The Midland Development Corp. is the organization tasked with spending tax money to draw industries to Midland, Texas, in an effort to diversify the local economy and wean it away from its dependence on the oil business.
Their most widely acknowledged effort so far was the securing of an agreement with Xcor to get them to locate a facility in Midland which would ultimately launch low orbit flights for space tourists in a small aircraft. A cute plastic facsimile of the aircraft was built for display.
The city got tons of free publicity for that. And that notoriety was the payoff, although many didn't recognize at the time that the publicity was, in fact, the payoff. Xcor has gone through some restructuring, and the space craft idea is in limbo.
Now we learn that the MDC is putting more money into the prospect of a space program in the form of a grant of $3 million for building a Spaceport Business Park. Boy, talk about optimistic.
The private space business is highly competitive, and there are some big name entrepreneurs involved with the competition. And they seem to be doing quite well in the news making department.
But if attention is what the MDC is seeking, it has been only moderately successful as the headline writers in the national press are more focused on the aforementioned competition.
All this brings to mind the movie "Field of Dreams" which spawned the phrase, "Build it and they will come." Many a developer has probably repeated that line. But does it work? I don't know.
But go back a little farther in history and we find Cargo Cults of South Pacific islands whereby natives built primitive airports complete with airplanes built from sticks and twigs to attract real airplanes loaded with cargo.
So is that what we're doing? Well, we've got a plastic model. The last time I saw it it was parked in a hanger. It needs to be out in the open as a decoy to attract a real space craft.