The unveiling of the Spaceport America brand brings to light the visionary project which took many years to complete. Its location in New Mexico, with its warm weather and vast spaces, creates an idyllic space for the aerospace industry.
The Spaceport's mission is to To develop and operate the world's first purpose-built commercial spaceport to attract the future space industry, deliver prosperity through public and private cooperation, and inspire the next generation.
Spaceport America's official Web site states:
By the early 1990s, a group of like-minded individuals called the Southwest Space Task Force, felt the impetus to take New Mexico's space industry to the next level: commercial space and reusable launch vehicles. Based on years of study, they zeroed in on 27 square-miles of state-owned land, 45 miles north of Las Cruces as a location for an inland spaceport. When Economic Development Cabinet Secretary Rick Homans took office in 2003, they went to him and pleaded their case.
Homans then picked up the torch, presenting the idea of a New Mexico spaceport to Governor Richardson, negotiating with the X Prize Foundation to locate the X Prize Cup in New Mexico, spearheading legislation to finance the spaceport, and most recently, recruiting four aerospace mavericks -- including Virgin Galactic -- to New Mexico.
Spaceport America Runway
Last year on October 22, 2010, the New Mexico Spaceport Authority celebrated the two mile long Spaceport America runway but dedicating it as the Governor Bill Richardson Spaceway. As part of the ceremonies, the Virgin Galactic's WhiteKnightTwo and SpaceShipTwo flew over the spaceport and landed for the first time on the runway.
Space Flight Informed Consent
On Feb. 27, 2010, New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson signed the Space Flight Informed Consent Act into law, recognizing the emerging commercial space industry and the inherent risks of space flight in New Mexico.
Governor Richardson stated, This legislation secures New Mexico's investment in Spaceport America and its resulting job creation by ensuring we are competitive with other Space States such as Virginia and Florida who have similar legislation in place.
This benefits the State and FAA Licensed Operators as well as the Participants. People who come to New Mexico for their flight into space will now be protected.
Second Annual New Mexico Education Launch
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 New Mexico Education Launch took place on Tuesday, May 4, 2010 from Spaceport America.
Creating enthusiasm and interest in these students is a gratifying thing to witness, said Dr. Pat Hynes, Director of the NMSGC.
The Student Launch program shows the world that we are leading the way in science and technology education, and gives these students and their teachers a curriculum-based education opportunity that can't be found anywhere else. Today's launch has inspired a lot of interest in aerospace and space research!
Virgin Atlantic Commercial Spaceline
Sir Richard Branson's Virgin Galactic, LLC, announced in February the first ever commercial contracts to fly scientists into space for the purpose of conducting research experiments.
Commenting on the agreement, George Whitesides, President and CEO of Virgin Galactic said: This agreement signals the enormous scientific potential of the Virgin spaceflight system. Virgin Galactic will be able to offer researchers flights to space that are unprecedented in frequency and cost. Science flights will be an important growth area for the company in the years to come, building on the strong commercial success already demonstrated by deposits received from over 400 individuals for Virgin's space experience.
Information for this article was gathered using the Spaceport America Web site. All content in this article is attributed to their official site.