Spaceport America Plans Educational Launch Competition

April 15, 2008

UPHAM, NM — The New Mexico Spaceport Authority (NMSA) today announced intentions to create a new venture between the NMSA, the Air Force, higher education, and the private sector to create a competitive educational launch program for students in public schools and universities.

The program is envisioned to be a collaborative effort between the NMSA, the Air Force Research Lab Space Vehicles Directorate at Kirtland Air Force Base (AFRL), the X-Prize Foundation, the New Mexico Space Grant Consortium at New Mexico State University (NMSG), UP Aerospace and Microgravity Enterprises, Inc. (MEI), all of which have demonstrated support for Spaceport America, the nation’s first purpose-built commercial spaceport.

NMSA Executive Director Steve Landeene looks forward to creating the launch competition for the 2008-2009 academic year. “The spaceport is all about finding new, innovative ways to access space, and inspiring today’s young minds to meet tomorrow’s challenges,” Landeene said. “It is a part of fulfilling Spaceport America’s educational mission.”

With the support of the voters from Sierra County, Spaceport America can begin to explore ways to develop the competition, both nationally and statewide, for students to build and fly 100-plus scientific payloads on an upcoming UP Aerospace vertical launch out of Spaceport America, scheduled for Spring 2009. This new educational competition will showcase the commitment to education of the X-Prize Foundation, NMSG, UP Aerospace and MEI.

With continuing positive community support and the addition of renewable power generation with Sierra Electric, Spaceport America holds great promise for New Mexico’s economic future as the nation’s first purpose-built commercial spaceport.