December 24: Arca Space Corporation, based in Las Cruces (NM), began taking orders for its new hoverboard. The ArcaBoard is 57 inches long, 30 inches wide, and 6 inches thick. It hovers one foot above the ground and travels up to 12.5 miles per hour.

December 3: Virgin Galactic bought a Boeing 747 airplane to be the carrier of its LauncherOne small satellite vehicle.

November 19: NASA selected Virgin Galactic's LauncherOne as one of four technologies to support for nanosatellite and suborbital reusable launch systems development. NASA also selected UP Aerospace for a project in the same category.

November 18: Authorities announced the first Spaceport America Drone Summit, which will be held March 12-14, 2016. More than 1,000 attendees are expected for the event for small drone (less than 55 pounds), which will include demonstrations, workshops, and drone racing events.

November 16: The New Mexico Spaceport Authority offers parcels for development. The build-to-suit parcels range in size from 4 to 30 acres near the horizontal spaceway, and 1.5 to 22 acres near the vertical launch facility.

November 10: Virgin Galactic hired another pilot, Kelly Latimer, bringing the current total to six. Latimer is a retired lieutenant in the US Air Force, a combat veteran, and an experienced test pilot. She is the first female pilot hired by Virgin Galactic.

November 6: UP Aerospace conducted the 24th unmanned, suborbital launch from Spaceport America. It carried experiments for NASA Johnson Space Center, NASA Ames Research Center, Purdue University, and New Mexico State University. It was the first mission of a private commercial space company to demonstrate the ability to eject separate payloads that required independent re-entry into the atmosphere.

November 2: Richard Branson said the next SpaceShipTwo is nearing completion and should be ready to start testing by next February.

October 30: ARCA Space Corporation announced that it begin flight tests of its AirStrato UAV (unmanned aerial vehicle) at Spaceport America in November 2015.

October 14: NASA awarded launch services contracts for CubeSat satellites to three companies, including Virgin Galactic. The Virgin Galactic contract requires a CubeSat insertion into low-earth orbit by April 2018 by LauncherOne, which is still in development.

October 14: Researchers at the University of New Mexico and Albuquerque-based Dark Sea Industries posted a video explaining their concept of spacecraft propulsion using electric or magnetic fields in the heliosphere or magnetosphere to power magnetic sails.

October 5: Bill Gutman, director of aerospace operations at Spaceport America, announced the facility's virtual student tour program. Personnel at the spaceport conduct a tour of the mission control center and fire station that is transmitted to students in their classrooms. The tour is interactive, in that students can ask questions in real time. These low-cost virtual tours are offered to New Mexico schools and to other schools throughout the United States and some foreign countries (Australia has participated, for example).

September 25: NASA launched a balloon at Fort Sumner carrying a RaD-X experiment designed to measure cosmic ray energy at two altitudes, one between 69,000 and 88,500 feet and the other above 110,000 feet. The objective was to confirm the Nowcast of Atmospheric Ionizing Radiation for Aviation Safety (NAIRAS) modeling tool, which will be used to help enhance both aircraft safety and safety procedures for the International Space Station.

September 18: A Challenger Learning Center opened in Las Cruces, New Mexico. The Las Cruces Public Schools used money generated by the tax put in place to build Spaceport America. A portion of that tax is earmarked for education in Sierra and Dona Ana Counties.

September 9: The New Mexico Film Office announced that Spaceport America will be used in the filming of "The Space Between Us," an intergallactic love story. Shooting begins September 16 and continues for two months.

September 8: Another balloon flight from Fort Sumner carried 12 experiments designed and built by students from 10 universities. The flight lasted 23 hours at a float altitude of 123,000 feet.

September 4: A balloon launched at NASA's Columbia Scientific Balloon Facility in Fort Sumner, New Mexico, carried parachute experiments and payloads for NASA's Glenn Research Center and Marshall Space Flight Center.

September 1: ARCA Space Corporation selected Spaceport America as the test site for its space launch vehicles and high-altitude autonomous aircraft.

August 24: Virgin Galactic CEO George Whitesides said about 3 percent of ticket holders asked for refunds after last October's crash of SpaceShipTwo. He also said the number of ticket holders has almost returned to the pre-crash figure of about 750.

