The official groundbreaking for Spaceport America, the $198 million space tourism venue being built in southern New Mexico with state and local bond funds, has been delayed until November over problems with the environmental impact statement for the facility.

Work was to get under way in the first quarter of 2008, but the New Mexico Spaceport Authority must re-do the environmental impact statement after the Federal Aviation Administration raised questions about New Mexico State University’s participation in the effort.

The FAA said it was concerned over the university’s involvement because the school had been active in the design and promotion of the spaceport near Truth or Consequences.

Authority chairwoman Kelly O’Donnell said a California company has been hired to complete the statement, but some work must be re-done.

O’Donnell said the state still intends to have the facility operational in time for Virgin Galactic’s first planned launch in 2010.


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