It’s been a long time coming. Nearly 14 years have passed, in fact, since Sir Richard Branson and former Gov. Bill Richardson announced plans to build the world’s first commercial spacecraft launch and landing facility in New Mexico.
And Virgin Galactic still isn’t quite ready, but Spaceport America says Branson’s company is closer than ever to sending paying customers into space — projecting the first flight will happen by summer.
There have been long delays, but given that expected timeline, Spaceport America CEO Dan Hicks said the time is now to increase staff and boost infrastructure so the port is ready when the day comes. He made that case at the Roundhouse last week, asking legislators to draw on the state’s oil and gas windfall to approve a budget increase.