June 27: Improvements to Spaceport America's southern road will be delayed. A small portion of the alignment must be changed to conform to the environmental impact study area. Construction may begin by the end of 2015.

June 25: OneWeb placed an order for 39 launches from Virgin Galactic's LauncherOne to place broadband communications microsatellites into orbit. LauncherOne will be air-launched from WhiteKnightTwo, which will be based at Spaceport America.

June 24: The new Spaceport America visitor center in Truth or Consequences, NM, opened. It offers exhibits and activities as well as a gift shop. The expanded spaceport tour also began, offering access to interactive exhibits inside the terminal/hangar facility. Tour prices decreased from $59 to $49.99; advance tickets purchased online are discounted to $44.99 (spaceportamerica.com/experience). Children under 18 tour for $29.99.

May 21: A Black Brant sounding rocket launched at White Sands Missile Range carried an instrument to calibrate the Extreme Ultraviolet Variability Experiment aboard NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory satellite. It was the seventh such calibration since the SDO was placed in orbit in early 2010.

May 19: X2nSat announced a partnership with Spaceport America to build a gateway ground station for its satellite operations. X2nSat CEO Garrett C. Hill said, "This location has everything we need to do that--stable and dry weather, a southern latitude, 24/7 security, plentiful real estate, minimal electromagnetic interference, and extremely low horizons in all directions." Groundbreaking for the facility will take place later this year, and operations will begin in 2016.

May 13: The New Mexico Spaceport Authority's board of directors approved a five-year plan that includes increased emphasis on attracting new tenants, selling merchandise, and enhancing the visitors' experience.

May 1: Exos Aerospace Systems and Technologies announced it plans to begin launching its reusable Suburbital Active Rocket with Guidance (SARGE) at Spaceport America as early as March 2016. Exos was formed by some of the former employees of Armadillo Aerospace.

May 1: New Mexico Spaceport Authority's Executive Director, Christine Anderson, said paving of the southern road to the spaceport my not begin until 2016. At least part of the delay is the need to examine 45 archeological sites along the route that contain artifacts as much as 10,000 years old.

April 25: A rocket was launched carrying seven experiments developed by students and teachers at middle schools, high schools, and community colleges. It was Spaceport America's 23rd suborbital, vertical launch.

April 18: The New Mexico Tech Rocket Design Team launched an experimental rocket from Spaceport America. It was the 22nd suborbital, vertical launch since 2006.

April 9: Middle school students tried out the new interactive exhibits at Spaceport America. The exhibits will be open to the public tours in June, along with a new visitors center in Truth or Consequences, New Mexico.

March 21: SpaceX announced it will bring its first successfully recovered Falcon 9 first stage to Spaceport America for reusability testing.

March 13: The New Mexico Spaceport Authority announced that improvements to the southern access road to Spaceport America may go to bid in August, with a contract awarded in October 2015.

February 17: New Mexican Zachary Gallegos, 27, is one of 100 candidates still in the running for a one-way trip to Mars. A graduate student at the University of New Mexico, Gallegos has worked on Mars-related research for several years.

February 14: Ten private pilots and their 24 guests participated in the first-ever fly-in at Spaceport America. They were treated to a catered luncheon, a spaceport progress report by Christine Anderson, and a tour of the terminal-hangar building by a senior vice president of Virgin Galactic.

February 12: Virgin Galactic announced it will design and build LauncherOne in a former Boeing facility in Long Beach, California. The unmanned LauncherOne will be air-launched from WhiteKnightTwo from Spaceport America to send small satellites into orbit beginning in 2016.

February 12: A Spaceport America visitor center will open in Truth or Consequences, New Mexico, in May 2015. Located in a historic adobe building built in 1935, it will feature space-related displays and interactive exhibits. Follow the Sun tours will increase the frequency of spaceport tours, which will leave from the visitor center, to five days a week from the current three days a week.

February 3: A new Visitor Experience is nearly complete at Spaceport America. Located in a gallery of the Gateway to Space building (the terminal/hangar facility), it will feature a G-shock simulator, many interactive kiosks and displays focused on the science behing the commercial space industry. It will be open to visitors in March 2015.

January 28: Spaceport America announced its first private pilot fly-in, which will be held on February 14, 2015. The first ten pilots that register with a $500 fee will be allowed to land at the spaceport, take a private tour, and have a catered lunch for themselves and their passengers. See more information at http://spaceportamerica.com/visit-us/fly-ins/.

