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Efforts to boost space ventures fizzle out

Image: Blue Origin crew capsule
Engineers work on a crew capsule at Blue Origin’s factory in Kent, Wash. (Credit: Blue Origin)

Two measures that would have lent a hand to Washington state’s fledgling space industry have been stalled in committee and aren’t likely to win approval during the state Legislature’s current session, the bills’ sponsor said March 9.

“We’re having such a tough time with the budget” that the space-related measures appear likely to go by the wayside this year, even though they’ve enjoyed bipartisan support, said state Rep. Jeff Morris, D-Mount Vernon.

One of the bills, HB 2434, would have created a space exploration center to boost Washington industry. That bill is stuck in House Appropriations Committee.

The other bill, HB 2226, would have let spacecraft manufacturers enjoy tax incentives that are similar to those currently offered to Washington’s airplane manufacturers, as in the Boeing Co. That bill didn’t make it out of the House Finance Committee.

HB 2226’s fate could have an impact on where Blue Origin, the space venture founded by Amazon billionaire Jeff Bezos, decides to locate a future manufacturing facility for its BE-4 rocket engine.

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By Alan Boyle

Mastermind of Cosmic Log, contributing editor at GeekWire, author of "The Case for Pluto: How a Little Planet Made a Big Difference," president of the Council for the Advancement of Science Writing. Check out "About Alan Boyle" for more fun facts.

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