Broadcast 643 (Special Edition)

26 Dec 2006 Dr. Burton H. Lee
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Dr. Burton Lee was the guest for this special Space Show program. Dr. Lee successfully guided us through the spaceport world of market studies, economic impact studies, market research and business decisions, and a host of related business, market, and financial issues surrounding space tourism, the making of the space tourism vehicles, and much more. Not only was our discussion interesting and comprehensive, it was most informative about these important subjects and issues. We started the interview with Dr. Lee providing us with a detailed history of the origin of the Southwest Regional Spaceport in southern New Mexico. This spaceport was later renamed Spaceport America. As we learned, Dr. Lee conceived the idea for the spaceport in 1990 as part of the need for a land recovery site for orbital ballistic reentry capsules. Space tourism and launches were not part of the equation or consideration and upon asking Dr. Lee when space tourism came to the forefront, we learned it was when New Mexico was chosen for the X Prize Cup location and Virgin Galactic entered into a relationship with New Mexico to be the anchor tenant for the spaceport. Dr. Lee shared with us many more historical facts that you will want to hear. In response to listener questions, we learned how monies dedicated to seed funding for spaceport development were allocated, we learned about the effort and the need to enter into an agreement with Mexico on over flight, debris, recovery, and other issues. This type of agreement is still needed and now that Mexico has announced the formation of its own national space agency, it is even more important to have such an agreement. We also learned that originally the spaceport was to be much larger and actually regional, extending over to Roswell, into Texas and northern Mexico. In response to a listener set of questions, Dr. Lee talked about state projects offering a return on investment for money its spends and we learned how difficult it is for a state to make ROI determinations in its investment and development expenditures. We also discussed possible spaceport and market dilution given the potential proliferation of spaceports across America and on the international scene. Additional issues were discussed during the interview and you will certainly come away from this program knowing considerably more about these topics than you did before listening to the show. If you have additional comments or questions for Dr. Lee, please email him at Burton.Lee@gmail.com.

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