Anyone who has been following the status of Rocketplane Global for some time knows the company has run into major difficulties because of problems raising money. (See this video interview with Rocketplane’s Chuck Lauer from the Space Access ’09 conference earlier this year.) But the company is getting renewed media attention recently, particularly in Oklahoma, because of its current situation. The Oklahoma Gazette reported earlier this month that the company moved out of its Oklahoma City offices in February. With most of its employees laid off, the company is now operating out of Wisconsin, where company president George French lives.
This has generated a bit of a backlash in Oklahoma because the company moved there in 2004 to take advantage of tax credits offered by the state (something the company has previous dubbed “winning the ‘O-Prize’”). One state legislator, David Dank, told Tulsa TV station KOTV it was an “absolute sin” that the company had effectively abandoned the state. Lauer responded to the same TV station that the company was in “suspended animation until we get more money” and when that happened they would return to the state. (Back at Space Access Lauer estimated that they needed “well north of $100 million” of additional funding for Rocketplane Global.) Dank is unconvinced: “I don’t think they ever intended to launch a space craft from Oklahoma.”