New Mexico’s role in the future of space

Today marked the end of the last flight of the Space Shuttle. Many are questioning what the legacy of the Space Shuttle is in American history and in the history of space travel. Some (mostly “national greatness and neoconservatives” are decrying the lack of a US vehicle to deliver astronauts to space.

Me, I think this is an opportunity for both the nation and New Mexico. Certainly, it would be great to rely on private enterprise — or at least contractors — to be more engaged in space exploration as President Obama (of all people) has discussed. Also, New Mexico MAY benefit from this shift. We’ll see.

Needless to say, we’re not big fans of the Spaceport. There is no guarantee that, even if Obama’s vision for space holds and private companies play a greater role in space exploration and transportation, New Mexico’s Spaceport will be used in those activities. After all, there are dozens of spaceports in the US already.

So, I actually think Obama is going to right direction here. We need to shift away from the “big-program” style of governance — whether that be in space or in health care. As to whether New Mexico will ultimately benefit or not from this shift, that is another question. The Spaceport is so speculative at this point that any positive result would seem to be a bonus.