Monday, July 18, 2011
SAN DIEGO Private companies are taking over near-earth space transport as NASA gets out of the Shuttle business. And New Mexico is building them an airport.
Construction crews near Truth or Consequences, NM are trying to finish building Spaceport America. This will be the launching pad for commercial vehicles that take rich people into space so they can have the experience.
Over the weekend, NPR’s Weekend Edition aired a story about the progress of the Spaceport enterprise, which is being financed with New Mexico tax dollars. The state has an agreement with British magnate Richard Branson to make Spaceport the homeport of Branson’s spaceship company, called Virgin Galactic.
Virgin Galactic plans to charge $200,000 a ticket for what the eye-rolling crowd has called an “expensive thrill ride.” But folks in southern New Mexico hope it’ll be a going concern and create jobs, jobs jobs.
Meanwhile, America astronauts will need to hitch a ride on a Soviet spaceship if they want to spend any time on the International Space Station. And we thought Sputnik was a disaster! Now it turns out the Russians are the only ones who can call us a taxi.