstrips. Of the publicly funded airports, they are generally either municipal (smaller private planes, usually Cesna or Lear-type planes and jets, only limited by size of runways) or commercial (larger passenger and cargo planes of varying classifications). In both cases, fees are collected from those who use the facility as well as local taxes from the neighboring communities to pay for the operation of the airport.

There is no reason why a spaceport should operate any differently.

Re:Commerical/Government (1)

C0y0t3 (807909) | more than 7 years ago | (#18519489)

Pan Am didn't build LAX. This is a port, and they are not built by commercial interests - they facilitate commercial and thereby public interests. It is an investment of exactly the same nature as a highway, also pretty hard to charge the cost of to its users directly, but it could be argued that taxes from subsequent revenue do indeed recoup public investment.

Ideally, businesses who use the service alone should be taxed to foot the bill, hence the obvious argument here should be against personal income tax - not really against a spaceport. But if the port eventually facilitates personal tranportation, the consumer is eventually even more directly served by the investment, but its kind of difficult to get the taxes out of the future ticket sales in advance.

It may also interest you to know, your tax revenue supports the Post Office, Homeland Security, and a plethora of acronymic agencies within the federal and local governments under whose purveyance you reside, which also do not directly benefit your singularly consumer type interests.

Re:Commerical/Government (1)

Bat Country (829565) | more than 7 years ago | (#18519501)

It's worth noting that airports, despite being used almost exclusively by commercial interests, are built using taxpayer funds as well.

Re:Commerical/Government (2, Insightful)

vertinox (846076) | more than 7 years ago | (#18519659)

This is a government spaceport.

Isn't that the same for most FAA airports? Basically, the airports are run by the federal agency and leased by private corporations?

Certainly there should be some regulation of space travel like regular air travel.

No one wants a Boeing 747 or Multi-Stage rocket crashing in their neighborhood.

Re:Commerical/Government (1)

AeroIllini (726211) | more than 7 years ago | (#18519679)

Chicago O'Hare is a government airport. Possible deployed for use by commercial airplanes but it should be billed corrected as a government facility. Yet another shining example of your tax dollars at work. I am glad I don't live in that state/county but I fully expect that when a tornado or hurricane wipes it out I will have to foot the FEMA bill for it.

I'm not against airports. But if United Airlines wants a facility then United Airlines should foot the bill for it.


Not sure I see the distinction here. Governments build facilities and then charge fees to commercial interests (in the form of runway fees for an airport, maybe launchpad fees for a spaceport) to use them. It spurs commercial investment, creates jobs, and allows more travel options for the residents of the area. Seems good to me.

Re:Commerical/Government (1)

GooberToo (74388) | more than 7 years ago | (#18519695)

Am I the only one that sees the oxymoron here... "the world's first commercial spaceport" vs "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,

Makes as much sense as county and state funded football fields. At least this can hope to further the interests of all men.

Re:Commerical/Government (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18519727)

Am I the only one that sees the oxymoron here... "the world's first commercial spaceport" vs "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,

I don't see an oxymoron but I think I may be seeing a moron. Who do you think builds commercial airports?

This is a government spaceport. Possible deployed to deliver commercial products into space but it should be billed corrected as a government facility. Yet another shining example of your tax dollars at work. I am glad I don't live in that state/county but I fully expect that when a tornado or hurricane wipes it out I will have to foot the FEMA bill for it.

I am glad my tax dollars are going to this. I live in Dona Ana County and I have no beef with a 0.25% increase of sales tax. The place the spaceport is being built very rarely has any tornado activity. It is pretty much going to be in a large flat spot between two mountain ridges. I don't even know how to respond to hurricanes in New Mexico. Retarded maybe?

I'm not against space ports. But if Virgin Galactic wants a facility then Virgin Galactic should foot the bill for it.

I know reading the article is hard but if you had read it you would have found that Virgin Galactic has already put $250 million into the project.

Re:Commerical/Government (1)

Gilmoure (18428) | more than 7 years ago | (#18520631)

Hell, we moved out here from Florida, after the 2004 hurricane season. Damn glad to live where we only have to worry about bears or mountain lions coming down from the Sandias and maybe the earth opening up and swallowing Albuquerque.

As for taxes, so far, it seems pretty much a local thing; just state and county. If the voters don't want it, they can vote against it and vote the governor out of office. Or they can move. Vote with your feet.

Re:Commerical/Government (1)

OvermindDL1 (948771) | more than 7 years ago | (#18519761)

I live here in NM, and my town has very recently been partially destroyed, that is only because we live on the Tx/Nm border, edge of tornado alley. Los Cruces (heck, any place west of me) never gets tornado's, too high for them to form well.

