A proposed launch site for commercial space operators in south-central New Mexico could lead to future flight restrictions for general aviation aircraft. If granted, the site near the White Sands Missile Test Range would be licensed to the New Mexico Economic Development Department for both horizontal and vertical launches. While AOPA supports the future of commercial space ventures, the association believes the massive amount of restricted airspace associated with White Sands is more than adequate to accommodate commercial launches. The FAA will be holding scoping meetings to solicit comments from the public as the agency prepares an environmental impact statement. The meetings will take place on February 15 at the Truth or Consequences City Council Chambers and on February 16 at New Mexico State University's Physical Sciences Laboratory Auditorium in Las Cruces. Both meetings start at 6:30 p.m. Written comments can be mailed to Ms. Stacey M. Zee, FAA Environmental Specialist, Southwest Regional Spaceport EIS c/o ICF Consulting, 9300 Lee Highway, Fairfax, VA 22031. Comments also can be e-mailed or faxed to 703/934-3951.
February 3, 2006