Spaceport America to Add Vehicle Integration Building for Larger Rockets

LAS CRUCES, NM – NMSA PR – For the second consecutive year, Spaceport America has received a federal grant award to help fund new spaceport infrastructure. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) grant is worth $249,378 toward the cost of a roll-back vehicle integration building at Spaceport America.

The FAA announced the Space Transportation Infrastructure Matching (STIM) grant award on Friday, August 26. The matching grant program was created to ensure the resiliency of the space transportation infrastructure in the United States, which will rely more heavily on the commercial sector for future space activity, research and exploration.

“These matching funds from the FAA are crucial for improving our vertical launch capabilities and expanding services for our launch customers,” said New Mexico Spaceport Authority (NMSA) Executive Director, Christine Anderson. The roll-back vehicle integration building will be located inside the Vertical Launch Area (VLA) of Spaceport America and will be able to accommodate the larger vehicles that are under development.

“Currently, we can only accommodate vehicles up to approximately 24 feet long and five feet wide,” said Anderson. “New vehicles under development are much longer, and some have wings for gliding recovery,” explained Anderson. “The new roll-back vehicle integration building will let us handle these new vehicles as they come on line.”

The roll-back vehicle integration building is projected to cost $498,756, of which the FAA grant will pay for half.

Last year, Spaceport America received its first grant from the FAA. On September 10, 2010, the NMSA announced that the FAA would provide a matching grant of $43,000 to help fund an Automated Weather Observation System III (AWOS III). This system provides timely and accurate meteorological information to aircraft and spacecraft operations at Spaceport America, including visibility information and cloud data.