Spaceport America Facility Retains Great Value Despite Crash says Construction Reporter
Industry: Commerical Building
Virgin Galactica spaceflight crash marks a tragic moment in Spaceport America's history, yet recent Airflight Conference speaker emphasizes value of the Spaceport itself.
New Mexico (PRUnderground) November 5th, 2014
The recent Virgin Galactic spaceflight test vehicle, VSS Enterprise crash has slowed momentum toward the inaugural launch of a Virgin Galactica rocket into suborbital space. Yet according to speakers at the International Symposium for Personal and Commercial Spaceflight (ISPC) meeting in Las Cruces two weeks ago, the Spaceport America facility itself has value beyond the success of Virgin Galactica flights.
The Symposium drew about 300 attendees including FAA, U.S. Department of Defense, and National Aeronautics and Space Administration officials.
Following the crash Virgin Galactic founder Richard Branson said:
“We do understand the risks involved and we are not going to push on blindly—to do so would be an insult to all those affected by this tragedy. We are going to learn from what went wrong and discover how we can improve safety and performance and then move forward together.”
All that is learned as a result of investigations into the crash will impact future flights, and necessitates pushing back the timetable of the much-heralded inaugural flight which was most recently suggested as spring of 2015.
At the ISPC meeting prior to the crash, Stuart Witt, chief executive officer and general manager of California’s Majave Air ad Space Port asserted to conference goers:
“You’re sitting on a goldmine at Spaceport America. You’ve made a 200 million dollar investment, and you’re sitting on a facility like I’ve never seen. ” He was speaking to Spaceport funders who have been getting antsy about the launch timeline, as Branson’s initial forecast of first lift-off was 2012, and has since been pushed back repeatedly to spring of 2015 as proposed recently by Branson in an interview with David Letterman.
Witt proposed that the value of the Spaceport extended beyond the success of he Virgin Galactic. comparing it to the California Mohave Air and Spaceport he has managed for the past 12 years and which had been unused for a decade before undergoing an upgrade and receiving official recognition as a spaceport by the Federal Aviation Administration. After that, the facility began to generate revenue. Spaceport America, says Witt, is a “far superior’ facility.
That facility, said Witt, was a Marine base back in the 1930s that had gone unused for nearly a decade. Despite the facility’s neglected condition and lack of tenants, it was soon making money after a general upgrade and official recognition as a space port by the Federal Aviation Administration, to the point where it even prospered during the recent Great Recession, “while the rest of America skipped across the bottom.”
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