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Are you worried about Rocketplane?


Officials with the state agency regulating Oklahoma's space industry say they are not concerned about Rocketplane's funding woes and are hopeful things will work out. Ken McGil...

By Scott Cooper July 12th, 2007

Officials with the state agency regulating Oklahoma's space industry say they are not concerned about Rocketplane's funding woes and are hopeful things will work out.

Ken McGill, a member of the Oklahoma Space Industry Development Authority, told Oklahoma Gazette he has no worries about Rocketplane.

"I am fully aware of the situation and way things are going," he said.

In recent months, reports in the Gazette and other aerospace publications indicate the company, whose investors received an $18 million tax credit from the state, experienced setbacks. Among the issues:

  • layoffs of employees including Chief Technical Officer David Urie.
  • failing to meet a funding deadline as part of the orbital subsidiary's $207 million NASA contract.
  • diverting funds from Rocketplane's suborbital subsidiary to its orbital subsidiary.

Questions arose about the diverted funds since the company received $18 million in state taxpayer money to help build a suborbital tourism ship.

"George French told me it was his personal money that was diverted," McGill said of Rocketplane Chairman George French.

OSIDA Executive Director Bill Khourie said he is hopeful Rocketplane will speed up its operation.

"We're excited and want everyone to be successful," he said. "But as for scheduling, time lines will change. You have to be realistic, but we're optimistic."

However, McGill said he would be concerned if Rocketplane showed no signs of progress by the end of the year.

Should the state be concerned about its $18 million tax-credit investment? - Scott Cooper

More Rocketplane coverage:

Ex-Rocketplane chief engineer says funding diverted from tourism vehicle
Rocketplane lays off manager, seeks $500 million
Rocketplane responds
Texas rocket leaves Oklahoma soil, returns
Rocketplane beat to launch by Texas company
Another rocket company ready to do business with state

 
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