The number of proposed commercial spaceports in the US has now dropped by one. Last night county commissioners in Brazoria County, Texas, south of Houston, voted 4-1 to dissolve the Gulf Coast Regional Spaceport Development Corp., a county-chartered organization that had planned to develop a spaceport along the Gulf Coast. The corporation had been commissioned in 2000 but had made only modest progress, such as the development of a small launch pad for high-powered amateur rockets on land leased from the Dow Corporation. To be fair, though, for much of the time since 2000 the industry had been in the doldrums after the collapse of the commercial launch market and the failure of a number of RLV ventures. Still, this effort had been unable to attract much attention from the new generation of commercial space ventures, which have instead flocked to Oklahoma, New Mexico, and California.
Besides the lack of luck attracting business, the spaceport also had considerable opposition from local residents who lived near the site, as well as others who thought its location next to a wildlife preserve was inappropriate (nevermind that the Kennedy Space Center coexists with the Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge.) Commissioners who voted to terminate the spaceport efforts were in the end frustrated with the lack of progress, according to the Houston Chronicle. “They just sat there and sat there and studied it,” said Joe King.