The recent crash of SpaceShipTwo in the Mojave Desert was a tragedy. Unfortunately, the long-term impact on New Mexicans could be quite negative as well. Whatever economic activity we could have expected from the Spaceport is going to be delayed for years according to experts.
Of course, the Rio Grande Foundation has been a long-time critic of taxpayer funding for the Spaceport. I argued in a recent BuzzFeed article that “Space tourism is far more speculative and dubious than anyone actually knows. It’s like building an airport before the Wright Brothers had their first flight. That’s what New Mexico did.”
Unfortunately, those remarks look all-too-prescient today. New Mexico taxpayers will be further placed on the hook for operations and maintenance at the Spaceport in the years ahead in the hopes of keeping the facility prepared for tourist flights that may never come.
Check out the recent story for Channel 13 KRQE on the potential impact the accident will have on New Mexico’s Spaceport. Don’t think this is a relevant topic in terms of the political conversation? Recently, Alan Webber, the runner-up for the Democratic Party’s nomination for Governor and I debated a variety of issues relevant to New Mexico including the Spaceport. Footage of that is below the Channel 13 story and the discussion begins at about the 54:45 mark.