Al Gore won the popular vote and George Bush won the Electoral College. Electoral College is the institution that elects the President of the United States. There are currently 538 members of Congress, therefore, 538 Electoral votes. New Mexico has 5 members of Congress, therefore 5 Electoral votes. The Electors in the State of New Mexico are chosen by our State Legislature. By State Law our 5 Electors are required to vote for the person winning the popular vote. Therefore, in New Mexico, your vote counts, so please vote next Tuesday.
I have been reading Steve Forbes’ book, The Freedom Manifesto. Bill Gates, Paul Allen, Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak started Microsoft and Apple respectively in very humble circumstances. Forbes indicates these guys were not considered global visionaries until just recently. Like some of the entrepreneurs who were just in our city for the International Symposium for Personal and Commercial Spaceflight, they created millions of jobs over the last 20 years. A necessary key to success for innovators is a free market environment.
We, the citizens of New Mexico have embarked on the journey of establishing the commercial space transportation’s single most significant catalyst in the sub-orbital market. It’s Spaceport America, owned by the State of New Mexico, just like the airport in Albuquerque is owned by the State of New Mexico. Millions of dollars accrue to the city of Albuquerque because that airport is in its city limits. Boeing and Intel have huge plants in Albuquerque, in part, because of that airport. It is a transportation hub. Spaceport America is positioned to be an analog incubator to the space transportation industry as was Silicon Valley to the digital computer industry. We must help our legislators understand, enabling our industry to move forward by supporting protection of suppliers is necessary. Federal laboratory contractors, including those at WSMR and NASA WSTF are protected by the federal government. No protection would mean no labs and no contractors in New Mexico. Spaceport America like the airport in Albuquerque are state owned. Federal legislation eventually was enacted to protect the aviation business. When new industries start they push boundaries. If regulators or State Legislators push back too hard early on, business stops.
Steve Jobs’ father was Syrian. A recent blogger from Syria reported if Steve Jobs lived in Syria, Apple would never have started because the government kept innovation suppressed. Our State Legislature is being asked to support the evolution of human commercial space transportation in our state. If they push back like they have with failing to pass the Informed Consent legislation again this year, we, the citizens of New Mexico will be the losers.
Let’s consider a balanced approach. Spaceport America is already built. Who benefits from its operations? Not the rich, they pay to come to New Mexico, they will stay here, eat, drive, and spend. The residual impact of this business goes to the hotels, the restaurants, the rental car industry, the university and public school science, engineering and mathematics students and teachers, and workers, we are the beneficiaries.
Remember the Russian physicist who derived the rocket equation I discussed two articles ago? Tsiolkovsky wrote shortly before his death, “All my life I have dreamed that by my work mankind would at least be advanced a little.” He lived under a strict Communist economic regime until his death in 1935. He never had the chance to use his talents for commercial or even social good. I ran across this quote when I visited the Seattle Museum of Flight last week. His picture was right next to Robert Goddard’s picture. They were both visionaries, they both wanted to live to see mankind go to space. We are the ones, New Mexicans, who can foster the realization of the dream of many humans to go to space. It is not the dream of rich people. It is the dream of mankind to go to the stars and to explore and learn about the unknown. Humans must go to space. Not just robotic rovers and spacecraft.
There are many types of freedom, with each comes responsibility. In a Democracy, we must be educated to keep our Democracy relevant. We must vote because we want a voice in how we are governed. In free markets, we vote with our dollars. In these economic times, we need innovators who are partners with government, not dependent on government for survival. Spaceport America is being developed to be just this type of partnership.