Spaceport America Institute Formed

SPACEPORT AMERICA PRESS RELEASE
23 October 2008

LAS CRUCES, NM – In recognition of the critical role that expanded personal and commercial access to space will play in the growth of the global economy and society, the New Mexico Spaceport Authority (NMSA), has announced its intent to create a non-profit organization, called the Spaceport America Institute (SAI).

The Spaceport America Institute will be the catalyst for developing a reservoir of educationally valuable content from narratives, videography, digital images, operational data, and online exchanges.  SAI will be a collaboration between Spaceport America and the educational community.  The combined resources, talent and technology will augment education in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM). 

In line with Spaceport America’s mission of economic development and education, the SAI will support key workforce and technology efforts to grow industries in areas such as biotech, optics, energy, communications, and information technology.

The high aspirations for Spaceport America demand an equally high, sustained commitment of resources, as well as a collaborative spirit of enterprise,” said Steve Landeene, Executive Director of NMSA. “By developing external support and inviting the involvement of interested stakeholders, we can protect the spaceport from complete dependency on public funding and the potential for fragmented decision-making.” The SAI will conduct regular assessments of Spaceport America project priorities and funding needs consistent with the public purpose of its operations. It will also engage potential funding sources including the Federal government, grant-making foundations, and the user community of small and large space-related businesses.

The SAI will be based in Las Cruces, New Mexico, and will be open to participation throughout the state and beyond.  Stakeholders will include members of the space industry, high-tech employers, Federal and state agencies, academic institutions at all levels, teachers, parents and students. Because of its public benefit charter, the SAI will be established as a 501c3 membership organization.

The SAI is designed to be a non-governmental working partner to support Spaceport America as the nation’s first purpose-built commercial space facility. Spaceport America holds great promise for New Mexico’s economic future and has been working closely with leading aerospace firms such as Lockheed Martin, UP Aerospace, Virgin Galactic, Microgravity Enterprises and Payload Specialties. With planning moving along rapidly, the NMSA currently projects that licensed vertical launches should begin in the first quarter of 2009 and that the terminal and hangar facility for horizontal launches should be completed by 2010.

For more information about the Spaceport America Institute and how to become a stakeholder, contact Aaron Prescott at 575-521-3407 or by email at aaron.prescott@spaceportamerica.com.