15 Dec Major Expansion at New Mexico’s Spaceport America
A company that is developing and testing a mass accelerator with the aim of launching satellites into space orbit, using kinetic energy instead of rockets, is expanding at New Mexico’s Spaceport America, Cabinet Secretary Alicia J. Keyes announced today.
SpinLaunch signed a lease at Spaceport America in 2019 and has since invested in test facilities and an integration facility. The company is now set to hire an additional 59 highly-paid workers and complete the build of its suborbital centrifugal launch system for its next phase of development. SpinLaunch expects to start test launches in New Mexico in 2021.
“Spaceport America is the next frontier for innovation,” Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham said. “It is a magnet for companies on the cutting edge, like SpinLaunch, and New Mexico is glad for their partnership with and investment in our state. I’m incredibly excited about this latest expansion at the Spaceport. We’ve only begun scratching the surface of what’s possible in aerospace technology in Southern New Mexico.”
The State of New Mexico, through the Economic Development Department’s LEDA job-creators fund, is supporting the expansion with $4 million, paid out in phases as SpinLaunch reaches economic development goals.
“SpinLaunch is part of the growing community of businesses creating jobs and innovating new technologies at New Mexico’s Spaceport America,” Cabinet Secretary Keyes said. “We see the state’s space cluster as an important economic driver to diversify the economy with higher-paying jobs in Southern New Mexico.”
The company, expected to spend $46 million of private money in construction and expansion over 10 years, will generate an economic impact of $239 million over that period of time statewide.
SpinLaunch founder Jonathan Yaney said the technology behind the company is a cleaner and more affordable way to reach orbit.
“Our technology enables a 10 times reduction in the current costs and complexities of reaching orbit. As the number of rocket launches rapidly increases, SpinLaunch uniquely reaches space without releasing pollutants into critical layers of the atmosphere. We’re satisfying both the economic and environmental demands of a space industry experiencing exponential growth. This is the first time in human history we have an alternative to rockets,” Yaney said.
SpinLaunch has also qualified for job training assistance through the state’s Job Training Incentive Program (JTIP). According to Yaney, the economic development initiatives were essential for a small company like SpinLaunch, as it works to innovate and bring to market a unique business.
“SpinLaunch will grow into thousands of employees as we develop,” Yaney said. “When you’re this young of a company, with this bold of a concept, being able to receive assistance is absolutely essential. This support was instrumental in deciding to come to New Mexico.”
Sierra County is the fiscal agent for the project and the Sierra County Commission will consider the LEDA ordinance in the coming weeks.
“Sierra County is excited to collaborate with the Economic Development Department and SpinLaunch on this project,” Sierra County Manager Bruce Swingle said. “This project will create 59 new jobs in the region, at an average salary of $72,322. In a rural community, these high-paying jobs will have an immediate impact and significantly boost our economy. High-paying jobs mean more revenue for our schools, hospital, and infrastructure.”
Yaney said SpinLaunch will strongly recruit from New Mexico’s universities and is reaching out to NMSU and New Mexico Tech for its talent. As the company moves toward test launches, its hires will shift toward engineers and other technical experts.