January 27: Virgin Galactic announced the appointment of its newest pilot, Mark "Forger" Stucky."

January 9: Virgin Galactic CEO George Whitesides said the structure of the second SpaceShipTwo is 90 percent complete, and other systems are two-thirds complete. Test flights should begin later this year, with commercial flights starting as early as 2016.

January 6: New Horizons became the first spacecraft to enter the atmosphere of Pluto. The dwarf planet's atmosphere extends more than halfway to its largest moon. New Horizons will make its closest approach to Pluto in July 2015. The spacecraft carries a portion of the ashes of astronomer Clyde Tombaugh, who discovered Pluto in 1930. Tombaugh was head of the optical measurements operation for rocket testing at White Sands Proving Ground from 1946 until 1955. He spent the rest of his career as a professor at what is now New Mexico State University. Tombaugh died in 1997.

January 6: The Sloan Digitial Sky Survey released more than 100 Terabytes of data from the third phase of the project. Using an increasingly sophisticated telescope at Apache Point Observatory in New Mexico, the third phase consisted of 2,000 nights of measuring the properties of nearly half a billion stars and galaxies. Researchers around the world can now begin analyzing the data. Phase IV of the sky survey began in July 2014 and will last 6 years.

January 2: Ninety-six-year-old space pioneer Ed Dittmer passed away in Alamogordo. During his years at Holloman Air Force Base, he trained Ham and Enos, the two chimpanzees who flew suborbital and orbital missions, respectively, prior to the manned missions of the Mercury Program. He also worked on the three flights of the Manhigh high-altitude balloon project each of which carried a man in a prototype space capsule to extremely high altitudes and generated knowledge that was incorporated into the Mercury program.
Photo Credits
Robert Goddard towing one of his rockets to the launch site near Roswell about 1931, courtesy of NASA.

WhiteKnightTwo carrying SpaceShipTwo at Spaceport America runway dedication flyover, photo by Loretta Hall.

Unless otherwise credited, all material on this site is © Loretta Hall 2010-2017.
New Mexico Space  News 2015 Archives
New Mexico's 2015 Space News Archives
December 24: Arca Space Corporation, based in Las Cruces (NM), began taking orders for its new hoverboard. The ArcaBoard is 57 inches long, 30 inches wide, and 6 inches thick. It hovers one foot above the ground and travels up to 12.5 miles per hour.

December 3: Virgin Galactic bought a Boeing 747 airplane to be the carrier of its LauncherOne small satellite vehicle.

November 19: NASA selected Virgin Galactic's LauncherOne as one of four technologies to support for nanosatellite and suborbital reusable launch systems development. NASA also selected UP Aerospace for a project in the same category.

November 18: Authorities announced the first Spaceport America Drone Summit, which will be held March 12-14, 2016. More than 1,000 attendees are expected for the event for small drone (less than 55 pounds), which will include demonstrations, workshops, and drone racing events.

November 16: The New Mexico Spaceport Authority offers parcels for development. The build-to-suit parcels range in size from 4 to 30 acres near the horizontal spaceway, and 1.5 to 22 acres near the vertical launch facility.

November 10: Virgin Galactic hired another pilot, Kelly Latimer, bringing the current total to six. Latimer is a retired lieutenant in the US Air Force, a combat veteran, and an experienced test pilot. She is the first female pilot hired by Virgin Galactic.

November 6: UP Aerospace conducted the 24th unmanned, suborbital launch from Spaceport America. It carried experiments for NASA Johnson Space Center, NASA Ames Research Center, Purdue University, and New Mexico State University. It was the first mission of a private commercial space company to demonstrate the ability to eject separate payloads that required independent re-entry into the atmosphere.

November 2: Richard Branson said the next SpaceShipTwo is nearing completion and should be ready to start testing by next February.

October 30: ARCA Space Corporation announced that it begin flight tests of its AirStrato UAV (unmanned aerial vehicle) at Spaceport America in November 2015.

October 14: NASA awarded launch services contracts for CubeSat satellites to three companies, including Virgin Galactic. The Virgin Galactic contract requires a CubeSat insertion into low-earth orbit by April 2018 by LauncherOne, which is still in development.

