Collaboratory Formed to Promote New Mexico’s Spaceport America During Closed Door Meeting

Sunset at the “Virgin Galactic Gateway to Space” terminal hangar facility at Spaceport America. (Credit: Bill Gutman/Spaceport America)

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

Officials from New Mexico, the federal government and Virgin Galactic met last week behind closed doors for the state’s first Space Valley Summit to form a “collaboratory” to promote Spaceport America and the state’s aerospace economy.

The one group not invited: taxpayers who have forked over about $250 million to build the spaceport where Virgin Galactic is the anchor tenant. As the Las Cruces Sun News dryly noted

Minutes after [Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham] exhorted the summit to “make sure every New Mexican … knows exactly what is happening here,” all reporters were asked to leave. 

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The Federation Announces Commercial Space Leadership Awards

Washington D.C. – The Commercial Spaceflight Federation (CSF) is excited to announce the winners of the 2020 Commercial Space Leadership Awards in recognition of leading innovators, investors, educators, journalists, and policymakers for their significant contributions to the success of the commercial space industry. The United States is undergoing a renaissance in space, and the commercial industry plays a pivotal role in this major transformation. 

The 2020 winners are:

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New Experimental Permit Measure Introduced in Congress

Capitol Building
Sen. Martin Heinrich (R-NM) has introduced a measure that would allow experimental permits issued for commercial reusable launch vehicles to remain active after a launch license is issued for the vehicles.

Currently, the experimental permits are no longer valid after the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) issues a launch or re-entry license. This arrangement makes it more difficult for companies to flight test vehicles and make changes in them.

The proposed measure also broadens the definition of what is covered from “suborbital rocket design” to “suborbital rocket or rocket design.”

Heinrich’s bill is similar to the Suborbital and Orbital Advancement and Regulatory Streamlining Act (SOARS) that Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) introduced in the House in December.

McCarthy’s measure, which also includes “a demonstration project…to evaluate the benefits of using experimental aircraft for both the direct and indirect support of commercial space launch and reentry activities,” is currently before the House Subcommittee on Space.

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