NM Spaceport Gets Federal Grant

New Mexico – ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRWG) The New Mexico Spaceport Authority has been awarded a grant worth nearly $250,000 from the Federal Aviation Administration.

The funding will be used to help acquire a so-called roll-back integration building that can be used to prepare space vehicles for vertical launches at Spaceport America, the world's first built-from-scratch launch station for sending people and payloads into space.

Construction continues on the $209 million taxpayer-financed project in southern New Mexico.

In addition to vertical payload launches at the spaceport, anchor tenant Virgin Galactic plans to offer 2 1/2-hour suborbital flights aboard its SpaceShipTwo at a cost of $200,000.

U.S. Sen. Jeff Bingaman announced the grant Thursday. The New Mexico Democrat says the investment in Spaceport America is also an investment in the local economy.

Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. KRWG