New Mexico

30 megawatts of power on a flat bed trailer

Submitted by acohill on Wed, 10/08/2008 - 09:04

New Mexico continues to roar far ahead of the rest of the country with a wide ranging mix of game-changing economic development strategies. The state seems to be successfully attracting the brightest and best entrepreneurs and businesspeople in the country, and economic developers in the state are greasing the skids with investments in space, energy, and entertainment.

The latest news out of New Mexico is a firm called Hyperion Power Generation that has licensed nuclear power technology from Los Alamos National Labs. The company has designed a 30 megawatt nuclear power plant that can be delivered by tractor trailer--one tractor trailer--for the basic reactor component.

The system uses a form of nuclear fuel that self-limits the amount of heat generated, and the basic design is so safe that the technology has been licensed by the Federal government for unattended operation. The firm plans to manufacture 4,000 of the version 1 design, and expects to be able to deliver them in less than twelve months from receipt of an order.

SpaceShipTwo is booking passengers

Submitted by acohill on Fri, 09/29/2006 - 06:28

As I wrote recently, a lot of my readers just think that the whole Space Economy thing is a litte goofy. But Virgin Galactic has rolled out images of its new sub-orbital space ship, and is already booking seats. Two hundred thousand dollars gets you a two and one half hour trip to the edge of space--about 68 miles above the earth. Pasengers will be weightless long enough to get queasy and/or enjoy the view; the ship will have plenty of windows. Test flights of the system will begin in 2008, and passengers will be lifting off in 2009. And New Mexico's Space Economy is roaring along, and the whole state's economy is being lifted--no pun intended.

New Mexico SpacePort blasts off

Submitted by acohill on Mon, 09/25/2006 - 09:38

When I first began writing about spaceports two years ago, I got a lot of eyerolling in response. Some economic developers really questioned whether this was something to take seriously. But in just two short years, New Mexico is well on the way to turning the entire economy of the state around.

New Mexico's first commercial space launch will take place this week. Big deal, you say? Nine more are already scheduled for the next year, and the Space Economy is already pumping millions into the state economy. Virgin Galactic plans to use the spaceport for commercial flights that will provide space tourism opportunities in comfortable spaceplanes built by Bert Rutan.

The space stuff is fun, but it is not really the point. A few years ago, by nearly every measure, New Mexico was one of the poorest states in the country. By taking a look at their assets, they determined the one thing they had plenty of--wide open, flat spaces--was good for space industries. They then picked up the ball and ran with it, investing consistently and staying on track, even though a lot of people doubted them. And it is now beginning to pay off.

How about your region? Have you identified your strategic assets and built a plan around a *future* economy--space, energy, knowledge, agriculture? Are you executing consistently, with thoughtful, year after year investments to make the right things happen? If not, why not?

New Mexico reforms voting systems

Submitted by acohill on Fri, 03/03/2006 - 14:02

New Mexico has enacted a new voting law that requires all counties in the state to use a single, uniform balloting system. You might think it involves buying a lot of the new electronic touch panel voting machines.

Instead, the entire state will use.....paper.

Voters will mark their choices on a paper ballot that will then be fed into an electronic vote counting machine. In the event of discrepancies or disputes, the paper ballots can be easily counted and verified.

Good for New Mexico. There is just too much risk with the all electronic machines that have been shown to have problems with trivial spoofing of vote tallies and other bugs in the systems.

Has New Mexico won the space race?

Submitted by acohill on Wed, 12/14/2005 - 15:31

The last time I checked, there were four or five states (including my home state of Virginia) that were toying with the idea of a spaceport. But New Mexico may have won the first race (there will be more than one spaceport in the country).

Virgin Atlantic has signed a $225 million dollar deal with New Mexico to build a spaceport in southern New Mexico. The spaceport is expected to attract hundreds of millions of dollars of additional private investment and to bring thousands of jobs to what may be the poorest part of one of the poorest states in the U.S.

New Mexico drove a stake in the ground several years ago in this area. Instead of wringing its hands and complaining about how bad things were, the state looked around, identified its assets (in this case, a government research facility and a lot of flat, sandy land), and said, in effect, "We've got lemons. Let's make some lemonade."

I will venture to say few took the effort seriously, but New Mexico stuck to its plan, worked hard to attract aerospace companies, and kept its eye on the ball. This is probably the biggest thing to happen to the state since it became a state. And it will transform the economy of the entire state.

Boldness and vision, managed correctly, can have a big payoff. How about economic developers in your region? Is there boldness and vision in your region's economic development strategy?

Southwest Regional Spaceport to host X Prize Cup

Submitted by acohill on Wed, 05/12/2004 - 07:46

The Southwest Regional Spaceport in New Mexico has been chosen to host the two week long X Cup competition. The X Cup is a $10 million prize that will given to the team that successfully launches a suborbital spacecraft twice in two weeks.

Regular readers know that I am very bullish on the emerging Space Economy, which will hit full stride in about twenty years. New Mexico, which by many measures, is one of the poorest and most disadvantaged states in the U.S., has its eyes firmly on the future. Does your state have an Office of Space Commercialization? New Mexico does, and won in the bidding against Florida, which would appear to have all the advantages.

Is the Space Economy going to be the salvation of rural communities everywhere? Of course not. But New Mexico has created a vision of what it wants to be in the future and the kinds of opportunities it wants to create for its citizens, and is acting on it. I think it will succeed.

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