And Bill Richardson is known for taking projects like these (well, not quite of this scale before), he seems to love creating and setting up new things then seemingly donating them to the area where they exist when done, he has done so in my city as well.

Re:Commerical/Government (1)

FleaPlus (6935) | more than 7 years ago | (#18519855)

I'm not against space ports. But if Virgin Galactic wants a facility then Virgin Galactic should foot the bill for it.

How do you feel about the many commercial airports which receive government funding (in many cases orders of magnitude more money than this spaceport is getting)?

Re:Commerical/Government (1)

SEE (7681) | more than 7 years ago | (#18520769)

Well, he's got an Ayn Rand quote as his .sig. How do you think he feels about it?

Re:Commerical/Government (1)

danbert8 (1024253) | more than 7 years ago | (#18520147)

Do you live in a city with a sports team? More likely than not, if you do, the government funded (at least partially) the building of their arena/stadium/field/park/whatever. Yet these pro teams are also privately held. Why does government do this? Because it benefits both parties. The private company gets a cheaper building, and the government gets increased revenues in time from several things including, income tax from new jobs, sales tax from memerobilia, and hotel taxes from people visiting.

Re:Commerical/Government (1)

SEE (7681) | more than 7 years ago | (#18520229)

but I fully expect that when a tornado or hurricane wipes it out I will have to foot the FEMA bill for it.

This is Doña Anna County in New Mexico. If a hurricane wipes it out, it will have done so after traveling at least 600 miles overland and over a mountain range. If that happens, your FEMA bill is going to be so high you're not even going to notice the extra charge for repairing a spaceport.

27 million over 20 years? (0, Flamebait)

stratjakt (596332) | more than 7 years ago | (#18518949)

Sounds like cheap rent.

When Virgin Galactic needs a space port, they can build one. Why is tax money building this?

PURE PORK BARREL BULLSHIT.

Re:27 million over 20 years? (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18519081)

Ouch! Your knee jerked right into my shin!

Re:27 million over 20 years? (3, Insightful)

Red Flayer (890720) | more than 7 years ago | (#18519455)

PURE PORK BARREL BULLSHIT.
Seeing as the state government (who is paying for it, BTW) stands to gain more in revenues than it's spending on the spaceport, I fail to see your logic.

If this were funded federally, then your point makes sense. But it's not, and so it doesn't.

PURE LACK-OF-COMPREHENSION BULLSHIT

Re:27 million over 20 years? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18520039)

A Faggot comment plus a Faggot response.

Re:27 million over 20 years? (3, Insightful)

xero314 (722674) | more than 7 years ago | (#18519615)

When Virgin Galactic wants a space port they have some decisions to make. They can either spend $27 million now and lose out on the interest over the next 20 years, Borrow $27 million with interest to be payed over the next 20 years or Rent space which allows them to maintain their assets in high yield investments with no additional interest costs.

So you are heading up Virgin Galactic and you are trying to decide were you want to spend $27 million dollars to establish a service catering specifically to the ultra rich. You would probably put it in a state like California, New York, or maybe Virginia, if you don't decided to put it in Dubai or some other country outside the US.

This leads us to New Mexico, home of absolutely nothing, with a less than stellar economy. If you are the governor of New Mexico and you hear that Virgin Galactic is looking for somewhere to spend $27 Million dollars, and bring some of the richest tourist in the world to your state what do you do. You could say, go ahead an build it if you can find someone to sell you the land we will approve the zoning. Or maybe you decided you can sell some public trust land for the project. So far you have made no offer that other wealthier areas couldn't make, and so give no enticement to build in your state. So instead you say, I'll front the money for you to bring in your industry and higher local people to work for you. You might feel that enticing companies to move to your state is a waste of governmental funds, but I think you would be in a minority there.

Re:27 million over 20 years? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18519857)

How many airports do you think delta airlines has built? As another poster said, its the governments job to build infrastructure.

i wish i lived there (1)

mastershake_phd (1050150) | more than 7 years ago | (#18518959)

1: Build Space port for $33 Million
2: Lease to Richard Branson for $27.5 million for 20 years.
3: Raise taxes!

Re:$33M for design, not construction (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18519753)

Uh, RTFA or RTFPP (Read the F**king Parent Post)

$33M is for the design

Re:$33M for design (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18520501)

The spaceport is actually $198M per TFA

Spaceport America launched a rocket from a temporary launch pad last fall, and authorities expect to complete the $198 million facility in late 2009 or early 2010. The state already has appropriated $115 million for the project and expects about $25 million in federal funds over the next five years with the goal of creating a home for future public space flight.

