Spaceport leaders hold public meeting on future plans

Spaceport leaders hold public meeting on future plans

There was a discussion Wednesday night about the future of New Mexico's Spaceport America.

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – There was a discussion Wednesday night about the future of New Mexico’s Spaceport America. Spaceport leaders wanted to update the public on their plans and take feedback from people in the community at a meeting in Albuquerque. 

A few dozen people gathered at a facility by the Albuquerque International Sunport, and Spaceport reps explained their short-term and long-term plans. 

“In the future, we’re focused on things like orbital launch, maybe in 10 or 15 years. We’re focused on re-entry, and on building a complete ecosystem, what we’re now calling Space Valley, from Los Alamos to El Paso,” said Scott McLaughlin, executive director of Spaceport America. 

The plans would build off of what is already going on. 

“It’s amazing how much goes on out there that people aren’t aware of,” said Andrew Nelson, vice president of aerospace with RS&H, the Spaceport’s consulting firm. 

They expect more companies to move in and to see an expanded workforce, possibly reaching the thousands, in the next five years. 

Spaceport reps have acknowledged a lot of people have been opposed to the project and the more than $200 million in taxpayer dollars that have gone into it. 

“I think public opinion can be a threat to the Spaceport,” one audience member said. 

“What is the economic impact?” another member of the audience asked. 

Spaceport reps responded to that economic question by pointing to the report that showed a $200 million impact in 2022. 

Spaceport reps say their master plan will be finished this spring. 

This comes after Virgin Galactic announced layoffs that effect more than 70 employees in New Mexico operations. 

On Wednesday night, Spaceport reps said they believe the company will have a resurgence and in the next few years will have more workers in the state than they did before the layoffs.