1. Headline
  1. Headline
Image: Exterior of terminal
Virgin Galactic / Foster + Partners
An artist's conception shows the Spaceport America's terminal building, surrounded by White Knight Two and SpaceShipTwo vehicles. Most of the facility would be built underground.
By Space.com correspondent
updated 11/5/2008 8:18:48 PM ET 2008-11-06T01:18:48

Residents of Otero County in New Mexico have defeated a proposed tax increase to help build an inland spaceport that would serve as the launching ground for commercial spacecraft.

Reports from the field indicate that 52.3 percent voted against the tax on Tuesday.

While not impacting Spaceport America as far as moving forward, the Otero vote means there will be less money for operations. Officials have said the initial estimated cost to build the spaceport 45 miles (72.4 kilometers) north of Las Cruces, N.M., is about $198 million, with a cap set for $225 million.

Earlier, both Dona Ana County and Sierra County approved a tax increase, meaning that Spaceport America will proceed toward construction. The Otero tax increase would have raised some $2.3 million for the effort, with that county becoming part of a triad of support to build the facility.

  1. More from TODAY.com
    1. Therapy dog helps 6-year-old boy move arm again after brain surgeries

      At just the right moment, a dog named Tank gave a boy named Jack the motivation he needed to get moving again.

    2. In your face! Julia Roberts has a ball with Jimmy Fallon on 'Tonight'
    3. Pirelli Calendar to feature first-ever plus-size model
    4. Swarmed! 8 tips on best mosquito bite treatments and repellents
    5. Best ATMs ever? See how this bank surprised customers in tearjerker ad

"We will look for support from other local governments or New Mexico counties not currently in the district that have expressed interest in joining," Steve Landeene, executive director of the New Mexico Spaceport Authority, said Wednesday in a news release.

British billionaire Sir Richard Branson has tapped Spaceport America to serve as the launching ground for his Virgin Galactic spaceliners, a fleet of privately built suborbital spaceships that will launch passengers on space tourism treks for about $200,000 per seat. The air-launched SpaceShipTwo vehicles and their WhiteKnightTwo mothership are under construction at Scaled Composites in Mojave, Calif.

The spaceport is expected to be home base for a separate venture to fly passengers aboard a new fleet of reusable, vertically launched rocket ships, at a cost of about $100,000 per ticket.

The new joint venture between Rocket Racing Inc. and Armadillo Aerospace of Mesquite, Texas, was announced last month at the Lunar Lander Challenge in Las Cruces, where the Armadillo team won $350,000 in the NASA-sponsored moon lander contest. Piloted flights of the bubblelike spacecraft are slated to begin in 2010.

While the Otero County vote may have failed to support Spaceport America, the project is still moving closer to reality, Landeene said. The Federal Aviation Administration is currently reviewing Spaceport America's license application.

This report was supplemented by Space.com staff and msnbc.com.

© 2013 Space.com. All rights reserved. More from Space.com.

Video: Virgin's vision

Discuss:

Discussion comments

,

Most active discussions

  1. votes comments
  2. votes comments
  3. votes comments
  4. votes comments

More on TODAY.com

  1. Theo Wargo / NBC via Getty Images

    In your face! Julia Roberts has a ball with Jimmy Fallon on 'Tonight'

    8/1/2014 4:45:08 AM +00:00 2014-08-01T04:45:08
  1. Courtesy of Steve Mason

    Parents plead forgiveness for late daughter's $200K student-loan debt

    7/31/2014 7:10:12 PM +00:00 2014-07-31T19:10:12
  1. Special hospital unit in Georgia prepares for Ebola patient

    Emory University Hospital in Atlanta said it is preparing an isolation unit to receive a patient with Ebola disease "within the next several days."

    7/31/2014 9:52:34 PM +00:00 2014-07-31T21:52:34
  1. Kerry and UN announce 72-hour cease-fire in Gaza

    Civilians in Gaza will use the time to receive humanitarian relief, bury their dead, care for the injured and restock food supplies. 

    7/31/2014 9:55:08 PM +00:00 2014-07-31T21:55:08
  1. Courtesy of Tyler Doss

    Watch therapy dog help boy move arm again after brain surgeries

    8/1/2014 12:50:14 AM +00:00 2014-08-01T00:50:14