Education Launch Planned for Spaceport America


Spaceport America and the New Mexico Space Grant Consortium will conduct the first annual education launch from Spaceport America at 8 a.m. on Saturday, May 2, 2009. This historic SL-3 mission will utilize a SpaceLoft XL launch vehicle provided by participating sponsor UP Aerospace and will include 11 multi-sensor experiments designed and created by students from New Mexico schools. The launch is open to the public by RSVP via coach transportation at $10 per person. No private vehicles are allowed to the launch site.

Students from the participating schools will attend the launch, along with their teachers, state and local officials, New Mexico Spaceport Authority (NMSA) staff, and others.

Many schools have experiments in the launch, including:

  • New Mexico State University
  • University of New Mexico
  • Doña Ana Community College
  • ITT Technical Institute
  • Southwestern Indian Polytechnic Institute
  • Cloudcroft High School, Cloudcroft
  • Hatch Valley High School, Hatch
  • Hot Springs High School, T or C
  • Las Cruces High School & Mayfield High School, Las Cruces

New Mexico Space Grant Consortium Director Dr. Patricia Hynes said, “This launch marks the beginning of an annual program to help promote space programs throughout educational institutions statewide. By giving our students the ability to launch their experiments, we are generating interest in technology and science that can’t be matched in a classroom setting.”

“The purpose of this program is to develop New Mexico’s workforce by providing students access to space annually from Spaceport America,” said Steve Landeene, Executive Director of the NMSA.

The launch will also include secondary payloads on board for the United States Air Force and Space Services, a private company that provides memorial spaceflights. (con’t)


There are two locations to board buses to the launch. Buses will leave Las Cruces at 5:30 a.m. from the parking lot of the Kmart at 1900 Bataan Memorial East (off Highway 70 near Del Rey Blvd.). Residents of southern New Mexico, including Las Cruces, Alamogordo, and El Paso, are encouraged to meet this bus. Additional buses will leave from Hot Springs High School at 1200 N. Pershing St. in Truth or Consequences, NM, at 6:00 a.m. Residents north of Las Cruces are encouraged to use this staging area. The SL-3 mission is scheduled to launch at 8:00 a.m., with buses departing from Spaceport America at 9:00 am. (ALL TIMES ARE CONTINGENT ON WEATHER AND LAUNCH CONDITIONS!)

Those interested in witnessing the launch must RSVP online at or by calling (575) 373-6110 by Wednesday, April 29. Individuals who do not RSVP are not guaranteed admission to the launch. Participants are advised to bring water, sunglasses, sunscreen, head cover, closed-toe shoes with socks (no sandals) and pants (no shorts). There will be minimal facilities onsite, but cash food vendors will be located at the viewing area. Cameras and video cameras are allowed; however, cell phone use onsite will be reserved for critical launch operations staff only, due to low cell network capacity in the area.

Groundbreaking for Spaceport America is planned for early summer 2009, and the NMSA currently projects the terminal and hangar facility to be completed by late 2010. Spaceport America has been working with leading aerospace firms such as Virgin Galactic, Lockheed Martin, UP Aerospace, Microgravity Enterprises and Payload Specialties.