SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — Officials at Spaceport America are asking state lawmakers double their funding for the spaceflights launch facility in southern New Mexico. The Santa Fe New Mexican reports Spaceport America officials are seeking the additional money to prepare for the regular flights Virgin Galactic spaceflight company is looking to start up in the near future. They say they recognize their request comes as the state has made several painful budget cuts and after years of failing to send people to space. Officials point out that NASA has ended its shuttle program, creating an opportunity for New Mexico to become a competitor in the growing spaceflight industry. Spaceport America CEO Dan Hicks said Thursday that the money will cover maintenance costs and new hires.