Vote by Pima Co. paves way for 'Spaceport Tucson'

Vote by Pima Co. paves way for 'Spaceport Tucson'

TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) - The Pima County Board of Supervisors voted Tuesday, Jan. 19 in favor of helping a space exploration company in Tucson to get off the ground.

The vote was followed by a press release from World View Enterprises announcing that Tucson will be home to the company's global headquarters, conducting launches from "Spaceport Tucson."

After the board's 4-1 vote that approved a bond sale for a $15 million loan to the company, that hope is closer to becoming reality.

The loan will be repaid through lease payments and other upfront incentives.

District 1 Supervisor Ally Miller cast the one vote in opposition.

The program would take customers 100,000 feet in the air by balloon.

The $15 million would be used to build the World View world headquarters on 28 acres on Tucson's southeast side. Florida and New Mexico both offered incentives to lure the company out of southern Arizona.

According to the agreement, the total cost of the planned facility is estimated to be $15 million - $14.5 million for the manufacturing and administrative building and $500,000 for the space port.

The company hopes to have a payroll of 500 high-paying jobs in Pima County in the next few year as space tourism heats up.

The cost of a five-hour trip to near space will be $75,000 and company officials said it has a list of people and families who have already paid a deposit for the trip.

The people will be taken on the journey inside a capsule by a large balloon. The capsule can hold up to six.

The capsule will have 360-degree views, which will allow patrons to view the curvature of the earth, something which up to now, has been generally seen only by astronauts.

Pima County is hoping to hold on to the space exploration company to help anchor the planned tech park on the southeast side near Raytheon.

World View officials said it has contracts with NASA and Northrup Grumman, and has already carried payloads for both.

It has also tested its balloon and capsule up to 120,000 feet.

To read more about the World View experience, visit: http://tucsonne.ws/1Qa5scU

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