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Virgin Group

New Mexico spaceport seeks taxpayer support for expansion

The CEO of New Mexico's commercial spacecraft launch facility has stepped up pressure for more taxpayer support as lead tenant Virgin Galactic inches closer to its goal of flying tourists into the lower reaches of space.

Spaceport American CEO Dan Hicks said Monday that it's not realistic for the facility near the Army's White Sands Missile Range to be 100 percent financially self-sufficient.

The New Mexico Spaceport Authority is seeking a $700,000 increase next year to its current operating budget of nearly $1 million. Beyond space tourism, he said the facility is being positioned to compete with spaceports in several states for some of the booming private market for...