ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — The rockets may soon be flying from Spaceport America under a contract it has signed with a small Texas-based company looking to build business in the launch sector.
EXOS Aerospace Systems and Technologies plans to fly from the Spaceport over the next five years, according to a joint statement. It plans to target research, pharmaceutical and medical markets, as well as the NASA Flight Opportunities program for suborbital technology demonstration payloads since the Space Shuttle was retired.
EXOS said it expects its first NASA payload later this year.
Initially, EXOS will use Spaceport on a project-by-project basis, said Christine Anderson, Spaceport America CEO.
In the early going, she said the business relationship would generate revenue via user fees and user flights. She did not immediately have a dollar value projected, adding it depends on how much business EXOS can generate with clients.
John Quinn, chief operating officer of the 15-person company in Caddo Mills, Texas, said EXOS will establish full tenancy with a dedicated facility once its flight rate makes “economic sense.” When business reaches a critical mass, Quinn projects the New Mexico operation at Spaceport could provide employment for up to 30 people.
With anchor tenant Virgin Galactic’s start date still uncertain, the $218.5 million taxpayer-funded facility has been shopping for new customers in the emerging commercial space segment, including in space launch testing, ground satellite operations and drone flight testing, according to a business plan rolled out last summer.