Sunset at the “Virgin Galactic Gateway to Space” terminal hangar facility at Spaceport America. (Credit: Bill Gutman/Spaceport America)
by Douglas MessierManaging Editor
Officials from New Mexico, the federal government and Virgin Galactic met last week behind closed doors for the state’s first Space Valley Summit to form a “collaboratory” to promote Spaceport America and the state’s aerospace economy.
The one group not invited: taxpayers who have forked over about $250 million to build the spaceport where Virgin Galactic is the anchor tenant. As the Las Cruces Sun News dryly noted
Minutes after [Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham] exhorted the summit to “make sure every New Mexican … knows exactly what is happening here,” all reporters were asked to leave.
About 50 officials then met for about four hours behind closed doors, sans press or public they were urged to inform.
The exclusion continued a pattern of secrecy that has surrounded the publicly financed spaceport where Richard Branson’s suborbital tourism company is promising to finally begin launching 600 millionaires and billionaires into space this year after a decade of delays.
More on Spaceport America’s lack of transparency in a moment. In the meantime, you’re probably asking: what the hell is ...