July 23: The HAWK30, a solar-powered high-altitude "cell tower in the sky" made its first test flight at Spaceport America. Testing of the new communications glider will continue at the $8-million facility constructed  at the spaceport by its developer. The company now has 35 employees working in the area to support the program.

July 20: Data from the Sloan Digital Sky Survey's (SDSS's) most recent project has enabled astrophysicists to create the largest-ever 3-D map of the Universe. Data collection was accomplished during a six-year period at the Apache Point Observatory in New Mexico and the Las Campanas Observatory in Chile (the country, not the pepper). Both observatories have similar 2.5-meter telescopes and are gearing up for the next phase of the SDSS.

June 25: Virgin Galactic's SpaceShipTwo, Unity, completed its second glide test at Spaceport America. This was a higher speed test than the previous glide test at the spaceport, this one reaching Mach 0.85. Unity is now ready to begin powered test flights at Spaceport America, which is at a higher elevation than the previous test site at Mojave, California.

June 22: Virgin Galactic signed a Space Act Agreement with NASA's Johnson Space Center to develop a "private orbital astronaut readiness program" that would handle various aspects of flying private individuals to the station, including identifying potential customers, handling training, and arranging with third parties for transportation to the station.

June 21: Boeing conducted a successful test of the parachute system on its Starliner crew capsule at White Sands Space Harbor.

June 13: Four pilots took Virgin Galactic's mothership, VMS Eve, on two proficiency flights at Spaceport America.

June 12: Spaceport America announced that HAPSMobile, Inc., has signed on to flight test its high-altitude, pseudo satellite, the HAWK30, at the spaceport. HAWK30 is a solar-powered flying wing vehicle designed to stay aloft for 6 months at 65,000 feet altitude to serve as an alternative to cell towers and communications satellites.

May 1: Virgin Galactic successfully completed the first glide test at Spaceport America of its SpaceShipTwo, VSS Unity. The spacecraft was released from its mothership at an altitude of 50,000 feet and reached an unpowered speed of Mach 0.7 before gliding in for a smooth landing on the spaceport's runway.

February 15: The SETI Institute is beginning to develop hardware and software to install in the Very Large Array (VLA) in New Mexico to piggyback on the VLA's normal observations for other scientists. SETI is the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence. Operations will begin in late 2021.

February 13: Virgin Galactic's spaceship Unity arrived at its new home, Spaceport America in southern New Mexico. Following some additional test flights, commercial operations will begin at the spaceport.

January 30: Spaceport America announced two new tennants coming in 2020. TMD Defense and Space will begin testing ballistic missiles there this fall. White Sands Research and Developers will develop a payload testing station at the spaceport as well as making the facility its home base for rocket launches.

January 29: NASA is opening its Flight Opportunities program to allowing researchers to ride along with their experiments on high-altitude balloons (such as those launched from Fort Sumner, New Mexico) and reusable suborbital vehicles including Virgin Galactic's SpaceShipTwo (which will fly from Spaceport America).

January 25: After two years of testing, a new tool is ready to start investigating the atmospheres of planets outside our solar system. NESSI (the New Mexico Exoplanet Spectroscopic Survey Instrument) was developed by the New Mexico Tech university and JPL. It is mounted on the 200-inch Hale Telescope at Palomar Observatory in California.

January 16: SpinLaunch raised $35 million (in addition to an earlier $45 million) to fund development of its innovative kinetic launch system. Part of the new funds will be used to complete its flight test facility at Spaceport America in New Mexico. The company plans its first flight test later this year, with commercial launches beginning in 2022 if all goes well.

January 1: New Mexico astronomer Alan Hale (of Comet Hale-Bopp fame) started a weekly online educational site called Ice and Stone 2020. Each week's posting features a look back at "This Week in History," a "Comet of the Week," and a "Special Topic" related to small extraterrestrial bodies. RocketSTEM mirrors Hale's weekly postings with two additions: downloadable educational resources and the ability to sign up for emails to let you know when weekly posts are online (a handy reminder so you don't forget to check out the new information).
New Mexico
Space News Archives

New Mexico Space  News Archives
Each month during 2020, the previous month's postings to New Mexico Space News will be added to this page. Please use the links on the lower left to access postings from previous years.
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Each month during 2020, a previous month's postings to New Mexico Space News will be moved to this page. Please use the links on the left to access postings from previous years.

