New Mexico spaceport officials have approved a $7 million extension of the Spaceport America runway by about 600 meters to address safety concerns from Virgin Galactic, the Las Cruces (N.M.) Sun-News reports.

Virgin Galactic, which plans to offer suborbital spaceflights for tourists launching from Spaceport America in 2013, recently told officials that the heat and wind there would restrict the company’s ability to operate safely year-round, according to Rick Holdridge, chairman of the New Mexico Spaceport Authority.

Holdridge said the authority assigned one of its members, former NASA astronaut Sid Gutierrez, to check into whether the proposed extension of the 3,000-meter runway was merited, and he concluded it was.