Ear to the ground

“Wow, I need to get into the free newspaper business.”

– A faithful Telegraph reader after seeing a delivery driver in a borrowed Audi convertible

A Virgin launch

The countdown has officially begun in New Mexico. Spaceport America, a $198 million launchpad near Truth or Consequences, has celebrated another milestone and could be shooting space tourists skyward as early as 2011.

Spaceport America was conceived by the State of New Mexico as a way to capitalize on space travel. The facility will launch private payloads into the upper atmosphere and eventually delve into space tourism and “Rocket Racing.” In line with this vision, entrepreneur Richard Branson announced late in 2005 that his space tourism company, Virgin Galactic, will relocate its headquarters to New Mexico. Someday, space tourists will be able to fly Virgin Galactic to a height of 80 miles and experience 5 minutes of weightlessness (“guaranteed”). The ticket price? A mere $200,000.

In late March, Virgin Galactic got closer to reaping the benefits of the heavens, when its commercial manned spaceship, VSS Enterprise, completed its first “captive carry” test flight. The ship has been built to carry six fare-paying passengers on sub-orbital space flights, and the flight marked a major milestone in an exhaustive testing program.

The VSS Enterprise tests will continue into 2011, progressing from captive carry to independent glide and then powered flight. Commercial operations will begin following the program’s successful conclusion.

Virgin Galactic has already collected nearly $45 million in deposits for spaceflight reservations, and more than 330 people have committed to blasting off from the Land of Enchantment.

‘Treme’-ndous debut

Another native son heads off to the big time this week. This Sunday, Durango’s Ian Hoch makes his television acting debut in HBO’s new series “Treme.” Hoch is the son of the already famous Greg Hoch, Durango’s City Planner.

“Treme” has received “a groundswell of favorable reviews” and tells the story of rebirth and revival in flood-ravaged New Orleans following Hurricane Katrina. Ian Hoch is currently a New Orleans resident and a 2002 graduate of Mona Wood-Patterson’s Troupe 1096 at Durango High School, featured in the Durango Telegraph’s March 14 edition.

“Treme” shows at 8 p.m. on Sun., April 11. Durangoans unfamiliar with southern Louisiana’s distinctive patois should strongly consider clicking the “closed captions” button on their remotes. “You’d be amazed how expensive ‘wellness’ can be.”




In this week's issue...

July 21, 2022
Wildlife success or deal with the devil?

Land swap approved in Southwest Colorado, but not without detractors

July 21, 2022
Tapping out

The latest strategy to save the San Luis Valley's shrinking aquifer: paying farmers not to farm

July 14, 2022
Hey, good environmental news

Despite SCOTUS ruling, San Juan Generating Station plans to shut down