How big is this place? (1)

BunnyClaws (753889) | more than 7 years ago | (#18519005)

Branson, is going to lease 83,000 square feet for $1 million a year. Does anyone know if this is only a small part of the space port or will he be taking the biggest spot?

Re:How big is this place? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18519293)

How fucking hard is it to read the article [space.com] ?

Bloody karmawhores.

Under the agreement, Virgin Galactic pledged to lease about 83,000 square feet of hanger and terminal space. The company will pay $1 million per year for the first five years of the lease and $1.5 million per year for the remainder of the term. It also will pay user fees and ground rent.

Gee. Fucktard.

Re:How big is this place? (1)

tompaulco (629533) | more than 7 years ago | (#18519371)

I wish I could find industrial space for lease for $1/SF/month. In my part of the U.S., industrial space is very cheap compared to other markets. Around here, it is between $7-$15/SF/month.
If Branson is getting it for $1, that pretty much shouts "government subsidy" to me.
The good citizens of the town in New Mexico may be smart to allow this tax raise though. If commercial space travel takes off (excuse the pun), their town will reap huge benefits in jobs, tourism, commerce and industry.

Re:How big is this place? (1)

Overzeetop (214511) | more than 7 years ago | (#18519553)

Actually, that's not uncommon in non-major markets. You can find industrial space in S/W Virginia for under $10/sf/yr. You can buy land and build your own facility for $50/SF. And they'll probably give you some tax breaks - or lease you the land for $1 - if you plan on brining in 50 or more jobs.

My professional office is about $8/sf/month, though going rates are closer to $12-15 in buildings with a bit more curb appeal.

I would have expected a more targeted increase on taxes, though. Usually the hospitality industry takes it on the chin - restaurants and hotels - so that the increase isn't felt by the locals too badly. Heck, I think locally we're up to 10% on prepared meals and 12% on hotels, and we're not really a destination place, nor is the money going for anything in particular like a spaceport.

Re:How big is this place? (1)

eln (21727) | more than 7 years ago | (#18519583)

The land being used is in a large patch of desert between Las Cruces and Truth or Consequences, New Mexico. The land is too arid and rocky to be of any use for farming, and none of the surrounding communities are expanding fast enough to use this space in the foreseeable future.

It's not like they're taking high quality land and giving it away here. They're taking otherwise useless land and building something that could possibly pay off big for the whole state.

Re:How big is this place? (4, Informative)

SEE (7681) | more than 7 years ago | (#18520397)

This is Doña Anna County, New Mexico. The land we're talking about is scrub desert too far from anywhere to be of any use for industry, and too dry to be of any use for any form of agriculture. There's lots of land just like it next door. What's getting government-subsidized is the cost of building the utilities and roads, because the land itself is the next thing to free.

Re:How big is this place? (1)

mypalmike (454265) | more than 7 years ago | (#18520619)

The land we're talking about is scrub desert too far from anywhere to be of any use for industry, and too dry to be of any use for any form of agriculture.

That's what they said about Las Vegas!

(BTW: I'd put this argument in the "pro-spaceport" column.)

Re:How big is this place? (1)

tompaulco (629533) | more than 7 years ago | (#18520677)

No arguments about the general uselessness of the land, but as soon as you build an infrastructure of any sort on the land, it is worth far more than $1/SF/month.
The same thing happens here in Oklahoma. A developer buys 100 acres for $150k, puts in some roads and utilities, zones it into individual lots and sells the lots for $40k each. However, the Branson deal is almost as if the government went in and put in the roads and infrastructure and sold him his lost at less than his apportioned cost of the infrastructure and stuff that they put in.

A commercial space port won't be complete... (1, Redundant)

hellfire (86129) | more than 7 years ago | (#18519039)

...unless it has a Starbuck's.

Re:A commercial space port won't be complete... (1)

johncadengo (940343) | more than 7 years ago | (#18519223)

...unless it has a Starbuck's.

Which completes it, reaching for the stars
Or making the buck?

Ha. Corny, I know. =(.

OBL: Battlestar Gallactica Reference (1)

powerlord (28156) | more than 7 years ago | (#18519697)

Which one?

The alcohol guzzling, cigar smoking, disobedient, hot-shot pilot ... or the one played by Dirk Benedict? :)

Re:OBL: Battlestar Gallactica Reference (1)

Gilmoure (18428) | more than 7 years ago | (#18521007)

The one with the nice ass.

