Spaceport: Economic and education engine

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As I begin my new position as the executive director of the New Mexico Spaceport Authority, I anticipate an exciting time ahead for New Mexico as the commercial space industry grows by leaps and bounds.
My vision for Spaceport America is to create the world’s premier commercial space-launch facility, providing first-class customer service and attracting visitors from around the world.
We view Spaceport America as an engine to help stimulate New Mexico’s economy by creating new jobs and to motivate and inspire our students to achieve greatness in science, technology, engineering and mathematics.
Central to this objective is our strong partnership with Virgin Galactic as our anchor tenant and I look forward to their first commercial flight from Southern New Mexico.
Spaceport America’s baseline infrastructure is fully funded, construction is nearly 80 percent complete, and the staff is making daily progress toward full operational status.
The project is now poised to attract additional private sector customers as well as private investment partners, in synch with the spaceport vision, who will help facilitate future expansion.
Through these kinds of public and private partnerships, it will be possible to fund additional tenant buildings, and other onsite  facilities for both the public and launch customers. On April 1, Spaceport America will host the New Mexico Space Grant Consortium’s third educational rocket launch with a payload carrying 27 student-designed science experiments. These experiments were built in classrooms across New Mexico, and, for the first time, also from El Paso, Texas, and Tucson, Ariz.
This year’s launch is funded by NASA’s Summer of Innovation Program and will have over 800 students and their families in attendance. Our tenant, UP Aerospace, Inc., is providing the launch vehicle. I can’t think of a better way to put our spaceport to work than helping create a hands-on educational experience for our students.
Our nation’s space history started in the desert of New Mexico with the pioneering rocket experiments of Dr. Robert Goddard and Dr. Werner von Braun.  
In the months and years to come, space history will continue to be made in the wide-open spaces of New Mexico at Spaceport America. We are contributing to the growth of a new commercial space industry and inspiring our nation in the same spirit as John F. Kennedy’s challenge to put a man on the moon.
It is an honor and a privilege to join the New Mexico Spaceport Authority team at this critical juncture. We are witnessing history in the making and New Mexico is at the forefront.
I look forward to the challenges and rewards ahead and to achieving success on behalf of our great state of New Mexico.

Christine M. Anderson
Executive Director
New Mexico Spaceport Authority