October 14: Researchers at the University of New Mexico and Albuquerque-based Dark Sea Industries posted a video explaining their concept of spacecraft propulsion using electric or magnetic fields in the heliosphere or magnetosphere to power magnetic sails.

October 5: Bill Gutman, director of aerospace operations at Spaceport America, announced the facility's virtual student tour program. Personnel at the spaceport conduct a tour of the mission control center and fire station that is transmitted to students in their classrooms. The tour is interactive, in that students can ask questions in real time. These low-cost virtual tours are offered to New Mexico schools and to other schools throughout the United States and some foreign countries (Australia has participated, for example).

September 25: NASA launched a balloon at Fort Sumner carrying a RaD-X experiment designed to measure cosmic ray energy at two altitudes, one between 69,000 and 88,500 feet and the other above 110,000 feet. The objective was to confirm the Nowcast of Atmospheric Ionizing Radiation for Aviation Safety (NAIRAS) modeling tool, which will be used to help enhance both aircraft safety and safety procedures for the International Space Station.

September 18: A Challenger Learning Center opened in Las Cruces, New Mexico. The Las Cruces Public Schools used money generated by the tax put in place to build Spaceport America. A portion of that tax is earmarked for education in Sierra and Dona Ana Counties.

September 9: The New Mexico Film Office announced that Spaceport America will be used in the filming of "The Space Between Us," an intergallactic love story. Shooting begins September 16 and continues for two months.

September 8: Another balloon flight from Fort Sumner carried 12 experiments designed and built by students from 10 universities. The flight lasted 23 hours at a float altitude of 123,000 feet.

September 4: A balloon launched at NASA's Columbia Scientific Balloon Facility in Fort Sumner, New Mexico, carried parachute experiments and payloads for NASA's Glenn Research Center and Marshall Space Flight Center.

September 1: ARCA Space Corporation selected Spaceport America as the test site for its space launch vehicles and high-altitude autonomous aircraft.

August 24: Virgin Galactic CEO George Whitesides said about 3 percent of ticket holders asked for refunds after last October's crash of SpaceShipTwo. He also said the number of ticket holders has almost returned to the pre-crash figure of about 750.

June 27: Improvements to Spaceport America's southern road will be delayed. A small portion of the alignment must be changed to conform to the environmental impact study area. Construction may begin by the end of 2015.

June 25: OneWeb placed an order for 39 launches from Virgin Galactic's LauncherOne to place broadband communications microsatellites into orbit. LauncherOne will be air-launched from WhiteKnightTwo, which will be based at Spaceport America.

June 24: The new Spaceport America visitor center in Truth or Consequences, NM, opened. It offers exhibits and activities as well as a gift shop. The expanded spaceport tour also began, offering access to interactive exhibits inside the terminal/hangar facility. Tour prices decreased from $59 to $49.99; advance tickets purchased online are discounted to $44.99 (spaceportamerica.com/experience). Children under 18 tour for $29.99.

May 21: A Black Brant sounding rocket launched at White Sands Missile Range carried an instrument to calibrate the Extreme Ultraviolet Variability Experiment aboard NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory satellite. It was the seventh such calibration since the SDO was placed in orbit in early 2010.

May 19: X2nSat announced a partnership with Spaceport America to build a gateway ground station for its satellite operations. X2nSat CEO Garrett C. Hill said, "This location has everything we need to do that--stable and dry weather, a southern latitude, 24/7 security, plentiful real estate, minimal electromagnetic interference, and extremely low horizons in all directions." Groundbreaking for the facility will take place later this year, and operations will begin in 2016.

May 13: The New Mexico Spaceport Authority's board of directors approved a five-year plan that includes increased emphasis on attracting new tenants, selling merchandise, and enhancing the visitors' experience.

May 1: Exos Aerospace Systems and Technologies announced it plans to begin launching its reusable Suburbital Active Rocket with Guidance (SARGE) at Spaceport America as early as March 2016. Exos was formed by some of the former employees of Armadillo Aerospace.

May 1: New Mexico Spaceport Authority's Executive Director, Christine Anderson, said paving of the southern road to the spaceport my not begin until 2016. At least part of the delay is the need to examine 45 archeological sites along the route that contain artifacts as much as 10,000 years old.

