New Mexico Spaceport has geared up once again. Following the accident of the spaceship of its anchor tenant Virgin Galactic, which crashed over the California desert during a test flight, the venture of this $250-million spaceport to launch the world’s first commercial flights paused for some time. But now the authority is preparing to get into action by gathering more tenants and gaining support from the state lawmakers.
Authority’s executive director, Christine Anderson, was summoned by Rep. Patricia Lundstrom for giving a presentation, mostly including photographs, to the members of an interim legislative finance committee. The lawmakers this time are stringent to have a detailed knowledge about the authority’s plans to avoid further mishaps and to get the taxpayer-financed spaceport off the ground.
Anderson said “it just made all of us look like idiots, like we don’t do our homework. That’s not the case whatsoever.” She also told about the six hours meeting with the same committee which was held a month back that demanded her testimony about the works of spaceport authority, its expenditure, projects, revenue it is expected to bring and its future plans. The meeting did not include Lundstrom and a dozen other legislators.
Spaceport is continuing its search for tenants and on Friday Anderson remarked that there is a serious need to convince the lawmakers. Garnering more cooperation with business leaders is one of the prime requirements to achieve this. For discussing business plan updates, another meeting has been planned by the authority’s board of directors before the year ends. On the other hand, Anderson has called for meetings with state economic development officials to discuss about their cooperation in getting more business.
As the spaceport has delayed flights indefinitely; there is a loss of about $1.7 million a year. Anderson is hopeful to compensate some of it with revenues generated from other events like rocket launches by companies such as UP Aerospace and fashion and auto photo shoots. Spaceport also plans to get more money from lease and user fees associated with the testing of a reusable rocket being developed by Elon Musk’s SpaceX, which has been scheduled for the next spring.
$2 million has been invested by SpaceX for the infrastructure improvements of spaceport whereas Virgin Galactic will be spending over $3 million for constructing the main hangar and terminal. A major challenge for the spaceport in gathering new tenants is that many of them are way behind to become operational. However, Lundstrom and other lawmakers are hoping for the success of the spaceport.