As I move on after five and a half years on this tremendously important project, I am reflecting on our past accomplishments and our future at Spaceport America.
I am very proud of the fact that we built a small city in the middle of nowhere, helped to shape the future of the commercial space industry, inspired thousands of young people to consider a career in engineering, science or math, commercialized a brand which has brought the State of New Mexico over $104 million in positive Earned Media in the past year – that means positive media exposure that we did not have to pay for – and are attracting and signing many new customers, resulting in increased economic development in New Mexico.
This year, we are covering 75 percent of our operational budget through revenue and, next year, we project that we will be covering 90 percent. This means we have almost reached our goal of being self-sustaining.
Spaceport America’s strategic value proposition to the commercial space industry is our proximity to and close working relationship with the U.S. Army White Sands Missile Range, with its 6,000 square miles of protected airspace. Our remote and secure location provides aerospace companies a certain level of much-needed privacy to protect their proprietary technologies.
These attributes, paired with our extensive space launch experience, make Spaceport America a major player within the evolving commercial space industry.
As a founding member of the Commercial Spaceflight Federation, the commercial space industry association with over 70 leading members, Spaceport America has been instrumental over the past 10 years in shaping the future of commercial spaceflight law and regulation. I have also been a member of the FAA Commercial Space Transportation Advisory Committee for over four years.
Spaceport America’s business development, aerospace and ground operations teams have worked tirelessly since our spaceport became operational in 2013 to take our offering to the market, and fill both our aerospace and non-aerospace business pipelines with new leads and opportunities.
We have conducted 28 launches to date and UP Aerospace, EXOS Aerospace Systems and Technologies, along with one other new customer, have planned six launches in the next few months.
We are also in discussions with three major companies for long-term flight testing; each requiring local support, technical services and construction. We are also very excited about the recent opportunity to partner with the U.S. Army White Sands Missile Range to assist with testing Boeing’s Crew Space Transportation System at Spaceport America.
Last year, Spaceport America achieved another milestone – our first major motion picture was filmed when we turned part of the horizontal launch area into a Hollywood movie set that brought work to over 500 extras and hundreds of film professionals in New Mexico. “The Space Between Us” by STX Entertainment will premier in theaters across the country on December 21, 2016.
That same week, we were supporting an aerospace customer flight test campaign, while welcoming tourists from countries as far away as the UK and Australia – all part of a day in the life of our commercial spaceport.
Stay tuned for an announcement about four new very exciting recurring Annual Spaceport America Signature Events starting this fall, each bringing in hundreds of participants and attendees requiring services from hotel accommodations to food and equipment rentals.
We will have our third Public Open House Oct. 1 – free to the public. Registration will open Sept. 1. Please come.
One of our favorite activities is hosting students at Spaceport America – the seed corn of our future. We conducted sessions with over 2,000 6th-grade students last school year and will begin again in September. All free.
So, the next time you read an article or hear someone say something that gives you the impression that Spaceport America is not doing well or isn’t taking the lead in the commercial space industry, don’t believe it! And, if you are not getting our News bursts, please sign up on our website spaceportamerica.com/newsbursts so you can keep up to date on all of our happenings.
I am looking forward to watching the spaceport continue to grow and thrive. I have appreciated your support for our spaceport. Spaceport America is a real game-changer for New Mexico.