Economic Development

In Orbit: A Spaceport Takes Off

Economic development isn't rocket science. It's more like risk management--making strategic investments to stay competitive in the global market.
by | July 2007

Economic development isn't rocket science. It's more like risk management--making strategic investments to stay competitive in the global market.

New Mexico is taking a targeted--and risky--approach by betting a big piece of its economic future on, well, rocket science. The state has been planning the world's first purpose-built commercial spaceport--a port that would offer suborbital jaunts to the lay public. As of this past May, the project cleared a major financing hurdle: Voters in Dona Ana County passed, by a 270-vote margin, a ballot measure to hike the sales tax by one-quarter of 1 percent to help pay for the facility.

Clearly, not everyone thought it was a good idea to underwrite space travel. But Rick Homans, director of the newly created New Mexico Spaceport Authority, says the investment will bolster the state's brand and make it more attractive to tourists and businesses.

Homans vacated his post as state economic development secretary in early May to oversee development of what he sees as a major effort. "It's a $200 million facility," he says, "that intends to be the launch pad for a whole new industry." A study commissioned by the state estimates that by 2015 the spaceport could help create 3,460 new jobs and $460 million in additional economic activity.

Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. You can enter an anonymous Display Name or connect to a social profile.

More from Economic Development