FROM THE DIRECTOR
March was another busy month for us. We are preparing to bring onboard more firefighters and IT personnel as we ramp up operations. We will also be releasing a request for proposals (RFP) for the construction of a new spaceport front entrance and guard station to replace our temporary trailer. Lastly, Doña Ana County is planning to release the long awaited RFP for the southern road improvements in early May. We are really looking forward to the road being completed as soon as possible.
We hope these newsletters are helpful in keeping you up to date on Spaceport activities. Feel free to send questions or comments to us via our website (http://spaceportamerica.com/).
Christine Anderson, Executive Director
New Mexico Spaceport Authority (NMSA)
TECHNICAL OPERATIONS UPDATE
Spaceport America continues to make preparations for upcoming launch operations of SpaceX and Virgin Galactic. The SpaceX Falcon 9R rocket will be the largest ever to fly from Spaceport America. As the launch complex nears completion, the technical team is reviewing and refining preparation and launch day plans and procedures. We are also assisting with site readiness. Items include refining the formal Range Operations Plan and ensuring that the spaceport is in compliance with New Mexico open burning regulations. We have added several fire prevention measures such as a vegetation-free buffer and fire breaks around the edges of the launch and landing pads.
With respect to Virgin Galactic, the technical team has been refining the Airfield Operations Plan. Recently, the three-party Letter of Agreement (Virgin Galactic-FAA Albuquerque Center-Spaceport America) that is required by the FAA Office of Commercial Space Transportation was finalized.
CONSTRUCTION AND OPERATIONS UPDATE
A new Program Manager for Protective Services at Spaceport America was recently hired by our support contractor, Fiore Industries. Congratulations to Don Scott who comes to us from the Department of Homeland Security for the State of New Mexico.
Virgin Galactic has started its fit out construction activities for the Gateway facility at Spaceport America.
Doña Ana County is planning to release the RFP for the southern access road construction in early May.
NMSA will be releasing an RFP shortly for the construction of a new spaceport front entrance and security station, replacing the existing temporary trailer.
ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT (it’s all about jobs!)
NMSA has moved into the Gap Analysis portion of its Economic Development initiative, after gathering requirements from its tenant and user base. This phase will identify gaps in required services from existing regionally available services and includes short-term and long-term planning to meet identified requirements. Short term options include importing the services and attracting expansion of new businesses to relocate to the state, while long term options revolve around growing the capability to meet the requirement locally via the educational pipeline and existing business enhancement. Once the Gap Analysis is complete, NMSA will be able to select the highest priority opportunities and develop implementation plans in conjunction with regional stakeholders. More to come on this, so stay tuned!
Follow the Sun Tours (http://ftstours.com) that operates tours to the spaceport on the weekends has opened an office in Sierra County and has hired two additional employees from Sierra County and is still in recruitment mode. Contact them if you are interested.
Currently, NMSA has 20 personnel working full time at the spaceport site and 9 personnel working off site. The majority are residents of Sierra and Doña Ana Counties. NMSA is also planning to hire additional staff in the General Support Services and IT areas in early summer. The spaceport’s Protective Service contractor, Fiore Industries, is also hiring eight additional spaceport firefighters (http://www.fiore-ind.com/home/16-careers/39-firefighter-guard.html) . NMSA also relies on a variety of additional personnel working part time.
Virgin Galactic recently held a supplier seminar in Sierra County providing a list of needed services. Check out the City of T or C website (http://www.torcnm.org) for additional information.
A feature story on the spaceport’s futuristic new buildings appeared in a recent issue of The Architect’s Newspaper. The caption next to the picture of the Gateway building was particularly exciting, “Boldly Go!”
In addition, the Gateway is receiving an American Council of Engineering Companies (ACEC) Honors Award at the ACEC 2014 Engineering Excellence Awards Ceremony in Washington DC at the end of April. Congratulations to URS and its team, NMSA’s architectural contractor for the Gateway building.
Christine Anderson did a major sit down interview with NBC Science Correspondent Alan Boyle. We look forward to seeing Alan’s story profiling Spaceport America and its tenants, SpaceX and Virgin Galactic.
Anderson also had the honor of delivering the keynote speech at the UNM Anderson School of Management annual awards banquet. The theme was “lift-off” and the speech focused on just that! Over 650 people attended.
NMSA gave a presentation to the southern New Mexico Lockheed Martin group and provided site tours to the New Mexico Economic Partnership and the New Mexico Department of Transportation.
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