The New Mexico Spaceport Authority (NMSA) has received the renewal of its Launch Site Operator License. The license and the accompanying License Order were issued by the Federal Aviation Administration Associate Administrator for Commercial Space Transportation (FAA/AST) on December 9, 2013. This launch license renewal for Spaceport America, the nation’s first purpose-built commercial spaceport, is required by the FAA for the spaceport to host licensed vertical and horizontal launches. Spaceport America was
first licensed by the FAA in December 2008. Licenses must be renewed through an extensive review process every five years.
“This governmental approval is essential for the continuation of our commercial spaceport operations,” said NMSA Executive Director Christine Anderson. The spaceport conducted one FAA-licensed launch in 2013 and two in 2012. NMSA anticipates a steady growth in launch operations in 2014. “Since the original issuance of Spaceport America’s launch license in 2008, we have worked hard to grow our launch customer base,” Anderson said. The November 12, 2013 launch marked Spaceport America’s 20th vertical launch since its inception. “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,” according to Anderson.
Spaceport America is the first purpose-built commercial spaceport in the world. The launch complex, situated on 18,000 acres adjacent to the U.S. Army White Sands Missile
Range in southern New Mexico, has been providing commercial vertical launch services since 2006. Spaceport America has hosted 20 vertical launches thus far.