Yet another national publication has come to New Mexico to ask questions and report on the failed Spaceport America. The latest is Undark Magazine which describes itself as “Non-profit & editorially independent. Exploring #science as a frequently wondrous, sometimes contentious, and occasionally troubling byproduct of human culture.”
I recently sat down with a reporter for a story on the Spaceport called “Spaceport America: New Mexico’s Protracted Gamble on Commercial Spaceflight.” Among the choice quotes (the former is mine, the latter is not) from the piece:
For a “poor state with a poor track record of picking winners and losers,” Spaceport America was a huge gamble for many reasons, said Paul Gessing, president of the Rio Grande Foundation, a public policy research organization headquartered in Albuquerque. “We don’t know what the future of the commercial space industry is.” Gessing went on to question how deep this market is, stating “The reliance on somewhat unproven technology is critical.”
“There are just so many unknowns,” he added.
And, A combination of the sunk cost fallacy and faith has sustained Spaceport America so far. But the novelty is wearing off, and New Mexico is losing its competitive edge as other states build spaceport facilities. For many residents, what drives the project forward is a simple hope that the state’s investments will finally create returns.