On May 25, Virgin Galactic launched its Unity 25 Spaceship from its site in Spaceport America in New Mexico. Located in Sierra County about 50 miles north of Las Cruces, NM, Spaceport America is focused on a mission to drive the frontiers of space exploration, enable breakthroughs in aerospace technology, and bolster economic development for the region.
Of yesterday’s space flight, Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham said, “Congratulations to Virgin Galactic and Spaceport America on a successful flight today. With the first commercial flights just a month away and 300 New Mexicans employed, our investment in this up-and-coming industry is clearly paying off. I also want to especially congratulate astronaut and New Mexican Jamila Gilbert for making it to space today!”
Scott McLaughlin, Executive Director at Spaceport America, expressed his delight at this achievement, stating, “It was a good day for Virgin Galactic, a good day for Spaceport America, and a great day for New Mexico.” He added, “This will really help move the needle for the region’s goals for building the aerospace business ecosystem from Los Alamos to El Paso, a region we are now calling Space Valley.”
Spaceport America is the first purpose-built commercial spaceport in the world. The FAA-licensed launch complex, situated on 18,000 acres adjacent to the U.S. Army White Sands Missile Range in southern New Mexico, has a rocket-friendly environment of 6,000 square miles of restricted airspace, low population density, a 12,000-foot by 200-foot runway, vertical launch complexes, and about 340 days of sunshine and low humidity.
Along with Virgin Galactic, commercial space companies that are tenants at Spaceport America are HAPSMobile/ AeroVironment, UP Aerospace, and SpinLaunch.