FAA Issues Launch Site Operator License for Spaceport America

Press Release From: Spaceport America
Posted: Monday, December 15, 2008


Spaceport America Receives Federal Record of Decision and License to Operate

LAS CRUCES, NM - The New Mexico Spaceport Authority (NMSA) received its launch license for vertical and horizontal launch from the Federal Aviation Administration's Associate Administrator for Commercial Space Transportation (FAA/AST). This is a critical step to moving forward with Spaceport America, the nation's first purpose-built commercial spaceport. The FAA/AST has issued Spaceport America a license for vertical and horizontal launches, after providing the Environmental Impact Study (EIS) Record of Decision (ROD) which was needed for construction to begin.|

"These two governmental approvals are the next steps along the road to a fully operational commercial spaceport," said NMSA Executive Director Steven Landeene. The New Mexico State Legislature set certain requirements for spaceport funding, which included the formation of a local tax district, the issuance of an FAA EIS record of decision and launch site license, and a signed lease agreement with an anchor tenant. "We are on track to begin construction in the first quarter of 2009, and have our facility completed as quickly as possible," he said. The NMSA is expected to have a signed lease agreement with Virgin Galactic later this month.

"It's an important day for New Mexico and the nation as Spaceport America now adds to the United States' launch infrastructure," said Daniela Glick, Chair of the NMSA Board. Southern New Mexico's Spaceport America is positioned to become the nation's leading commercial spaceport facility. There have been several commercial launches for various clients from the site since April 2007, with more launches planned. Roadwork to the spaceport is underway, and the architectural firm of URS/Foster + Partners is completing their final design for the terminal and hangar facility.

Spaceport America has been working closely with leading aerospace firms such as Virgin Galactic, Lockheed Martin, Rocket Racing Inc./Armadillo Aerospace, UP Aerospace, Microgravity Enterprises and Payload Specialties. The NMSA currently projects vertical launch activity to increase in 2009 and construction to also begin in 2009 with the terminal and hangar facility for horizontal launches completed by late 2010.

For additional information and images of Spaceport America go to or contact Steven Landeene (email: or David Wilson @ 575-640-8228 or email:

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