ABQ Journal, not Spaceport critics need “jets cooled”

At its Mojave Desert facility recently, Virgin Galactic unveiled its newest spacecraft which someday may take paying tourists to the edge of space from Southern New Mexico.

This was cause for celebration at the Albuquerque Journal’s editorial board which editorialized that Spaceport “critics should cool their jets” about wanting to de-fund or sell off the facility.

TheĀ  Journal’s editorial board are usually fiscally-responsible folks, but I’m not sure how the unveiling of a new, completely untested prototype is some kind of success for New Mexico or how it at all validates the $220 million and counting that New Mexico taxpayers have spent on the facility. I hope Branson and company have a winner with their latest spacecraft, but nearly five years after the facility opened, New Mexicans are at least $220 million in the hole for an largely unused facility that is tied to the success of one company that has yet to successfully achieve the type of space flight (even in testing with their previous ship) it promises its customers.

Oh, and New Mexico is facing a budget gap of 12% of its general fund (between $700 and $800 billion). It would be nice to have all that Spaceport money lying around to balance the budget.

Yes, someone should “cool their jets.” Anyone who believes that New Mexico’s Spaceport is anything but a costly white elephant should realize that New Mexico may someday see tourist flights to space, but that day is unlikely to be anytime soon. And even if/when it does happen, there is zero evidence that New Mexico’s economy will experience benefits in line with its significant and growing investment.