Tuesday, February 26, 2008

New Mexico spaceport on for 2010

Officials at the New Mexico Spaceport Authority (NMSA) report progress in blueprinting the design of the first “purpose built” commercial spaceport. The $198 million project is sketched out to cover an 18,000 acre footprint 45 miles north of Las Cruces and 30 miles east of Truth or Consequences, New Mexico. That area is favored due to low population density, uncongested airspace, as well as high elevation. According to the NMSA in a February 18 statement, a milestone has been met in that 90 percent of the site layout and design is now complete. That being the case, the first bid package for construction is to be ready within the coming months. NMSA is working closely with DMJM Aviation, the group contracted to plan, design, and provide construction management. Furthermore, water and power distribution, as well as internal road design is roughly 85 percent complete. The spaceport's runway and related airfield design is 65 percent complete. All design related to the inland spaceport's on-site infrastructure should be wrapped up by May, the NMSA reports. Bid packages for construction work are now targeted for summer, although a key milestone must be in alignment with the release of bid packages. An environmental impact study is still underway for planting the spaceport complex, work that must be done to achieve a site operator's license from the Federal Aviation Administration. Completion of Spaceport America is currently planned for some time in the year 2010, the NMSA now projects. When up and running, that sprawling facility is to be home base for Virgin Galactic spaceline operations.

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