The unveiling of the Spaceport America brand shines light on a
visionary project many years in the making. New Mexico’s weather and
wide-open spaces have been ideal for the aerospace industry since
Robert Goddard, the Father of Modern Rocketry, began conducting
research in Roswell in the 1930s. He was followed by Wernher von Braun
in the 1940s, and NASA in the 1980s.
By the early 1990s, a group of like-minded individuals called, the
Southwest Space Task Force, felt the impetus to take New Mexico’s space
industry to the next level: commercial space and reusable launch
vehicles. Based on years of study, they zeroed in on 27 square-miles of
state-owned land, 45 miles north of Las Cruces as a location for an
inland spaceport. When Economic Development Cabinet Secretary Rick
Homans took office in 2003, they went to him and pleaded their case.
Homans then picked up the torch, presenting the idea of a New Mexico
spaceport to Governor Richardson, negotiating with the X Prize
Foundation to locate the X Prize Cup in New Mexico, spearheading
legislation to finance the spaceport, and most recently, recruiting
four aerospace mavericks — including Virgin Galactic — to New Mexico.