One small question.. (2, Funny)

Rob T Firefly (844560) | more than 7 years ago | (#18519053)

..will there be lemon-soaked paper napkins?

Re:One small question.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18519341)

This is a reference to The Hitchhiker's Guide [wikipedia.org]

...trying to catch a plane from London to Leeds, delayed because in-flight snacks (first a bar, and then coffee and biscuits) had not been delivered, similarly inspired the story of the space liner delayed for 900 years because it lacked a supply of "lemon soaked paper napkins".

Re:One small question.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18520859)

Eventually.

Two thoughts on this (2, Funny)

haaz (3346) | more than 7 years ago | (#18519129)

And my two thoughts are:

1. This will be very good for that part of New Mexico. As a whole, the state is relatively poor.

2. What on earth would you use a spaceport for? I don't think in terms of eighth grade pulp sci-fi these days (think Tek Jansen), so seriously, what would a spaceport be for?

Re:Two thoughts on this (2, Informative)

Paulrothrock (685079) | more than 7 years ago | (#18519225)

A spaceport, by definition, is where you launch and recover spacecraft. So I'd imagine that this spaceport would be used to launch and recover spacecraft.

More specifically, it will be the launching point for the Virgin Galactic fleet of space tourism vehicles, and will probably also host the launches of various space prize competitions and commercial launch companies.

If they can provide a cheaper service than ESA or NASA, I don't see why it won't be profitable for the state.

Re:Two thoughts on this (4, Funny)

elcid73 (599126) | more than 7 years ago | (#18519253)

what would a spaceport be for?

Well obviously... where else would you put the space cantina?

Re:Two thoughts on this (2, Funny)

Zontar_Thing_From_Ve (949321) | more than 7 years ago | (#18519349)

What on earth would you use a spaceport for? I don't think in terms of eighth grade pulp sci-fi these days (think Tek Jansen), so seriously, what would a spaceport be for?

Basically, it's so a special plane can take people up very very high off the ground just barely into what could be called "outer space" but without going into orbit or beyond. It's a way for tourists to go to "outer space" without having to have the months of training and the multi-millions of dollars required to hitch a ride with the Russians because you just barely get into what is known as "outer space". Whether such a ride would meet what most people would define as "being in outer space" is a very good question. The plane is nothing like the Space Shuttle and it certainly can't go to the International Space Station. I have no idea what the duration of such a ride would be, but I would make a guess at an hour or two at most. Maybe less.

Re:Two thoughts on this (1)

Bat Country (829565) | more than 7 years ago | (#18519467)

Companies are right now racing to get to space. They're doing this for a number of reasons, some for industrial and scientific purposes (putting satellites in orbit, sticking experiments up there without paying the fees to get stuff on the space shuttle), some for commercial purposes (for only $500,000 you too can experience zero gravity).

Since most rocket launches produce a ridiculous amount of noise, heat and damage to the surrounding environment, they can't launch from airports or private land (unless it's very very big private land far away from cities). Therefore they need a space port, and Cape Canaveral is pretty badly over-booked.

Companies want to put stuff in the air using rockets, and they're willing to pay for the privilege of doing so.

This is no different than building an airport at the dawn of aviation - sure there may be no widespread commercial use for it right now, but companies need a place to do their thing in order that there can be a commercial use for it in the future.

Re:Two thoughts on this (1)

Coraon (1080675) | more than 7 years ago | (#18519517)

Why on earth would you want a comerical space port?! 1. Sattlie placement, there are tones of business that would love to have a cheeper way to get their junk in orbit. I know I would 2. Space tourism, when it gets cheeper is something alot of people are going to want to do. I know I would. 3. Its the start of bringing space to the people, to allowing the common man to leave the planet, which considering how bad we have messed up the planet we need to be thinking about doing...alot.

Re:Two thoughts on this (1)

kabocox (199019) | more than 7 years ago | (#18519819)

And my two thoughts are:
1. This will be very good for that part of New Mexico. As a whole, the state is relatively poor.
2. What on earth would you use a spaceport for? I don't think in terms of eighth grade pulp sci-fi these days (think Tek Jansen), so seriously, what would a spaceport be for?


Tourism. Instead of going NASA space camp, the NM space interested can just go visit their nice, nifty space port. If aliens ever come and visit, they'd have a "space port" ready for them.

So we built a spaceport... now what? (1)

physicsboy500 (645835) | more than 7 years ago | (#18519193)

Am I the only one that sees the lack of utility in this? There's the aspect of bringing the occasional multi-millionaire into space... but spaceship two is a suborbital craft and thus would have problems launching a satellite into orbit thus nullifying a lot of its commercial use. Additionally, space is not a huge tourism industry. I'm sure it could be some day, but as is, we simply don't have the technology to safely, efficiently, reliably and comfortably cart people to any destination outside of the atmosphere. From an economical standpoint this looks to be a train wreck waiting to be unleashed.

