October 7: Tenant AeroVironment, Inc. (NASDAQ: AVAV) is expanding its footprint at Spaceport America, bringing two new unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) projects to New Mexico for testing and training. Operations for JUMP 20 medium unmanned aircraft systems (MUAS) and tactical unmanned aircraft systems (TUAS) have begun out of the Spaceport's Vertical Launch Area.
September 14: A balloon launched from Fort Sumner, New Mexico, carried the High-Altitude Student Platform or HASP, with its 11 student experiments and also 23 student experiments through the RockOn! Program. The NASA balloon flew at a float altitude of 122,000 feet for 14 hours before descending and landing on Sept. 15. More than 110 undergraduate students from 11 institutions worked on the HASP experiments. From those teams, 50 students were able to support the HASP Integration and System Test at the NASA Columbia Scientific Balloon Facility in early September.
August 11: For the first time, Los Alamos National Laboratory partnered with a private company to perform a suborbital flight experiment involving a Los Alamos-developed diagnostic and communication payload. An 800-pound rocket sped more than 60 miles into the atmosphere at six times the speed of sound, sending back flight diagnostics like temperature and acceleration that will be used to develop national security technology.
July 11: Virgin Galactic flew Richard Branson and five Virgin Galactic employees to an altitude of 53.5 miles from Spaceport America.