New Mexico Voters Approve Spaceport Tax


You’ve heard about Obamamania. Now rocket mania is sweeping voters, at least in New Mexico.

Voters in Sierra County in the Land of Enchantment have approved a quarter-cent tax to help fund New Mexico’s Spaceport America. The vote, following on the heels of an earlier approval by residents of neighboring Dona Ana county, means that Spaceport America is a go.

We’ve been closely following the race to build a new commercial spaceport to meet the expected needs of space tourism since 2006. (See also this news on Spaceport America from last year.) The results from the tax election in Sierra County virtually guarantee that Spaceport America will be the first new commercial spaceport to open its doors in the United States since the race began for the space tourists’ dollars.

That’s bad news for Spaceport Sheboygan, the Wisconsin spaceport effort that is being heavily promoted by the Great Lakes Aerospace Science and Education Center, among others.

Virgin Galactic will be Spaceport America’s anchor tenant. It’s already in use by the likes of Lockheed Martin, who love Spaceport America’s convenience:

 Spaceport America has launched two unmanned commercial rockets and touts plans for space tourism, but some secret rocket research also is being done.

Lockheed Martin Corporation is now using the spaceport to advance some of its less-publicized technology.

This prototype of Lockheed Martin’s new spacecraft is only one-fifth the size the future vehicle would be.

It looks a bit like the space shuttle and would fly to space and return the same way.  But even the big version would not carry people, just satellites…

For Lockheed Martin Spaceport America in southeastern Sierra County offers the perfect venue for research like this.

"To be able to have a spaceport located down here where we can come in and almost just drop right in, do our thing and then be able to go back home and review the data and then be able to schedule and come back, that is very key for us," Simpson said.

A video of the report on Lockheed Martin at Spaceport America can be seen here

An artist’s conception of the inside of Spaceport America’s terminal: