Spaceport America

Source: New Mexico Spaceport Authority

LAS CRUCES, NM – The New Mexico Spaceport Authority (NMSA) will be issuing a Request for Proposal (RFP) on July 12 seeking bids for a contractor to provide regular sightseeing tours of the Spaceport America facilities and construction jobsite to the public. The NMSA wants to start regular weekend tour service as early as September 1, 2010. Prospective bidders are encouraged to obtain details from the RFP section of the spaceport website at
Presently, members of the public can sign up for “Hard Hat Tours” of Spaceport America online at These tours are provided on an ‘as-needed’ basis. Under the proposed RFP, tours will be conducted every Friday, Saturday and Sunday with clearly defined operational schedules. NMSA Executive Director Rick Homans said, “These tours are unique in that they provide extraordinary public access to an active construction site. By following safety constraints and working with the contractors, visitors can watch as Spaceport America takes shape.”
For more Spaceport America RFP/ITB information, please consult the General Services Department, New Mexico State Purchasing Division website at:

Construction of Spaceport America is proceeding as scheduled. Since construction began in August 2009, more than 600 construction jobs have been created, with more on the way. Spaceport America has been working closely with leading aerospace firms such as Virgin Galactic, Lockheed Martin, Moog- FTS, and UP Aerospace to develop commercial spaceflight at the new facility. The launches, tourism and construction at the spaceport are already delivering on the promise of economic impact to the people of New Mexico.
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(For additional information and images of Spaceport America go to

A former Michigan auto worker bailed on Motor City(i.e. Detroit)  to purse  Space Dreams in New Mexico. I think it’s awesome that this individual took a chance to pursue his dream. I wish him well.

Kentucky based Space space start-up Nanoracks ” flew its second payload on STS-132″ which is currently docked at the Space Station  according to David Anderman, spokesperson for Nanoracks, LLC. Nanoracks develops  research modules to  be used  for space research on the Station.*Nanoracks was featured on 62MileClub’s April 7th video and blog.

It’s a coup for any company to have a payload on one of the last shuttle flights Nanoracks on the previous one along with the current one. Nanoracks is trailblazer in pioneering access to the International Space Station.

*Source: From Constellation Services’ David Anderman

As an  FYI, Nanoracks LLC, a NewSpace company, flew its second payload on STS-132. This new payload, identical to the first Nanoracks module flown on STS-131, will be installed inside the International Space Station over the next few days. Each Nanoracks host module can accommodate up to 16 CubeLab experiments, which utilize the CubeSat standard bus, making it easier for developers to access ISS for space research. Nanoracks, and its partner KentuckySpace, have sold 5 slots to commercial and educational users aboard ISS, with several more potential customers in the pipeline.

As I write this note, we have the U.S. Space Shuttle Atlantis orbiting the Earth as a part of its last scheduled mission. We’re patiently anticipating the maiden flight of SPACE X’s Falcon 9 which ought to be noted is a test flight. There are several other news items which although might not make the national headlines, are wins for the New Space. They also keep me bullish on this sector’s future.

Faces of Space member, George T. Whitesides, was named Virgin Galactic‘s new Chief Executive Office. He previously served  as Chief of Staff for NASA and was previously the Executive Director for the National Space Society,a leading space advocacy non profit. George is one of next

George T. Whitesides

generation space leaders who are making helping make space more accessible.

Rick Homans,  was named by Governor Bill Richardson to serve as the Chairman of the New Mexico Spaceport Authority.  He served as the Spaceport’s first  Chairman from 2005-2007. His acceptance of this position and second term reaffirms my belief that this Spaceport could have a strong future.

Rick Homans

Taking into consideration that Homans already served as Spaceport Chairman, he could have decline to serve a second time  had he though the Spaceport would be unsuccessful. Also, Homans led the effort to recruit Virgin Galactic as a tenant for Spaceport America.
To date, the New Mexico Spaceport has created 600 direct construction jobs and 1,200 indirect jobs according to a email from A Spaceport America (i.e. New Mexico Spaceport) Newsletter.

