ìNot just for UFO crackpots anymoreî

New Mexico has always been a bit spacey. But now Governor Bill Richardson is going in a slightly different direction. He’s getting into the private space flight groove by bringing a big event to his state:

“Countdown to the X Prize Cup” will include X Prize Cup team demonstrations, an exhibition, the largest-ever space education day and space-related community events statewide, Richardson said. X Prize Cup week throughout the state will also be in October, he said. “New Mexico continues to take the lead in advancing the next generation of space vehicles and space travelers,” Richardson said. “This year’s Countdown to X Prize Cup is the important first step in creating an event that will not only assist in opening the space frontier to all private citizens, but will bring new companies, provide new jobs, increase tourism statewide, and help brand New Mexico as the place to be to experience the future.” … The X Prize was the second biggest story of 2004 nationally, said Rorie Hanrahan, communications director for the New Mexico Economic Development Department during a New Mexico Space Alliance meeting in Alamogordo April 2. “The good thing is there is lots of excitement,” Hanrahan said. “It’s a boost to tourism. We are on the cutting edge. This is the next generation in space commercialization.”

Here’s my take on growing jobs in space. And here’s my recent interview with X Prize winner, Burt Rutan, who reminds us that private space travel isn’t first about creating jobs, it’s about fun.