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Sen. Wyland on California’s space industry: “We simply cannot compete.” (And I’m live from San Diego Space Society’s Comic Con panel)

July 22, 2010 - 12:21 pm

To download the audio from the San Diego Space Society’s Comic Con panel, click here.

In this week’s print edition, I outline the latest developments in the California space industry. One thing that came up is how the California Space Authority, the organization that was supposed to promote the aerospace industry for the state but hasn’t been funded (at least not by the  California legislature ) for some time.

What I wasn’t able to fit into the story is how California risks losing aerospace business: A major corporation, Northrop Grumman is moving its headquarters to the east coast and, of course, New Mexico scored Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic to fly out of its Spaceport America (even though Branson’s spacecrafts are built in California).

State Senator Mark Wyland, a local legislator who serves as vice chair of the Senate committee on Business, Professions and Economic Development, sent us this statement a few hours after deadline.

California businesses are overregulated and suffer from a lack of business-friendly policies coming from Sacramento. Without a doubt this significantly impacts the emerging space industry as investment flows to more business friendly environments. California doesn’t do enough to encourage growth within the space industry, especially when compared to other states. Take New Mexico, which has rolled out the red carpet for the space industry, allowing state financing to be used to construct a space port for the future of the industry, and the best California can do is hold a few seminars. We simply cannot compete.

The space industry’s struggles are another example of why California desperately needs to streamline excessive regulations that are often a major cause of business relocation and job creation in other states.

I’m writing this live from a conference room at the San Diego Convention Center, where the San Diego Space Society is hosting their Comic Con panel, “Iron Man and Rocket Men: Is Stark Industries an Appropriate Model for Private-Industry Space Exploration.” The panelists are optimistic, with most agreeing that private industry will lead the way, as long as they’re heavily funded by the government.

What was controversial is the future of NASA.

“The dumbest guys I knew were applying for jobs at NASA,” said John Hunter of Quicklaunch, a Mojave-based company working on a “space cannon,” who argued that NASA really ain’t all that, accusing them of creating “bogeymans” to justify their budget but lack of innovation.

Dave Rankin, co-founder of the San Diego branch of the Mars Society, quickly defended NASA to the cheers of the audience.

One thing the panel agreed: NASA’s rovers rock.

To download the audio from the San Diego Space Society’s Comic Con panel, click here.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. pistoleropete permalink
    July 22, 2010 - 9:54 pm 9:54 pm

    California is about as relevent to space travel as it is to major league sports. In other words, it’s not.

    • pistoleropete permalink
      July 24, 2010 - 9:51 pm 9:51 pm

      I was thinking of this post the other day and I meant to apologize to the fans of sports teams that have actually won something significant. I’m sorry. When I first replied to this, I was thinking the story was about San Diego’s space industry.

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