"A Bridge to Everywhere"
Dr. George C. Nield, Sierra County, NM
June 19, 2009

Groundbreaking Ceremony for Spaceport America

Thank you for the opportunity to participate in this historic event.

In this place that, for now, seems so far from anywhere, we are taking the next step toward building a bridge to everywhere.

This is a very special kind of groundbreaking. Because today, not only are we quite literally turning the earth — turning the soil — of New Mexico, we are also at the same time helping to turn the attention of the planet itself toward a new era in human spaceflight.

The journeys that begin here will take private citizens to places they have never been, and will transform New Mexico into one of our nation’s gateways to space.

New Mexico will do these things in partnership with Virgin Galactic. It will not be the first time that gifted visionaries of the United Kingdom have been touched by the promise of this great state.

As many of you know, the British author, D.H. Lawrence came to New Mexico in the 1920s and loved it so much he made it his final resting place. It was during one of his visits, that he wrote this:

“In the magnificent fierce morning of New Mexico the old world gave way to a new.”

Those are powerful words. And there is a lot of truth in them.

Here on this spot, on a magnificent day, New Mexico is helping to create a new world. What happens here will refresh the imagination of both young and old and set the course to a new horizon for 21st Century commerce.

But in this case, the so-called “old world” with its traditions and history is not giving way to anything.

The great spirit of adventure, the hard work, and the devotion to dreams that fill New Mexico’s history, those “old” values are not going anywhere. They are, instead, enriching the quest for commercial human space flight, merging the finest of New Mexico’s character with the highest hopes of us all.

Space flight is not easy and it is not without risk. All of us here know how hard it is. But all of us here are determined to do it.

So to the people of New Mexico — dreamers and builders alike; and to the men and women of Virgin Galactic — dreamers and builders alike; I offer you the best wishes of the FAA and all of us at the Office of Commercial Space Transportation.

The nation expects you to do this well. We are confident that future generations will be very pleased with the outcome.

Thank you.