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Runner Asks Governor For Mojave Spaceport Funding

Sharon Runner expresses her strong support for $11 million project
Sacramento - Last week, Assemblywoman Sharon Runner (R-Lancaster) delivered a letter to Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger requesting his support in funding the Mojave Spaceport Terminal at the East Kern Airport District (Mojave Airport).  The terminal project will provide advanced research and development of space flight technologies along with a commercial passenger terminal and educational facility. "California led the aerospace industry through the 1980's and into the 1990's," said Runner.  "In order to capitalize on our citizens' ingenuity and hard work, our state must invest in its future."
Runner's letter asks the Governor to support the policy incorporated in Senate Bill 1671 during budget negotiations.  SB 1671 will make available an $11 million loan toward what is currently the world's only inland spaceport, located at Mojave Airport.  In 2004, a small firm operating out of the Mojave Airport successfully launched, and safely returned to Earth, the first privately funded spacecraft, thus winning the $10 million "X-Prize." Other states are now actively working to build their own spaceports to seize upon commercial space flight and technology. The emerging industry promises tremendous growth.  Virgin Atlantic has already collected over $13 million in deposits for future space flights.  Mojave Spaceport has requested to have its license modified to increase  suborbital flights from its current 6 per year up to 60 annually in 2007 and 500 flights a year by 2009. "The loan under SB 1671 is a minimal upfront investment, which will reap sizeable returns in the future," said Runner. "Aerospace belongs in California and we need to fight to keep it here."
Assemblywoman Runner's letter arrived the week before the scheduled release of Governor Schwarzenegger's May Budget Revise on Friday May 12th, a key juncture in the state budgetary cycle. SB 1671 was heard yesterday in the Senate Appropriations Committee and put on their suspense file.