Branson appealed to keep Homans’ job

The turmoil surrounding the management of Spaceport America in New Mexico has been relatively quiet the last couple of weeks, after the resignation of executive director Rick Homans at the insistence of the new governor, followed by the dismissal of the spaceport’s board of directors early this month. That situation is still in flux, the Las Cruces Sun-News reports this weekend, based on an interview with new Governor Susana Martinez. She tells the paper that there will be a “sense of urgency” (in the newspaper’s words) in filling the board and executive director positions, which remain vacant.

One revelation in the article is that Sir Richard Branson personally appealed to Gov. Martinez in a phone call to keep Homans on as executive director. Martinez, though, said she went ahead with plans to ask Homans to leave because she needed to better understand the current situation with the spaceport, including its contract with Virgin Galactic, and was finding it difficult to get those details. “What we want to do is get a hold of the contract (with Virgin Galactic) and make sure we know what the long-term commitment is financially,” she told the Sun-News. “They have not been very willing to share the very hard data of what is the state’s commitment long-term.”


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