Virgin Galactic Leases Spaceport
So now Richard Branson has a spot in which to park his spaceship. No word on whether passengers will have to remove their shoes, or if bottles of water will be allowed onboard.
I do not predict suborbital flights becoming commonplace anytime soon, but if the price comes down even a touch then enough rich folks may strap in for the venture to turn a profit. Especially since the only competition is vintage rocket tourism, made famous by pop star Lance Bass and businessman Mark Shuttleworth.
New Mexico officials have set the ground work to lease part of its commercial spaceport to Virgin Galactic as a base for its space tourism company.
British entrepreneur Richard Branson and the state signed a 37-page memorandum of agreement Monday, setting the terms of a lease that calls for the company to pay the state $27.5 million over 20 years.
The agreement isn't legally binding, but state Economic Development Secretary Rick Homans said he expects a lease based on the agreement to be signed within three months.
Spaceport America launched a rocket from a temporary launch pad last fall, and authorities expect to complete the $198 million facility in late 2009 or early 2010.
The state already has appropriated $115 million for the project and expects about $25 million in federal funds over the next five years with the goal of creating a home for future public space flight.