Launches are finally happening at Spaceport, but financial viability remains a question

After more than a decade of waiting New Mexicans can be forgiven for considering the recent paid tourism launches out of Spaceport America “good enough” and moving on.

But, in a rare indepth story that questions the financial viability of lead tenant Virgin Galactic, the Albuquerque Journal recently highlighted the fact that there are still serious questions about the viability of operations at Spaceport America. There are also some in the New Mexico Legislature who would like the cash-rich State to take over control of the facility in a move to aid local governments which continue to tax themselves to keep the facility afloat.

A recent economic analysis of the Spaceport purported to show significant positive financial impact on New Mexico’s economy. Sen. Joe Cervantes (D), expressed skepticism of those numbers as would anyone looking at a report paid for by the Spaceport Authority and designed to justify its existence.

One paragraph summarizes Virgin Galactic’s situation:

Virgin Galactic is bleeding hundreds of millions of dollars a year to build its next-generation fleet of Delta Class spaceships, with many more financial hurdles still on the horizon as it strives to ramp up its manufacturing capacity and build out the infrastructure and services it needs to sustain business operations in the long term.

Even as it has gotten manned space tourism launches underway in recent months Virgin Galactic’s stock price continues to plummet.

RGF has long contended that spending hundreds of millions of tax dollars to build and maintain the facility was an unwise move by the Richardson Administration and the Legislature.