Spaceport America has celebrated the ground-breaking of SpinLaunch’s future test facility — attending the groundbreaking ceremony was Dan Hicks, CEO, Spaceport America, Alicia Keyes, Cabinet Secretary for Economic Development for the State of New Mexico, and Jonathan Yaney, founder and CEO of SpinLaunch, among New Mexico government and business leaders, and students from area universities.
SpinLaunch, which was founded in 2014 and last year announced a $40 million Series A financing round funded by Airbus Ventures, Google Ventures and Kleiner Perkins, is developing disruptive launch technology with an environmentally responsible, kinetic energy-based, launch system that will provide the low cost orbital launch services for the rapidly growing smallsat industry. The responsive launch system will allow for on-demand launches of small satellites in virtually any weather at an order of magnitude lower cost and higher frequency than any existing or proposed launch system.
In January of this year, Spaceport America announced a new lease agreement that will facilitate testing for the new launch company. The new agreement enables SpinLaunch to develop a $7 million construction project, adding 20 new jobs in New Mexico at the Spaceport.
SpinLaunch is re-imagining space launch by revisiting fundamental physics and leveraging proven industrial technologies to create a system that accelerates the launch vehicle to hypersonic speeds using ground-based energy. Applying the initial performance boost from a terrestrial-based launch platform will enable the company to provide a substantially lower cost launch to orbit, multiple times per day.
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, HyperSciences, EXOS Aerospace, and SpinLaunch.
Jonathan Yaney, CEO, SpinLaunch, said the firm is excited to be developing the company’s first flight test site at Spaceport America. The state of New Mexico historically has been the genesis of innovation in aerospace going back to the early days of rocketry and the company is proud to continue this tradition. The commercial space market is expected to grow to a trillion dollar industry within the decade and this new agreement with Spaceport America will expedite the company’s ability to service that emerging market.
Governor Lujan Grisham said aerospace has tremendous potential as an economic driver, and any step the state takes that encourages the growth of an industry that can put New Mexicans to work and catalyze local communities is a very positive development.
Dan Hicks, CEO, Spaceport America added that the citizens of New Mexico have supported Spaceport America to enable a new revolution in space systems. SpinLaunch, with its new configuration to employ kinetic energy, is truly one of the most exciting new ventures to enter the space industry and Spaceport America is excited to be part of their growth and, in turn, enable the growth of the smallsat market.
New Mexico’s Cabinet Secretary Alicia J. Keyes of the Economic Development Department noted that in New Mexico, space is not the final frontier, it’s the next frontier. The state has the facility, the talent and the air space to grow the aerospace industry and be a permanent home to SpinLaunch and other companies.