In an interview with Human Events early in June, McDonnell committed to continuing support and development of the Wallops Island Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport (MARS):
[Jed Babbin]: One of the things you mentioned in your speech was also a little bit out of the ordinary. You said you wanted to build an east coast spaceport in Virginia. Why? How are you going to do that? What does it mean for the state?
[Bob McDonnell]: Well, we’ve got the start of that already at Wallops Island, Virginia. We’ve got a spaceport that we’ve actually just teamed up with Maryland that just got its first major contract from Orbital Technologies, a $1.6 billion contract to launch satellites over the next couple of years. We competed with Cape Canaveral and won. It’s a tremendous victory for Virginia space travel. I think in the future, we all know, that space exploration and satellites and technology is going to be a tremendous source of economic activity in the future. I want to be at the cutting edge of that. We’ve got a start already. I know there are some things to do to boost state support of that, to help them with more research and development, to help them get more contracts. If we do that, I think it has enormous possibilities for jobs and new revenues to come to Virginia. That’s one of our great assets: We’re going to continue to make it better.
Fast forward to this evening when Deeds also came out with his plan for the Space Port…
Sen. Deeds is committed to:
- MARS and efforts to expand commercial space flight operations from Wallops, including providing state funding to support the base operations of MARS.
- Enter into a new Memorandum of Agreement with Maryland to continue the multi-state cooperative arrangement that has been critical to the success of MARS.
- Work closely with Senators Warner and Webb and federal officials to attract new aerospace industries and jobs to MARS.
- Pursue opportunities to expand spaceport tourism and other ancillary services to create more jobs and enhance the economic benefits of MARS.
But why the release and why now?
Perhaps this is the reason:
Thursday, August 13, 2009
10:30am Press Conference with Bob McDonnell
*Additional details will be released on Wednesday, August 12
*Prior to the press event Bob McDonnell will tour Wallops Island Space Port; this is closed press
Once again, McDonnell has already launched while Deeds is just rolling out to the pad.