Second Las Cruces Space Festival Begins on April 7

LAS CRUCES, NM (Las Cruces PR)  — The Las Cruces Space Festival launches for a second year at Spaceport America on April 7th. The Festival promises to ‘make space for everyone,’ providing free activities for people of all ages and interests throughout the week-long Festival.

The Festival will launch at Spaceport America with an ‘Open House.’ There will be fly-ins from 40 aircraft, and an opportunity to meet the teams working at Spaceport America.

Virgin Galactic’s Astronaut Pilot, CJ Sturkow, will be talking about the companies’ successful run of test flights. ‘Genesis’ artist Otto Rigan will be revisiting his sculpture that will greet visitors at the Spaceport entrance. Assistant Director of Operations at the National Radio Astronomy Observatory, Dr. Mark McKinnon, will be presenting an update on the work conducted at the Very Large Array and plans for the future. There will be lots of hands-on activities to entertain all ages including a chance to build and launch rockets.

Simulated missions to Mars at the Las Cruces Challenger Learning Center are now open for registration. There will be seven missions available throughout the festival and advanced registration is required as places are limited. Missions are recommended for children aged eight and up and adults of all ages.

The Festival is proud to include keynote talks and presentations from over twenty leading space experts from local and international organizations throughout the week. This ‘Talks Series’ is specifically designed to inspire and support young people in the region to pursue STEM education, by showcasing over the week a wide range of achievement and interesting information, as well setting out future opportunities, both from a subject knowledge and career standpoint. The talks will also be of interest to a general audience, and all are welcome.

Our Place In Space- Las Cruces launched with a ‘live art’ workshop on the Plaza de Las Cruces on Saturday March 23rd, with an opportunity to see local artists interpret and be inspired by the images captured by the Hubble Telescope. The art created will be displayed alongside the Hubble images throughout the City in the ‘Our Place In Space- Las Cruces’ exhibition, which will open on Monday April 8th. Space Telescope Science Institute Associate Director of Operations at the European Space Agency, Dr. Antonella Nota, will be delivering an address on ‘Our Place In Space’ at the Southwest Environmental Center at 6.45pm on Monday April 8th.

Tim Fitzpatrick, Artist in Residence for the Sloan Digital Sky Survey in New Mexico, will be creating site specific art on the landscape at several local sites as part of his installation ‘Hand Made Light’.. Visitors will be able to hear about his exhibitions during his presentation on Monday April 8th at the Southwest Environmental Center.

Think you know space? Challenge yourself at the Big Space Quiz on April 10th at the Game Bar and Grill on Espina from 7pm. 2018’s champions achieved an astounding 100% accuracy.

Making Contact at the Las Cruces Convention Center will run from 11am-7pm on Thursday April 11th. Representatives from NASA, White Sands Missile Range, Virgin Galactic, Spaceport America and many more space-related organizations will be on hand to showcase the growing space industry in New Mexico. This is particularly a great opportunity for anyone interested in learning more about space-related career fields and what paths to take to achieve success. The event will also host several talks by industry experts including a presentation by NASA Mars Rover Scientist Dr. James Rice.

We have a strong line-up of events at the Rio Grande Theatre. On top of the five classic space movies spread across the week, we will also be featuring presentations by Chris Churchill
on Thursday April 11th ahead of the movie ‘Contact’ and NMSU Graduate, Alires Almon on Friday April 12th alongside excerpts from plays ‘Yuri’ and ‘Silent Sky.’

Also on Friday April 12th, downtown Las Cruces will be celebrating Yuri’s Night. The ‘space walk’ will be lots of fun for the family: come dressed as your favorite space character, real or imaginary, the more adventurous costumes on display the better on the Plaza de Las Cruces. Live music will follow, provided on the Plaza stage by local band ‘Triple Jack.’

Want to escape the noise and the crowds? Two stargazing parties are being held on Friday April 12th; one at White Sands National Monument,
and one at Dripping Springs in the Organ Mountains where the NMSU Astronomy department and the Astronomical Society of Las Cruces will guide visitors to get the best views of star constellations and distant galaxies.

The Las Cruces Space Festival is all about ‘making space for everyone’. On Saturday April 13th there will be tons of interactive exhibitions and booths on the Plaza de Las Cruces from 10-2pm. NASA Astronaut Donald Pettit will be discussing his three space flights on the stage at the Plaza de Las Cruces followed by a ‘meet and greet’. Younger audiences will also be entertained by WALL-E at the Rio Grande Theatre at noon, followed by Science Girl’s Laboratory.

Yuri’s Night events will also be held in Truth or Consequences on Saturday April 13th with a space-themed Second Saturday Art Hop.

For a full schedule of all the events and speakers, please visit the interactive calendar on the homepage of the Space Festival website.

About Las Cruces

Nestled in southern New Mexico’s Mesilla Valley between the Rio Grande River and Organ Mountains, Las Cruces is quickly becoming a popular southwestern destination, and is now emphasizing its close connections to space travel as the Gateway to Spaceport America and the departure point for Spaceport America tours, as well as the Second Annual Space Festival April 7-13. Las Cruces blends a unique variety of such special events, attractions, culture and historical sites, as well as superb weather, with 350 days of sunshine per year, and a range of new and classic restaurants, wineries, microbreweries and distilleries. For more information on all Las Cruces has to offer, contact Visit Las Cruces at (575) 541-2444 or