Spaceport America announced today that the New Mexico Spaceport Authority (NMSA) has received the renewal of its Launch Site Operator License. The license renewal is required by FAA so that the spaceport can continue to launch vertical and horizontal craft from the only site in the world dedicated to commercial space endeavors. The launch complex is located on 18,000 acres next to the U.S. Army White Sands Missile Range in southern New Mexico.
As of the end of 2013, Spaceport America has already hosted 20 vertical launches and NMSA is expecting a continuing growth in launch operations in 2014. According to NMSA Executive Director Christine Anderson, "The spaceport is going to be a very busy place, as SpaceX starts testing its Falcon 9R booster and Virgin Galactic begins to ramp up its New Mexico operations."
Virgin Galactic is a company within Richard Branson's Virgin Group which plans to provide suborbital spaceflights to space tourists, suborbital launches for space science missions, and orbital launches of small satellites. In fact, Sir Richard Branson, founder of Virgin Galactic, announced in his blog that American actor Ashton Kutcher will be the 500th future astronaut customer at Virgin Galactic.
Visitors can sign up for preview tours of the Spaceport America facility at: www.spaceportamerica.com/plan-a-visit/preview-tours/