In a Jan. 12, 2013 story, the UK Guardian reports that Virgin Galactic is threatening to pull out of Space Port America in New Mexico unless that state passes legislation passes a bill to extend a liability waiver to manufacturers and parts suppliers of the company’s suborbital tourist space ship. Currently New Mexico only offers the waiver to Virgin Galactic itself. Virgin Galactic feels that it cannot operate a business if its contractors are subject to being sued as a result of an accident of its suborbital space ship.
If the New Mexico Legislature fails to comply with Virgin Galactic’s demands, the company has a variety of places that it could move to. Next door Texas has already seen one of the company’s competitors, XCOR, create a research facility in Midland. The speculation is that XCOR might move entirely from California to Texas since the latter state has a far more favorable business climate.
In the meantime, SpaceX is contemplating its own space port near Brownsville, a community on the Texas Gulf Coast near the border with Mexico. SpaceX and Blue Origin, the space company run by Amazon’s Jeff Bezos, already has test facilities in the Lone Star State.