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Leaders In Commercial Space Flight Visit Las Cruces For Symposium


Leaders in the commercial space industry recently came together in Las Cruces to talk about the industry and share ideas on what they believe it will take for the commercial space business to succeed.

The theme for this year’s International Symposium for Personal and Commercial Spaceflight was “We will not stop” The symposium brought together industry professionals to demonstrate and discuss what they are excited about within the industry along with challenges.

Pat Hynes, Curator for ISPCS says the symposium’s mission is to grow the industry by bringing people together.

“Collectively, we will learn a whole lot more when we talk together. So, that’s the point of bringing people together in one room. So, the whole symposium occurs in one place,” says Hynes.

Hynes also says that the symposium offers the community of Southern New Mexico, which is home to Spaceport America, an opportunity to get a better idea of what it takes to succeed in the industry.

“I bring people here who are building the flight vehicles that are flying at other spaceports that are testing at other spaceports, so that the people in our community can get a perspective on what it takes,” says Hynes.


Spaceport America’s anchor tenant, Virgin Galactic was one of the companies represented at the symposium. Jonathan Firth, Executive Vice President for Spaceport and Program Development for the company says that this event is a great thing for the Las Cruces area.

“This event brings people from the commercial space industry around the country and from overseas here to Las Cruces which is a fantastic thing, you know it puts it at the center of the commercial space industry,” says Firth.

KRWG asked Firth about where Virgin Galactic was at for a possible test launch at Spaceport America. He declined to comment. It’s been nearly 2 years since a Virgin Galactic spaceship crashed in the Mojave Desert leaving one pilot dead and injuring another.

Firth did say that Virgin Galactic is still committed to commercial space launches at Spaceport America.  

“We have a twenty-year lease at Spaceport America. We’ve been paying rent on it now for nearly five years. Six million dollars have already been spent, seven million dollars to New Mexico suppliers already in the pre-operations phase,” says Firth.

Firth also says that Virgin Galactic has just signed a new lease at an office facility here in Las Cruces for another five years.

The ISPCS says this is the twelfth year of the symposium, which continues to bring industry leaders together to grow the commercial space industry.