55 mile from Las Cruces, NM
Spaceport America is the world’s first commercial spaceport designed and constructed for commercial space flight. It is located 45 miles north of Las Cruces at an elevation of 4,600 above sea level. Built on 18,000 acres of land in the Jornada del Muerto desert basin, the spaceport is adjacent to the U.S. Army’s White Sands Missile Range and under 6,000 square miles of protected airspace.
Spaceport America has FAA-licensed horizontal and vertical launch areas that attract innovative entrepreneurial tenants including some of the most well-respected companies in the commercial space industry: anchor tenant Virgin Galactic, UP Aerospace, HAPSMobile, AeroVironment, SpinLaunch, and more.
On May 10, 2019 Sir Richard Branson announced that Virgin Galactic would be moving its California operations to Spaceport America near Las Cruces over the coming summer, in preparation for the world’s first commercial space flights.
“New Mexico delivered on its promise to build a world-first and world-class spaceport,” Branson said. “Today, I could not be more excited to announce that in return, we are now ready to bring New Mexico a world-first, world-class spaceline. Virgin Galactic is coming home to New Mexico, where together we will open space to change the world for good.”
Although tenant operations remain private, public tours are offered of the spaceport grounds. Final Frontier Tours departs from Visit Las Cruces, 336 S. Main St. Tour guides offer background of the site and visitors can experience the G-Shock simulator and see the runway to space– all in the beautiful high desert of southern New Mexico. Tours must be booked in advance.
Spaceport America Cup
The annual Spaceport America Cup is the world’s largest intercollegiate rocket engineering competition on the vertical and horizontal launch campuses at Spaceport America. Annually dozens of teams from across the world travel to southern New Mexico to participate. Thousands of students and faculty represent the best and brightest from more than 150 institutions located across the world. Part academic conference and part design-build-fly style competition, the Spaceport America Cup has quickly grown into one of the best opportunities amateur aerospace enthusiasts have to collaborate, develop their skills and compete among their peers at a world-class spaceport facility.