Spaceport Director Hails NASA Bill

Las Cruces – The director of New Mexico's spaceport authority says Congress has passed a major turning point by approving legislation that supports President Barack Obama's plan to use commercial carriers for lifting humans into near-Earth space.

Rick Homans says it means the United States space program is committed to the private sector and facilities such as Spaceport America near Las Cruces.

The bill passed the House on a 304-118 vote Thursday. The Senate passed it in August.

Included in the measure is $1.62 billion to help private companies develop new systems and technology to transport crew members to and from the International Space Station.

Homans says officials at the New Mexico spaceport hope to become fully operational next year.

Copyright 2010 The Associated Press.