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Governor Kicks Off First Space Valley Summit

on January 10, 2020 - 8:12am

Spaceport Authority Executive Director Dan Hicks fastens a pin on the lapel of Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham Wednesday during the Space Valley Summit at NMSU in Las Cruces. Courtesy photo

Spaceport Authority Executive Director Dan Hicks facillitates the first Space Valley Summit. Courtesy photo


Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham kicked off New Mexico’s first Space Valley Summit Wednesday at New Mexico State University in Las Cruces.

The event brought together federal and state leaders of New Mexico’s space industry.

Facilitated by Spaceport Authority Executive Director Dan Hicks, NMSU Chancellor Dr. Dan Arivzu and Air Force Research Laboratory Space Vehicles Directorate Chief Scientist Dr. Thomas Cooley. The group agreed to work together as a “collaboratory” to foster coordination, collaboration and resource-sharing.

The Collaboratory will be a forum in which parties propose, consider and refine ideas, concepts and strategies that promote development of aerospace business and economy in New Mexico; partner to obtain grants, funding and sponsorships and execute research, development, testing and other activities within their respective expertise.

Approximately 50 people participated in this historic event, including leaders from Los Alamos National Laboratory, Sandia National Laboratories, Air Force Research Laboratory, New Mexico State University, New Mexico Institute of Mining & Technology, University of New Mexico, White Sands Missile Range, Kirtland Air Force Base, New Mexico National Guard, the Space Rapid Capabilities Office, the New Mexico Space Grant Consortium, New Space New Mexico, Professional Aerospace Contractors Association of New Mexico, and Virgin Galactic. Also present were representatives from Sen. Tom Udall’s office, Sen. Martin Heinrich’s office, and U.S. Rep. Deb Haaland’s office.

The goveror named the space industry as one of her nine economic growth sectors for the state. She said she was excited to see such a dynamic group of New Mexico leaders come together for the first time committed to advancing the space industry, expected to exceed $3 trillion in the next 20 years. New Mexico is uniquely poised to meet the needs of this growing sector, with an established space launch and testing venue at Spaceport America, world-class universities and national research laboratories, and leading defense and aerospace development agencies.

"New Mexico is truly breaking barriers in the space industry," Gov. Lujan Grisham said. "If it can be done anywhere – not just in the country, but in the world – it can be done better and quicker here.”

Hicks echoed her sentiment.

“The objective of this summit was to unite New Mexico’s federal and state agencies in support of our nation’s space sector,” he said. “We did just that and set up a structure to move forward.”

About Spaceport America

Spaceport America is the first purpose-built commercial spaceport in the world. The FAA-licensed launch complex, situated on 18,000 acres adjacent to the U.S. Army White Sands Missile Range in southern New Mexico, has a rocket friendly environment of 6,000 square miles of restricted airspace, low population density, a 12,000-foot spaceway, and 340 days of sunshine and low humidity. Some of the most respected companies in the commercial space industry are customers at Spaceport America: Virgin Galactic, Boeing, UP Aerospace, EnergeticX, EXOS Aerospace, and SpinLaunch. Visit for more information.