The uncertainty about the future of Rick Homans as executive director of Spaceport America, as discussed here earlier this week, appears to be over. The Las Cruces Sun-News reports Wednesday that Homans has tendered his resignation, effective Friday. Homans, speaking at an emergency meeting of the spaceport’s board, said that he had been informed last week by Susana Martinez, who became governor of New Mexico on Saturday, that he had to either resign or be fired. Homans had served in the administration of the previous governor, Bill Richardson, a Democrat; Martinez is a Republican. “I understand politics, and I also understand how critical it is for her to have absolute trust and confidence in the executive leadership of the New Mexico Spaceport Authority,” Homans said, according to the report.
It’s not clear what the board’s plans are for replacing Homans, on an interim or permanent basis. It’s also not clear what the current board’s own future is: while only the spaceport’s board has the power to hire or fire the executive director, the board itself could be replaced by the new governor. The uncertainty comes at a time when the spaceport is seeking to expand the roster of companies doing business there, a move endorsed in a recent Sun-News editorial, but questions about both the spaceport’s management and the commitment to it by the state government could cause some companies to think twice, at least for now.