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Virgin Galactic shuns binding lease at New Mexico spaceport

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Posted in Science on 9th Feb, 2013 11:14 PM by AlexMuller

Virgin Galactic has agreed to start paying New Mexico rent on the nearly quarter-billion dollar spaceport the state built for British businessman Richard Branson’s space tourism business, but it says it is doing so under protest and without waiving its right to walk away from the project, according to documents obtained by The Associated Press.

 

In a Jan. 16 email to the New Mexico Spaceport Authority, Virgin Galactic said it does not believe the state has finished the work necessary to trigger activation of its $1 million annual rent obligation, and said if the work is not complete to its satisfaction by March 31, it “may either stop paying rent, pay reduced rent or give notice to terminate” its lease.

 

Virgin Galactic has publicly expressed concerns about the state’s inability to attract more businesses to the project and has hinted it could leave if lawmakers refuse for a third year in a row to expand liability exemptions for the commercial space industry. The Legislature is in session until mid-March and a compromise bill was endorsed Monday by the Senate Judiciary Committee.



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