Oklahoma Spaceport Celebration On Hold After No Funding Received

Friday, June 30th 2006, 6:17 am
By: News On 6

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) -- Supporters of Oklahoma developing a commercial spaceport are putting a celebration on hold after the state Legislature failed to appropriate money for startup costs.

Members of the Oklahoma Space Industry Development Authority wanted $2-million for one-time projects needed to get the spaceport ready for business.

Had they received it, the authority could've celebrated becoming the first state to obtain a license for an inland, commercial spaceport on July 14th.

When the Legislature finished its work on a $7-billion state budget last week, lawmakers provided operating dollars for the authority but not the additional money.

The spaceport is located in Burns Flat on what was once Clinton-Sherman Air Force Base and is home to Rocketplane Limited Incorporated, which is working to develop a vehicle.

Board members suggest using the state's brand-new Opportunity Fund, which can be used for economic development purposes.

Governor Brad Henry's spokesman, Paul Sund, says while Henry supports the spaceport, he's not sure if the authority's proposal fits the criteria to get support from the fund.