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APNewsBreak: $7M spaceport runway extension OK'd

APNewsBreak: NM spaceport board approves $7M runway extension to meet Virgin Galactic needs By The Associated Press

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) ' The nearly two-mile-long runway at Spaceport America in southern New Mexico will have to be extended to accommodate Virgin Galactic's sleek rocket-powered spacecraft.

New Mexico Spaceport Authority board members have voted to extend the runway by another 2,000 feet after test flights and simulations done by Virgin Galactic determined more room would be needed under certain circumstances.

The commercial space line, backed by British billionaire Richard Branson, has been developing and testing its craft and rocket engines in California. The company will be the anchor tenant at Spaceport America.

Spaceport spokesman David Wilson says the extension will cost $7 million. Money will be reassigned within the spaceport's $209 million budget to absorb the cost.

It will take between six and eight months to design the runway extension. Virgin Galactic has said commercial flights are at least a year away.

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