April 25: A rocket was launched carrying seven experiments developed by students and teachers at middle schools, high schools, and community colleges. It was Spaceport America's 23rd suborbital, vertical launch.

April 18: The New Mexico Tech Rocket Design Team launched an experimental rocket from Spaceport America. It was the 22nd suborbital, vertical launch since 2006.

April 9: Middle school students tried out the new interactive exhibits at Spaceport America. The exhibits will be open to the public tours in June, along with a new visitors center in Truth or Consequences, New Mexico.

March 21: SpaceX announced it will bring its first successfully recovered Falcon 9 first stage to Spaceport America for reusability testing.

March 13: The New Mexico Spaceport Authority announced that improvements to the southern access road to Spaceport America may go to bid in August, with a contract awarded in October 2015.

February 17: New Mexican Zachary Gallegos, 27, is one of 100 candidates still in the running for a one-way trip to Mars. A graduate student at the University of New Mexico, Gallegos has worked on Mars-related research for several years.

February 14: Ten private pilots and their 24 guests participated in the first-ever fly-in at Spaceport America. They were treated to a catered luncheon, a spaceport progress report by Christine Anderson, and a tour of the terminal-hangar building by a senior vice president of Virgin Galactic.

February 12: Virgin Galactic announced it will design and build LauncherOne in a former Boeing facility in Long Beach, California. The unmanned LauncherOne will be air-launched from WhiteKnightTwo from Spaceport America to send small satellites into orbit beginning in 2016.

February 12: A Spaceport America visitor center will open in Truth or Consequences, New Mexico, in May 2015. Located in a historic adobe building built in 1935, it will feature space-related displays and interactive exhibits. Follow the Sun tours will increase the frequency of spaceport tours, which will leave from the visitor center, to five days a week from the current three days a week.

February 3: A new Visitor Experience is nearly complete at Spaceport America. Located in a gallery of the Gateway to Space building (the terminal/hangar facility), it will feature a G-shock simulator, many interactive kiosks and displays focused on the science behing the commercial space industry. It will be open to visitors in March 2015.

January 28: Spaceport America announced its first private pilot fly-in, which will be held on February 14, 2015. The first ten pilots that register with a $500 fee will be allowed to land at the spaceport, take a private tour, and have a catered lunch for themselves and their passengers. See more information at http://spaceportamerica.com/visit-us/fly-ins/.

January 27: Virgin Galactic announced the appointment of its newest pilot, Mark "Forger" Stucky."

January 9: Virgin Galactic CEO George Whitesides said the structure of the second SpaceShipTwo is 90 percent complete, and other systems are two-thirds complete. Test flights should begin later this year, with commercial flights starting as early as 2016.

January 6: New Horizons became the first spacecraft to enter the atmosphere of Pluto. The dwarf planet's atmosphere extends more than halfway to its largest moon. New Horizons will make its closest approach to Pluto in July 2015. The spacecraft carries a portion of the ashes of astronomer Clyde Tombaugh, who discovered Pluto in 1930. Tombaugh was head of the optical measurements operation for rocket testing at White Sands Proving Ground from 1946 until 1955. He spent the rest of his career as a professor at what is now New Mexico State University. Tombaugh died in 1997.

January 6: The Sloan Digitial Sky Survey released more than 100 Terabytes of data from the third phase of the project. Using an increasingly sophisticated telescope at Apache Point Observatory in New Mexico, the third phase consisted of 2,000 nights of measuring the properties of nearly half a billion stars and galaxies. Researchers around the world can now begin analyzing the data. Phase IV of the sky survey began in July 2014 and will last 6 years.

January 2: Ninety-six-year-old space pioneer Ed Dittmer passed away in Alamogordo. During his years at Holloman Air Force Base, he trained Ham and Enos, the two chimpanzees who flew suborbital and orbital missions, respectively, prior to the manned missions of the Mercury Program. He also worked on the three flights of the Manhigh high-altitude balloon project each of which carried a man in a prototype space capsule to extremely high altitudes and generated knowledge that was incorporated into the Mercury program.
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Photo Credits
Robert Goddard towing one of his rockets to the launch site near Roswell about 1931, courtesy of NASA.

WhiteKnightTwo carrying SpaceShipTwo at Spaceport America runway dedication flyover, photo by Loretta Hall.
Unless otherwise credited, all material on this site is © Loretta Hall 2010-2017.