Cost estimate for spaceport in New Mexico drops

The New Mexico Spaceport Authority now estimates a state-backed spaceport will cost $198 million (€149 million), down from the previous estimate of $225 million (€169 million). The spaceport board approved the estimate developed by a California firm hired to design the project at a meeting on Tuesday in Santa Fe. The latest figure for Spaceport America was released in advance of an April 3 vote by Dona Ana County residents on a one-quarter percent sales tax to help pay for the facility, planned for an area off an interstate highway in Sierra County between the towns of Las Cruces and Truth or Consequences. British entrepreneur Richard Branson has announced plans to base his space tourism company, Virgin Galactic, at the New Mexico spaceport and to launch manned flights on a suborbital spaceship by the end of the decade.