Stateline tackles Spaceport America (and commercial space facilities in general)

Part of the fun of running the Rio Grande Foundation is that every few months a national news outlet does a story on either the New Mexico Spaceport or the private launch efforts being undertaken across the nation more generally.

Stateline is a well-respected publication put out by the Pew Center and I had the pleasure of (again) discussing New Mexico’s failure in the desert. You can read the full article here, but my comments were:

“New Mexico made the huge mistake, I think, of building for one specific, relatively untried technology,” said Paul Gessing, president of the Rio Grande Foundation, a fiscally conservative think tank based in Albuquerque. That includes building a runway extension to suit Virgin Galactic spacecraft.

“That should have been Richard Branson taking the risk, not the taxpayers of New Mexico,” he said.

One idea I’d not considered until spending time down at the Roswell Airport recently (old Walker AFB) is that perhaps that facility could have been used as a spaceport? It is a very long runway (could have been lengthened if needed) with pre-existing infrastructure and an actual city for prospective space pioneers to fly into and out of. Finally, Roswell is also close to White Sands and has the benefits of limited air traffic. I’m not sure whether this was ever considered, but it would have been a lot more affordable for the taxpayers of New Mexico!


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3 Replies to “Stateline tackles Spaceport America (and commercial space facilities in general)”

  1. I once wrote an article about the possibility of using Roswell’s air center. Gov. Richardson did not get many votes from this part of the state so he wasn’t interested in spending money here even those this part of the state is where he got most of his tax revenue from O&G.

    History also shows how President Johnson shut down Walker Air Base because he did not get many votes from this part of the state. That is how government works then and still does today. They seldom spend money wisely.

    WIPP was another unnecessary boondoggle because WCS in Texas is storing transuranic for pennies on the dollar compared to WIPP. WIPP was a 1950’s concept that does not apply to advance storage technology of today. Now WIPP wants to expand to stay relevant and store down blended weapons grade plutonium to transuranic classification.

    WGPu is fuel for advance fast spectrum MSR reactor technology just around the corner. It can be easily stored at the new proposed Holtec HI-STORE CISF site until the advanced reactors are commercialized.

    But, WIPP needs a new waste stream so it can justify expansion.

  2. Democracy is messy. It’s only as good as the education of the people. Education in NM is the worst in the nation. So what do you expect?

    Does complaining about what “should” have happened accomplish anything? The second annual Spaceport America Cup event this month was a resounding success with 1500 college students participating from around the world with rockets carrying a 4kg payload to 10K and 30K feet.

  3. Was my comment received and will it be posted? I do not see it and did not receive confirmation. Thanks

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