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MAIN ARTICLE: Richardson gets a GREEN light:

What special pet project of Govenor Bill Richardson just got approved? Does this mean more pork? Space Pork or Space development. Leave a comment.

Poll Results: 'Americans in Space' weekly tracking poll for NASA spending. Click subscribe to stay informed.

Star Trek: In the News. Mister Spock or Homer Simpson. Which one are you? Scroll down to see what a new study suggests.

Yesterday's Comments: "Can we talk about how annoying the 3 circle ships were?  Those things always screwed me" - Ferris Valyn

Today's Poll: "Maximum you would pay for a Suborbital Space flight."  How much would you be willing to spend for a once in a lifetime experience? Scroll down to take today's poll.

Bill Richardson Pictures, Images and Photos

In Space Daily today there was a report that, future Secretary of Commerce and current Governor of New Mexico, Bill Richardson's, Space Port is finally a green for go: "US gives green light for first commercial spaceport"

"The US Federal Aviation Administration has given the green light for the world's first commercial spaceport, New Mexico authorities said Thursday.
The FAA granted Spaceport America a license for vertical and horizontal space launches following an environmental impact study, according to the New Mexico Space Authority (NMSA).

"These two governmental approvals are the next steps along the road to a fully operational commercial spaceport," said NMSA Executive Director Steven Landeene.

"We are on track to begin construction in the first quarter of 2009, and have our facility completed as quickly as possible." The terminal and hangar facility for horizontal launches is planned for completion by late 2010." - Space Travel

The Official Site for Space Port America Looks pretty impressive. New Mexico University projects that in five years it will imploy 2300 and have a payroll of 300 million dollars.

The Futron Study (PDF 31 pages)
"New Mexico Commercial Spaceport Economic Impact Study" projected:

"Based on this launch market forecast, Futron developed a forward-looking assessment of the economic impact of the spaceport in 2015 and 2020 based on Governor Bill Richardson’s vision for creating a new commercial space transportation and manufacturing cluster in southern New Mexico, along with key assumptions provided by the New Mexico state government.

In summary, Futron estimates that the spaceport has the potential to provide the basis for creating approximately $460 million of additional economic activity in New Mexico, with some 3,460 new jobs in 2015. These figures could increase to about $550 million of additional economic activity and 4,320 new jobs in 2020 (see Figure 2). These
projections include the following major categories of economic activities: space transportation, visitor spending and tourism, and Rocket Racing League operations. All economic impact figures and
assumptions presented throughout the study are in current 2005 dollars."

Now if a couple of these were built in every state it would mean almost a quarter of a million jobs. Toss in all the manufacturing jobs for space planes and you can see America can capture an entirely new global market.

I really hope Richardson is a bulldog on the development of an American Commercial Space Agenda. One proposal to recruit American Entreprenuers into this new market is a "ZERO G - ZERO TAX"

Last month Space.Com reported:

"During a press gab session, Richardson was asked about any possible post he might play in an Obama White House. The New Mexico governor played it a little coy, but said:

"Bill Richardson (100) Pictures, Images and PhotosHere's what I want to be sure of ... that the Obama administration is pro-commercial space ... that the administration is pro-space, pro-government space, pro-commercial space," Richardson observed."

Richardson said that "it's in the interest of our national space industry that commercial space could properly develop ... so I will be an advocate wherever I am ... hopefully here, still as governor of New Mexico ... you never know." So hold onto those words, commercial space fans!" - Space.Com

WHO ARE THE CUSTOMERS:

The anchor, in suborbital tourism, for the space port is Virgin Galatic - wiki. Run by the flambouyant Sir Richard Branson, Virgin is so commited to this enterprise, that they namned the first ship ... ENTERPRISE

spaceshiptwo Pictures, Images and Photos
Virgin Galatic (Official Site)

Another player in the suborbital tourism market is  Xcor. Jeff Greason is very proud of the ship they are building:

"The Lynx will offer affordable access to space for individuals, researchers and educators," said XCOR CEO Jeff Greason. "Future versions of Lynx will offer ever-improving capabilities for scientific and engineering research and commercial applications.  

The spaceship, roughly the size of a small private airplane, will first take off in 2010 and will be capable of flying several times each day.  

"We have designed this vehicle to operate much like a commercial aircraft. Its liquid fuel engines will provide the enhanced safety, durability, reliability and maintainability that keep operating costs low," Greason said. "These engines will also minimize the impact of these flights on the environment," Greason added. "They are fully reusable, burn cleanly, and release fewer particulates than solid fuel or hybrid rocket motors."

