Tuesday, December 23, 2008

FAA Approves Commercial Spaceport

The FAA has given final approval to the New Mexico Space Authority to construct Spaceport America in the New Mexico desert. The anchor carrier will be Virgin Galactic's suborbital space-tourism operation, but most of the major aerospace corporations have also been involved with Spaceport America. This is fantastic. Most of this globe was explored not by civil servants and scientists seeking to advance human knowledge, but by grubby, greedy adventurers seeking fame, glory, and filthy filthy lucre. Space will be no different, and it was uncharacteristically forward-thinking of the FAA to realize this and get out of the way.


Elephantschild said...

Awesome. Next stop, MARS!

Shane said...

Richard Branson may be the coolest rich guy in the world. And I agree that Mars would be awesome.

But also awesome and much more immediately achievable would be auctioning off runway access rights at ordinary airports for all the same reasons. Which they're kinda trying to do despite protests by those pesky rent-seeking airlines that already enjoy those runway rights.

What is wrong with me? I can't even see playful observations for what they are - I have to inject policy prescriptions everywhere I go.

Bi-Coloured-Python-Rock-Snake said...

Haha, it's the wonk's curse.

Yeah, I'm not much of an expert on airline policy, but from what I gather, the system is pretty arcane, and leads to a lot of waste and inconvenience (such as airlines flying empty planes back and forth just to maintain their access claim). Then there's Air Traffic Control, which is another ridiculous and wasteful mess. Read an interesting article on how the third world is likely to jump way ahead in air traffic, because their skies won't be limited by these outdated legacy systems we apparently can't afford to replace.