A budget approved by the New Mexico House of Representatives would boost the state’s annual contribution to Spaceport America’s operating budget for fiscal year 2019.
Funding from the state’s general fund would increase from $375,900 to $675,900. Spaceport America officials say they need to boost their efforts to attract more businesses to the facility outside of Truth or Consequences.
The budget also includes $10 million “for the planning and construction of an aerospace satellite testing and development hangar,” the bill reads. “The appropriation is contingent on the New Mexico spaceport authority contracting with a vendor specializing in advanced aerospace products and technologies to use the hangar.”
Construction of the spaceport near Truth or Consequences has already cost taxpayers about $225 million. The spaceport was originally built for anchor tenant Virgin Galactic, which has yet to begin flying suborbital space tourism flights from the southern New Mexico facility.
Virgin Galactic is currently testing its second SpaceShipTwo, Unity, at the Mojave Air and Space Port in California. Richard Branson’s space company expects to conduct several powered flight tests at Mojave before moving test operations to Spaceport America later this year.