FROM THE DIRECTOR
September was an exciting month of flight previews to come. Virgin Galactic flew some training exercises at the Spaceport and in the local area in preparation for the move here. It was great to see WhiteKnightTwo in the skies of New Mexico. We are also preparing for the UP Aerospace Launch this month which will be our 21st!
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.
Christine Anderson, Executive Director
New Mexico Spaceport Authority (NMSA)
TECHNICAL OPERATIONS UPDATE
On September 10 and 11, Spaceport America hosted a flight test exercise of the Virgin Galactic WhiteKnightTwo. WhiteKnightTwo is the aircraft that will carry SpaceShipTwo to approximately 50,000 feet altitude before it is released and propelled to space by its internal rocket engine.
Some of the more important goals of the exercise were: 1) to test airspace coordination and mission control processes, 2) to provide Virgin Galactic pilots opportunity to gain experience in the operational environment, 3) to provide operational training for
Spaceport America and Virgin Galactic personnel, 4) to test and validate ground handling and maintenance procedures at the Spaceport, and 5) to provide Spaceport aircraft rescue and firefighting personnel opportunity to gain greater familiarity with the spaceflight system. Three separate test missions were flown over the two-day event with a different combination of pilots on each. We are happy to report that the exercise was successful in all respects. It was an important step in the steady progression to Virgin Galactic commercial operations at Spaceport America.
OPERATIONS AND CONSTRUCTION UPDATE
Highland Construction is continuing to make good progress on the new spaceport entrance. We are also continuing to work with FEMA regarding repair work from last year’s rain event. We welcomed another staff member, Frank Dominguez, a General Maintenance Technician/Electrician. The Spaceport Protective Services responded to an automobile accident in a nearby off-site location in support of Lakeshore Fire Department Central dispatch. Lakeshore requested assistance due to the location and the road conditions. The Spaceport personnel were able to get to the injured victim in the Spaceport brush truck. Care Flight was called for transport. Spaceport Firefighter (FF) Ryan Williams set up the Landing Zone where there was no power to the area and no moon light. FF Williams was able to draw upon his Forest Service helicopter training to guide the helicopter in. The patient was transported to a trauma hospital. We are proud of our Spaceport Protective Service Team and their strong commitment to supporting public safety.
BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT AND OPPORTUNITES
Spaceport America continues to have photo-shoot customers for product marketing which we can share once the photos are released into the commercial advertising venues. One of the recent commercial shoot customers was Land Rover. Check out the amazing photos taken at Spaceport America.
Virgin Galactic has about 30 contract personnel working on site and that will ramp to about 40 shortly.
NMSA will be attending ISPCS this month in Las Cruces. If you are planning to also be there, feel free to get in touch beforehand; we'd love to meet you.
Also if you’d like to make your company more visible to Spaceport America and its customers, please fill out our Supplier Registration form on the Spaceport America website. We are providing this registry to our tenants and other customers who may need services.
NMSA IS HIRING (it's all about jobs!)
Spaceport continues to look for qualified applicants for all open positions listed on the spaceport website: Flight Control Specialist, Aerospace Engineer, and Maintenance Technician.
All of these positions, along with future positions with NMSA, will be posted on the State of New Mexico’s NEOGOV portal and on our own Employment website this month. Applicants are encouraged to submit their resumes electronically through either website.
MEDIA COVERAGE AND OUTREACH
We hosted several tours this month including the school boards and superintendents from the Las Cruces, Gadsden, Hatch and Truth or Consequences school districts. We also conducted several interviews with Motherboard, KFOX News, NPR Santa Fe, and the Albuquerque Journal.