EL PASO, Texas (KTSM)- The El Paso County Commissioners Court earlier this month approved the legal documents that will allow it to form a spaceport development corporation in West Texas.
The spaceport development corporation is expected to further synergize the aerospace research, manufacturing and space flight activity that is fast becoming an economic hallmark of West Texas.
This corporation, called the West Texas Spaceport Development Corporation, would become
Texas’ fifth spaceport and would make the region from El Paso County to Culberson County
eligible for grants available through the state’s Spaceport Trust Fund.
El Paso County’s airport in Fabens features UTEP’s Aerospace Center research and development platform for the testing of aerospace innovations.
UTEP has many graduates who have continued their work in the industry at Blue Origin, NASA, Lockheed Martin and other aerospace entities.
“More importantly, the corporation will fuse together West Texas communities such as El Paso
and Van Horn, higher education institutions such as UTEP and aerospace companies including
Blue Origin to develop regional goals around workforce development and support for business
that stokes private investment and creates job opportunities for residents,” said Commissioner
Iliana Holguin, Precinct 3.
The West Texas Spaceport Development Corporation will be governed by a board of seven
directors to serve two-year terms.
It will include representation from El Paso County, Van Horn, the Economic Development Corporation, El Paso Chamber, Workforce Solutions Borderplex, UTEP and the Rio Grande Council of Governments.
The Commissioners Court vote allows El Paso County to submit incorporation documents with the Texas secretary of state.
El Paso Chamber President and CEO Andrea Hutchins said the corporation will help grow commercial opportunities and signal to aerospace companies that West Texas is ripe for
“The Chamber is pleased to support these efforts and will continue to seek funding opportunities from outside of our region to benefit the growth of our economy,” Hutchins said.
El Paso County sits between two important launch sites that have been developed for commercial space flight: Blue Origin’s launch and landing pad just north of Van Horn as well as Spaceport America, which is about 40 miles north of Las Cruces, New Mexico.
The spaceport and its activity would complement the development of a regional aerospace and
defense manufacturing district in El Paso that is being developed with help from the recently
awarded $40 million EDA Build Back Better Regional Challenge Grant and local matching funds
provided by El Paso County and the City of El Paso.