Tuesday, February 23, 2010

A unique rural development strategy

Read Dan Barry's story about Upham, New Mexico, and its planned space port here. According to Wikipedia, Upham is uninhabited, which would explain why it is not even a Census Designated Place. It is in Sierra County, population 13,270, the county seat of which is Truth or Consequences, an apparently risk-loving town that followed an interesting development strategy (or at least an attention-getting one) in the 1950s: it called the bluff of Ralph Edwards, host of the television show by the same name, who promised to broadcast from the first town to change its name to that of the show. Truth or Consequences, population 7,289, formerly was called Hot Springs.

Here's an excerpt from Barry's story about the space port.

Here, where rattlesnakes hibernate and rabbits scurry, there unfolds a two-mile runway designed to accommodate spaceships. And right beside it, past those giant rumbling tractors of sci-fi design, the groundwork is being laid for a hangar large enough to store spaceships between launchings.

This is not a secret government project, or some NASA reception hall for alien dignitaries. This is Spaceport America, a $198 million endeavor by the State of New Mexico to plumb the commercial potential of the suborbital heavens — a place once known only to astronauts, dreamers and the occasional chimp.

This is clearly not a development strategy that could work for just any rural place. The weather (rain is rare) and terrain (flat!) apparently make this part of southern New Mexico an ideal place for this endeavor.

1 comment:

jerry said...

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