ARFF Dome Construction @ Spaceport America in New Mexico

I view the above announcements as positive signs for commercial space industry.

In case you missed Friday’s launch of the U.S. Space Shuttle Atlantis, below are several videos of the launch.

Yesterday, I was visiting an early stage business who just moved into new offices adjacent to a busy, general aviation airport. I learned that one family controls most of the land surrounding the airport. Tenants include everything from corporate air charters to health care related businesses. The diversity of businesses there is impressive.

Will spaceports attract land speculators? They probably already do; especially in places near Spaceport America. Some might sit on their land while others might develop facilities and businesses  that they believe will  benefit from being near a spaceport. Several years ago, I looked at real estate investment opportunities near an existing spaceport, but opted not to invest. However, I know others who have invested in land near other spaceports. It’s another way to be involved with New Space. Will a new wave of real estate development  emerge based on these terrestrial space dreamers? Time will tell.

If you’ve invested in land or a related development at or near a spaceport, we’d love to hear from you.

Spaceport Resources

Related links

  • Event @X PRIZE  Foundation this Friday, April 30. All are invited.
  • May 4th Student Space launch in New Mexico – Public welcome to attend after approved registration.
  • Space Investment Summit 8, Chicago, May 26, 2010.
  • Space Shuttle Atlantis’ last scheduled flight scheduled for May 14, 2010.
  • Space X’s Falcon 9 debut flight scheduled for May 8th, 2010.

9 years ago today, Dennis Tito, became the first self-funded private space traveler. Happy Space Tourism Day!

Source: Press Release
MARCH 30, 2010


LAS CRUCES – As part of New Mexico Space Grant Consortium’s mission to promote space programs and education to New Mexico students and educators, the second annual Education Launch will take place at 8 a.m. Saturday, May 1 from Spaceport America. Along with carrying experiments designed and created by New Mexico students into space, the SL-4 launch vehicle will also be dedicated to the memory of a Farmington science and technology teacher who died of breast cancer in 2005.

New Mexico Space Grant Consortium Director Dr. Patricia Hynes said, “The promise of a new commercial space industry has created an increased interest in technology and science programs in New Mexico classrooms. The Education Launch gives our students the ability to launch their experiments into space, which is something that inspires visionary educators like Debbie Prell.”

Debbie Prell was a physics teacher at Farmington High School when she became involved with the New Mexico Space Grant Consortium’s Education Launch program. She worked with her students to build high-powered model rockets and electronic payloads for many years. She later taught physics at San Juan College in Farmington and continued to work with the New Mexico Space Grant Consortium to offer scholarships to her students, and worked on weekend science programs for middle- and high-school students. Debbie died of breast cancer in 2005, and her family, friends and students established the Deborah Ann Prell Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) Endowment to continue her work.

“The New Mexico Space Grant Consortium is proud to have had Debbie Prell as a partner, and we are continuing her work through her endowment,” said Dr. Patricia Hynes. “Working with UP Aerospace, which is providing the SL-4 launch vehicle for this launch, we are dedicating this launch to Debbie’s memory with a pink ribbon for breast cancer awareness painted on the rocket.” In addition, many of the launch participants will wear special pink shirts that read, “Rocket Scientists are Tough Enough to Wear Pink.”

The Education Launch is open to the public by reservation via coach transportation for $20 per person. Registrants can go online to: to reserve their space and make payment. No private vehicles are allowed to the launch site.

The New Mexico Space Grant Consortium is a member of the congressionally funded National Space Grant College and Fellowship Program that is administered by NASA and sponsored by New Mexico State University. The program promotes and inspires lifelong learning in areas of science, technology, engineering and mathematics as it pertains to space-related activities. The consortium supports a wide range of projects and scholarship opportunities, including the Student Launch Program. New Mexico students build multi-sensor electronic experiments that use the environment of sub-orbital space to further their hands-on scientific and engineering experience.