Low Numbers (1)

ehaggis (879721) | more than 7 years ago | (#18519215)

The amounts of money mentioned seem rather low for a space port, they seem more in line with a cruise line port or fancy bus station.

Re:Low Numbers (2, Insightful)

Quiet_Desperation (858215) | more than 7 years ago | (#18519687)

Lack of major NASA involvement tends to lower the costs a tad.

Summary and related stories contradict each other (1)

Stefanwulf (1032430) | more than 7 years ago | (#18519221)

I am amused that the summary says it will be the first commercial spaceport, while the "related" section points to http://science.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=06/12/1 6/1736213 [slashdot.org] , an article from last year about the mid-atlantic regional spaceport's first launch.

This will be the first purpose-built commercial spaceport. That's a key distinction.

I'd much rather have this.. (0, Flamebait)

Steveftoth (78419) | more than 7 years ago | (#18519247)

then a war in Iraq. I'd much rather have something ten times as expensive and doomed to failure then the war on terror or Iraq. It would be much cheaper. Why can't the govenment just build something here instead of destroying a nation all the way around the world?

Re:I'd much rather have this.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18519315)

why can't you stop injecting your political views into every conversation? it's gets old fast.

Will it have... (1)

ehaggis (879721) | more than 7 years ago | (#18519257)

... a duty free shop?

Re:Will it have... (4, Funny)

no_pets (881013) | more than 7 years ago | (#18519367)

Sure, unfortunately the Ferrengi will run it.

a good place to test spacecraft... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18519375)

Scientists say the desert of Las Cruces, New Mexico is very much like the surface of Uranus.

First Commercial space port? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18519485)

Didn't Sea Launch beat this by a few years? Especially since Sea Launch is already built and has had multiple launches?

<URL:http://www.sea-launch.com/>

If I were in my twenties again (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 7 years ago | (#18519513)

I would start making contacts right now to secure a position in this space port.

It's a risk, but the potential pay off and wow factor would be to large to ignore.

Who needs to be in their twenties? (1)

mmell (832646) | more than 7 years ago | (#18519669)

I'm going to keep my eye on that little slice of Earth for awhile - frankly, they may want to hire a lot of I.T., and I find it unlikely at best that they'll settle for not having somebody around with more than five to six years of experience, tops.

Will there be a coach class? (1)

Quiet_Desperation (858215) | more than 7 years ago | (#18519777)

Or will the taxpayers of that county be subsidizing the sending of dubiously talented pop stars into the really really upper atmosphere?

Just playing devil's advocate here, but people are going to ask that question or something similar.

Spaceport Iraq (-1, Offtopic)

WingedEarth (958581) | more than 7 years ago | (#18519965)

Shouldn't we finish colonizing Iraq before we spend money on colonizing space? Then we can fund our spaceport by passing a "Stamp Act", so that all legal documents in Iraq have to have a paid US government stamp. We can pass a bunch of "Townshend Acts" to tax all imports into Iraq of basic materials that Iraqis need to survive. The Iraqis will probably be against these taxes, so we'll have to make sure to tax them without representation.

But... (1)

LuisAnaya (865769) | more than 7 years ago | (#18519985)

... I thought that they already had one in Roswell.

Re:But... (1)

Junior Samples (550792) | more than 7 years ago | (#18520285)

Advanced spacecraft of the Rosswell variety don't require the use of an expensive spaceport. These craft can land in a corn field or just about anywhere without problems.

Spaceport Camp for Kids! (1)

Ageing Metalhead (586837) | more than 7 years ago | (#18520067)

For all budding teenage wanabee gazillionaires who may be able to afford this one day.

Re:Spaceport Camp for Kids! (1)

denis-The-menace (471988) | more than 7 years ago | (#18520237)

Great Idea.
Let's send Paris Hilton on a one way trip.

"startup" not "upstart" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18520111)

The first describes a (usually innovative) new company, the other is a derogatory term for someone who is new to something and already believes themselves to be substantially better than the established players. Do submitters know how to use a dictionary or are they too busy posting badly-worded stories to bother?

Land Price Just Went LEO (1)

wolff000 (447340) | more than 7 years ago | (#18520783)

I'll bet all the landowners in that area have a very big smile and even bigger if all goes as planned. Wish I had some spare cash I would definitely buy a a big plot of sand.
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