FROM THE CEO
The grand opening of our Spaceport America Experience is scheduled for June 24. Following that date, it will be open to the public. The expanded tour includes a visit to the new Gateway Gallery in the Gateway to Space building featuring a G-Shock Simulator, space themed game kiosks, a Magic Planet and more. You can visit by booking a tour via our website.
Our new business plan is posted on our website. You will see a continuing trend of further diversification in business sectors and an increase in marketing.
We signed a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) with a new tenant X2nSat, signaling our expansion into the satellite ground station business sector. We believe Spaceport America is well suited to this business line.
As always, let us hear from you.
Chief Executive Officer
On May 19, Spaceport America and X2nSat, a global satellite communications solutions provider, announced the signing of MOA for the long-term lease of land and access to infrastructure as the first VSAT (Very Small Aperture Terminal) tenant within Spaceport America’s new satellite gateway ground station development.
The MOA is a precursor to a long-term lease agreement scheduled to be finalized this summer. Groundbreaking for the facility is planned for later this year, with it becoming operational in 2016 and adding as many as 20 jobs to New Mexico in the long term.
In the announcement, Garrett C. Hill, CEO of X2nSat said they “chose to partner with Spaceport America to build the world’s most modern satellite gateway to support current and future satellite fleets because we’re passionate about building the infrastructure for the next generation of satellite communications. This location has everything we need to do that – stable and dry weather, a southern latitude, 24/7 security, plentiful real estate, minimal electromagnetic interference, and extremely low horizons in all directions. This represents the future of communications.”
Santa Rosa Press Democrat: Petaluma satellite company eyes opportunities in space
Satellite Today: X2nSat Satellite Gateway Signals New Life for Spaceport America
The plan focuses on the use of key geographic advantages of southern NM to attract aerospace customers, namely, the 6,000 square miles of restricted airspace through collaboration with US Army White Sands Missile Range, low population density, 340+ days of sunshine and low humidity, the nearly mile high elevation and low latitude. Aerospace business sectors include space launch, space testing, UAVs, and satellite ground stations.
The plan also highlights the value of the Spaceport America brand within several sectors of non-aerospace business, including tourism, events, virtual education, merchandise, and sponsorship. In addition the plan covers strategy around STEM education and outreach by Spaceport America, as well as a snapshot of the economic return on investment that the project is generating for the state of New Mexico.
On May 27, Spaceport America was informed that we had passed our annual FAA Launch Site Operator License inspection. A thorough on-site inspection was conducted on May 5 and 6. The purpose of the inspection is to ensure that we are in compliance with applicable Federal regulations and with the terms and conditions of the license.
Dr. Bill Gutman, the Spaceport’s Aerospace Operations Director, started a monthly column in the Las Cruces Sun News. The goal is to shed light on technical aspects of the new commercial space industry.
Las Cruces Sun-News: Spaceport America: Calculating the risks and reward of rocket launches
On Saturday, May 16, Spaceport America hosted 120 scouts, educators and mentors. Participants represented the Boy Scouts, Heritage Girls, 4-H, and Las Cruces Public Schools. The intention was to launch small model rockets carrying samples of “space foods.” Rockets were to be judged on performance, and on taste testing of the foods with the judging done by Spaceport America firefighters. Unfortunately, winds exceeded the 20 mph maximum imposed by safety regulations, and the launch had to be scrubbed. However, the participants and their adult supervisors were treated to tours of the Spaceport Operations Center, Gateway to Space Hangar, and the airfield by Spaceport America and Virgin Galactic crew members.
The spaceport has vacancies for an airfield operations manager/controller and an aerospace engineer. Please visit our employment website for more information.
MEDIA COVERAGE AND OUTREACH
The month of May was a busy one for Spaceport America, which hosted a group of travel writers in conjunction with the Albuquerque Convention and Visitors Bureau for a special tour. The special media tour gave travel writers a preview of the new tour to be opened to the public in late June. Publications and online blogs represented on the tour included: Condé Nast Traveler, Atlas Obscura, AAA Encompass, Sunset Magazine, USA Today, Parade, and Yahoo! Travel.
Spaceport America released the updated five-year business plan in a national press release in mid-May and then announced the MOA signing with X2nSat a week later in a separate release. Both releases generated a large amount of press coverage in New Mexico, as well as regional and national press coverage. As a result of these press releases, I conducted interviews with Public Radio, Albuquerque and El Paso television stations, newspapers, and Satellite Today, Space News, and New Space Review.
I had the pleasure of speaking at the Professional Aerospace Contractors Association (PACA) luncheon. PACA is a highly respected professional association in New Mexico and it is always a pleasure to meet with them.
We hosted Garrey Carruthers, President of New Mexico State University (NMSU), and Kari Mitchell, member of the NMSU Board of Regents, on a special tour of the spaceport. It was an honor to have them visit our facility.
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