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July 23: The HAWK30, a solar-powered high-altitude "cell tower in the sky" made its first test flight at Spaceport America. Testing of the new communications glider will continue at the $8-million facility constructed  at the spaceport by its developer. The company now has 35 employees working in the area to support the program.

July 20: Data from the Sloan Digital Sky Survey's (SDSS's) most recent project has enabled astrophysicists to create the largest-ever 3-D map of the Universe. Data collection was accomplished during a six-year period at the Apache Point Observatory in New Mexico and the Las Campanas Observatory in Chile (the country, not the pepper). Both observatories have similar 2.5-meter telescopes and are gearing up for the next phase of the SDSS.

June 25: Virgin Galactic's SpaceShipTwo, Unity, completed its second glide test at Spaceport America. This was a higher speed test than the previous glide test at the spaceport, this one reaching Mach 0.85. Unity is now ready to begin powered test flights at Spaceport America, which is at a higher elevation than the previous test site at Mojave, California.

June 22: Virgin Galactic signed a Space Act Agreement with NASA's Johnson Space Center to develop a "private orbital astronaut readiness program" that would handle various aspects of flying private individuals to the station, including identifying potential customers, handling training, and arranging with third parties for transportation to the station.

June 21: Boeing conducted a successful test of the parachute system on its Starliner crew capsule at White Sands Space Harbor.

June 13: Four pilots took Virgin Galactic's mothership, VMS Eve, on two proficiency flights at Spaceport America.

June 12: Spaceport America announced that HAPSMobile, Inc., has signed on to flight test its high-altitude, pseudo satellite, the HAWK30, at the spaceport. HAWK30 is a solar-powered flying wing vehicle designed to stay aloft for 6 months at 65,000 feet altitude to serve as an alternative to cell towers and communications satellites.

May 1: Virgin Galactic successfully completed the first glide test at Spaceport America of its SpaceShipTwo, VSS Unity. The spacecraft was released from its mothership at an altitude of 50,000 feet and reached an unpowered speed of Mach 0.7 before gliding in for a smooth landing on the spaceport's runway.

February 15: The SETI Institute is beginning to develop hardware and software to install in the Very Large Array (VLA) in New Mexico to piggyback on the VLA's normal observations for other scientists. SETI is the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence. Operations will begin in late 2021.

February 13: Virgin Galactic's spaceship Unity arrived at its new home, Spaceport America in southern New Mexico. Following some additional test flights, commercial operations will begin at the spaceport.

January 30: Spaceport America announced two new tennants coming in 2020. TMD Defense and Space will begin testing ballistic missiles there this fall. White Sands Research and Developers will develop a payload testing station at the spaceport as well as making the facility its home base for rocket launches.

January 29: NASA is opening its Flight Opportunities program to allowing researchers to ride along with their experiments on high-altitude balloons (such as those launched from Fort Sumner, New Mexico) and reusable suborbital vehicles including Virgin Galactic's SpaceShipTwo (which will fly from Spaceport America).

January 25: After two years of testing, a new tool is ready to start investigating the atmospheres of planets outside our solar system. NESSI (the New Mexico Exoplanet Spectroscopic Survey Instrument) was developed by the New Mexico Tech university and JPL. It is mounted on the 200-inch Hale Telescope at Palomar Observatory in California.

January 16: SpinLaunch raised $35 million (in addition to an earlier $45 million) to fund development of its innovative kinetic launch system. Part of the new funds will be used to complete its flight test facility at Spaceport America in New Mexico. The company plans its first flight test later this year, with commercial launches beginning in 2022 if all goes well.

January 1: New Mexico astronomer Alan Hale (of Comet Hale-Bopp fame) started a weekly online educational site called Ice and Stone 2020. Each week's posting features a look back at "This Week in History," a "Comet of the Week," and a "Special Topic" related to small extraterrestrial bodies. RocketSTEM mirrors Hale's weekly postings with two additions: downloadable educational resources and the ability to sign up for emails to let you know when weekly posts are online (a handy reminder so you don't forget to check out the new information).
See previous years' news archives:
2019
2018
2017
2016
2015
2014
2013
2012
2011
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 2010-2020.
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 2010-2020.