Educational launch planned for Spaceport America on May 2

April 23, 2009 by NMSU NMSU News Center

Spaceport America and the New Mexico Space Grant Consortium at New Mexico State University will conduct the first annual educational launch from Spaceport America Saturday, May 2. This historic launch will utilize an SL-3 launch vehicle provided by 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 at the launch site.

Buses will leave from Hot Springs High School at 1200 N. Pershing St. in Truth or Consequences at 6 a.m. The rocket is scheduled to launch at 8 a.m., with buses departing at 9 a.m. (Note: 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 Monday, April 27. 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 on-site, and cell phone service is limited to critical launch operations staff.

New Mexico Space Grant Consortium Director Patricia Hynes said, “This launch marks the beginning of an annual program to help promote space programs at educational institutions throughout the state. 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 New Mexico Spaceport Authority. The experiments will be flown on a SpaceLoft XL rocket provided by UP Aerospace.

Students from the participating schools will attend the launch, along with their teachers, state and local officials, NMSA staff, and others. Many schools have experiments in the launch, including:

  • New Mexico State University
  • University of New Mexico
  • NMSU’s Dona 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 and Mayfield High School, Las Cruces

Groundbreaking for Spaceport America is planned for early summer 2009, and 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.

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