A speedbump for Rocket Racing

The city of Las Cruces and the Rocket Racing League have salvaged a lease agreement for property the league is developing at the New Mexico city’s airport. The Las Cruces Sun-News reports that the city council approved an alternative lease agreement Monday that requires the RRL to prepay its leases in the next 45 days and complete construction on the six hangars it plans to build there by the end of September. The previous lease agreement required that two of the hangars be completed by January 15, a deadline unlikely to be met because of a dispute with building inspectors on firewalls within the hangars, which are 80 percent complete. The article adds that the RRL waited until last week to make $12,000 in lease payments on the property that had been due on May 1. A “contrite-sounding” Granger Whitelaw, RRL’s CEO, apologized to council members by phone and promised better communications between his company and the city in the future. The article doesn’t give any updates on the RRL’s plans for exhibition or competitive racing in 2009, but does note the pledge made last October by the state to provide $3 million to develop infrastructure at the airport for the suborbital vehicles Rocket Racing will be developing in a joint venture with Armadillo Aerospace.

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