"Lynx will be the ‘Greatest Ride Off Earth,’" said XCOR test pilot, former pilot astronaut and Space Shuttle commander, Col. Rick Searfoss (USAF-Ret.). "The acceleration, the weightlessness, and the view will provide you with an experience that is out of this world. And the best part of it all is that you’ll ride right up front, like a co-pilot, instead of in back, like cargo."

XCOR has nine years’ experience developing reliable, reusable and non-toxic rocket propulsion systems and has already built and flown two different rocket-powered vehicles. The firm designed, built and flew a rocket propulsion system on its record-setting EZ-Rocket aircraft. The XCOR team then developed a more powerful engine with an advanced pump-fed fuel system for a larger aircraft now being flight-tested for a commercial customer."

XCOR Aerospace Pictures, Images and Photos
(Image - Xcor Official Site)

PAGE 2: (Read more NASA Diaries on DKOS)

SubOrbital Space Tourism: Would you go?

With more competitors joining the field, it looks like Space Tourism is going foreward. Would you take a once in a lifetime trip into space? Space Port America is banking on it. Can Bill Richardson press home the importance for America to develop and lead in this industry before global players jump in. Today's poll is a little barometer of how much is a trip like this worth.

POLL RESULTS:

An above average turnout in yesterday's weekly tracking poll with 28% of those members voting wanting massive increased space spending. 20% would like to see space spending set at two percent of the Federal Budget. Nine percent would like to see a cut in space funding.

Weekly Tracking Polls:

Sat Dec 20, 2008. Sat Dec 13, 2008, Sat Dec 6, 2008, Sat Nov 29, 2008, Sat Nov 22, 2008

OTHER POLLS:

SERIES 3:

Mon: Moon, Tues: Space Tourism, Wed: Mars, Thur: LEO2GEO, Fri: SSP

SERIES 2:
Poll #1 Space Solar Power (SSP) 27%
Poll #2 Space Solar Power (SSP) 33%
Poll #3 Nuclear Engines..............33%
Poll #4 Battery Systems..............18%
Poll #5 Battery Systems..............25%

SPACE SOLAR POWER (SSP)

SERIES 1:

Poll #1 Mars Base 34%
Poll #2 Moon Base 30%
Poll #3 Moon Base 40%
Poll #4 LEO Fuel Depot 38%
Poll #5 Moon base 30%

MOON BASE 28% - 31.8% (adjusted)

STAR TREK: In the News.

Drivers either Homer or Mr Spock

"There are two types of travellers characterised by TV's Homer Simpson and Mr Spock, a study suggests.

Professor Glenn Lyons, of the University of the West of England (UWE), in Bristol, says we make our travelling decisions along two lines.

Mr Spock types will use every source of information available to make an informed and economical choice of how to get from A to B"

YESTERDAY'S COMMENTS:

"Hmm, while your poll seems to make one point it actually makes another.  There is zero possibility of the budget for NASA being drastically increased to anything like the peak during Apollo, nor reason to.  

While I would love to see the planet spend more on science, and even space exploration, a sevenfold increase in NASA's budget would be insane.  What kills NASA is uncertainty in the funding stream and its goals shifting every 4 or 8 years.  I'd settle for a constant budget in real dollars for the foreseeable future plus a twice inflation rate increase in Earth science.  NASA doesn't drive technology, but it still has its place." - nsfbr

" "You need to read "Spinoff" by Robert A. Heinlein.  It is his testimony before congress about his cutting-edge carotid bypass operation (done in 1979), highlighting several technologies (e.g. telemetry and Doppler ultrasound) that came directly from R&D done for the U.S. space program.

Anyone but the worst Luddite should want to fall on their knees in thanks to our space program for the things it has brought people here on earth." - rhubarb

TODAY'S POLL:

"The Lynx Mark I won't fly as high as Virgin Galactic's SpaceShipTwo tourist rocketship, which is under construction just down the street from XCOR's headquarters in Mojave, Calif. This first-generation Lynx is designed to take off and land like a regular airplane, and fly as high as 38 miles (61 kilometers). That's short of the internationally accepted boundary of outer space (100 kilometers, or 62 miles), as well as the U.S. Air Force's lower standard for spaceflight (50 miles)." - ROCKET RIDES FOR $95,000

SpaceShipTwo will fly to about 70 miles, and be more spacious, with six passengers.

(Read more NASA Diaries on DKOS)

Originally posted to Vladislaw on Sun Dec 21, 2008 at 09:00 PM PST.

Poll

Maximum you would pay for a Suborbital Space flight.

4%2 votes
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4%2 votes
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4%2 votes
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4%2 votes
0%0 votes
17%8 votes
8%4 votes
26%12 votes
6%3 votes
22%10 votes

| 45 votes | Vote | Results

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