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For additional information, visit or contact Aaron Perez, Program Coordinator at or call 575-646-6414

Source: Huffington Post

Picture how different your life would be if commercial air travel didn’t exist — and imagine the millions of jobs that would vanish. Fortunately, commercial passenger aviation does exist and it exists because the U.S. government in the 1920s wisely decided to begin flying “air mail” on commercial airplanes, accelerating the growth of the entire passenger airline industry. President Obama’s bold, new plan for NASA, announced earlier this month, makes an equally wise decision by promoting the growth of commercial spaceflight. This is a win-win decision; creating thousands of new high-tech jobs and helping America retain its leadership role in science and technology.

President Obama’s decision to invest in this growing industry comes at a perfect time. Entrepreneurial companies like Virgin Galactic, Scaled Composites, SpaceX, Sierra Nevada Space Systems, Masten Space Systems, Armadillo Aerospace, XCOR Aerospace, and Blue Origin are investing their own money, right now, to create new jobs across the nation, including my home state of New Mexico, as they roll out innovative space vehicles. Even the larger, more traditional firms that build launch vehicles for government satellite missions are throwing their hat into the ring to launch new commercial space activities. Commercial spaceflight represents the type of dynamic innovation that we need to create 21st century jobs. Indeed, commercial space companies are one of the few industries that have continued to hire people during the recession.

Our modern economy depends on space — it is woven into our social fabric, from bank transactions and weather forecasts that depend on satellite signals, to GPS and the latest overhead images by commercial spacecraft that will help us rebuild Haiti. America’s commercial space industry can bring private investment to the table and enable government dollars to go much further in meeting our goals. Our nation’s military already benefits from the use of commercial communications and remote sensing satellites, and trusts the commercial sector to launch critical military satellites on rockets designed and built commercially. Now NASA is poised to follow in the same direction by placing an emphasis on commercial space.

In New Mexico, our support for commercial spaceflight is already reaping benefits. About 500 New Mexicans are now on the job, creating the first commercial spaceport in the world. Another 300 new jobs are expected this year. The spaceport is fulfilling its promise of inspiring young people to study math and science and developing our statewide economy. Our anchor tenant, Virgin Galactic, recently unveiled its completed, environmentally friendly spacecraft, and has over forty two million dollars deposited in reservations. The demand is there, and New Mexico will get its return on investment.

Americans will get their return on investment, too. The excitement of commercial spaceflight is already inspiring kids to pursue careers in science and technology, something our nation desperately needs to remain competitive with emerging powers like China.

Full article here.

I recall the spring of 2006 when I first visited the desert of Upham, NM.  Two biggest concerns were rattlesnakes and getting the rental stuck in the mud.  Today begins the final pour of concrete for the Spaceport America runway.

In these dire times, where economic doldroms are a constant, nagging reminder of a nation struggling to keep its place in the world paradigm, perhaps we can at least hang our hats on something inspiring.  Perhaps this runway, this seemingly insignificant pouring of concrete in a desert still mostly populated by sagebrush and rattlesnake, will be the beginning of something great.

Spaceport America’s website

Source Cosmic Log by Alan Boyle

Alan Stern, a planetary scientist at the Southwest Research Institute who is helping suborbital science get off the ground. During today’s sesson of the International Symposium for Personal and Commercial Spaceflight in Las Cruces, N.M., Stern figured that private-sector spaceships could accommodate 1,000 small-scale research missions annually at $100,000 each.

The resulting total – $100 million a year – is roughly equivalent to the fares that would be paid out by 500 high-rolling passengers on Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShipTwo rocket plane. Those potential profits have led Stern to assert that research could be more of a “killer app” for suborbital space ventures than tourism.

Full article here.

MSNBC’s Alan Boyle discusses Spaceport America.

Rob Coppinger of Hyperbola posted video from the recent International Astroautical Space Congress in Daejon, Korea.

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