Spaceport Supporters Weigh Latest Challenges, Progress

Oct 22, 2013

Spaceport America is an impressive sight against the Southern New Mexico desert.

KRWG News joined a tour bus that left the International Symposium for Personal and Commercial Spaceflight to see it up close.

Richard Majestic was on the bus. He was president of the High Tech Consortium when Spaceport America was built…. the changes are clear to him.

“There was a lot of cleaning up…saw some equipment on the second floor…where they have the safety equipment…they have a lot of equipment in there.”

One of the vehicles here that would be used in the case of an aircraft fire is a massive Striker fire truck. The tires are almost shoulder-high.

Everything is impressive, but so far, no one has used this facility to fly into space. Fire trucks and ambulances with “Spaceport America” written on them sit here -- shiny and new.

One big item still up in the air is a nearly 24-mile dirt road running from Las Cruces to the Spaceport.

“We have to provide the infrastructure…this is going to be very important,” said councilor Gill Sorg.

Sorg was also on the trip. He represents district 5 on the Las Cruces City Council.

Most of the road runs through Sierra County. Sorg says the state legislature should allocate money for it.

“We need to get our state legislature on board…on the fast track…. appropriate the finishing monies that we need.”

“And we need a first-class road that’s going to be all-weather…. need people coming in here regularly everyday.”

The Spaceport means a lot for businesses that rely on tourism—like hotels.

Audrey Valdez directs sales at the Staybridge Suites In Las Cruces. Her hotel may not attract wealthy space-travelers, but she hopes their friends will need a place to stay.

“I knew that we would not be getting the person going into outer space, but I like the idea that the entourage coming to support them…with us being an extended stay property, I like the idea that we might filter some of that business to our facility as well,” said Audrey Valdez, sales director at Staybridge Suites of Las Cruces.

Eric hill works at Staybridge, too. He says he plans to mention the spaceport as an attraction after this tour.

“It’s definitely something that we would mention to our guests because it is interesting and it’s something that’s different,” said Eric Hill of Staybridge Suites of Las Cruces.

Richard Majestic has seen the spaceport change physically, but he also witnessed the community’s opinion of the project change – still a positive trajectory, he says…

“It hasn’t gotten any less…. it’s always good to see people are still interested in it. There’s a pretty good turnout today,” said Majestic.