Plans Move Forward For New Mexico Spaceport

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New Mexico's new Spaceport Authority met for the first time last Wednesday to start making plans for a new commercial spaceport in the state. "Now we move into implementation," Spaceport Authority Chairman Rick Homans told Space.com after the meeting. A site of 27 square miles, about 45 miles north of Las Cruces, has already been designated as the Southwest Regional Spaceport. The Authority will begin work on an environmental impact assessment within the next month, Homans said, and hopes to have an FAA license to operate as a spaceport by the end of next year. Homans said the Spaceport Authority plans to work with private companies that "want to get in on the ground floor of this industry and become financial partners with the state in building and operating the spaceport." Michael Kelly, vice president of the X Prize Foundation, told Space.com the first meeting of the Spaceport Authority was "a milestone transition, from the decade-long efforts of the Spaceport Commission to an official, established spaceport program having the full commitment of the state." The New Mexico site has great potential for hosting commercial space tourism activities, Kelly said.