Rocket recorded an altitude in excess of 328,000 feet at apogee

Spaceport America, NM–May 22, 2019Spaceport America, the world’s first purpose-built commercial spaceport located in southern New Mexico in the USA and the University of Southern California Viterbi School of Engineering Rocket Propulsion Lab announced with a high degree of certainty a record-breaking rocket launch took place from Spaceport America’s Vertical Launch Complex-1 on the East Campus in New Mexico on April 21, 2019. USC’s team is the first university team to launch a rocket that reached the Kármán Line.

USC students and Alumni cheered alongside Spaceport America crewmembers as the Traveler IV rocket soared past the previously held apogee to bring back the Spaceport America Student Rocket record to USC’s Viterbi School of Engineering.

“Spaceport America (SA) personnel have reviewed the methodology whereby University of Southern California Rocket Propulsion Laboratory (USC RPL) students analyzed performance data and estimated the apogee altitude of their Traveler IV rocket that was flown at SA on April 21, 2019,” said Dr. Bill Gutman, Spaceport America Director of Aerospace Operations. “SA believes that the methodology is sound and objective. In fact, RPL has offered to make their data available to other groups who may want to perform their own analyses. Spaceport America believes that, with a high level of confidence, USC RPL is the first student rocket team to have reached the Kármán Line with a student designed and constructed vehicle, and we congratulate them accordingly.”

“The USC RPL student team continues to excel with their ingenuity, energy and ambition. Consisting entirely of undergraduate students from many engineering majors, the team has reached another milestone in their history. They are a great promise for the important roles they will surely play in space travel and exploration in the future,” said Yannis C. Yortsos, Dean of the USC Viterbi School of Engineering.

Anaysis indicates that the USC Traveler IV reached an altitude of 103 km (64 miles) as indicated by analysis of on-board accelerometer data, with independent corroboration using the onboard barometric pressure readings during descent.

About USC Viterbi School of Engineering

Engineering Studies began at the University of Southern California in 1905. Nearly a century later, the Viterbi School of Engineering received a naming gift in 2004 from alumnus Andrew J. Viterbi, inventor of the Viterbi algorithm now key to cell phone technology and numerous data applications. One of the school’s guiding principles is engineering +, a coined termed by current Dean Yannis C. Yortsos, to use the power of engineering to address the world’s greatest challenges. USC Viterbi is ranked among the top graduate programs in the world and enrolls more than 8,500 undergraduate and graduate students taught by 188 tenured and tenure-track faculty, with 96 endowed chairs and professorships. http://viterbi.usc.edu/

About Spaceport America

Spaceport America is the first purpose-built commercial spaceport in the world. The FAA-licensed launch complex, situated on 18,000 acres adjacent to the U.S. Army White Sands Missile Range in southern New Mexico, has a rocket friendly environment of 6,000 square miles of restricted airspace, low population density, a 12,000-foot spaceway, and 340 days of sunshine and low humidity. Some of the most respected companies in the commercial space industry are customers at Spaceport America: Virgin Galactic, Boeing, UP Aerospace, HyperSciences, EXOS Aerospace, and SpinLaunch. Visit https://spaceportamerica.com for more information.Visit https://spaceportamerica.com and http://gatewaytospace.com for more information. Spaceport America is #NewMexicoTRUE.

Twitter:      @Spaceport_NM

Facebook: @spaceportNM

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Contacts:                                                            

Rosa Banuelos                                                    Amy Blumenthal

Media Relations                                                   Media Relations

Spaceport America                                             USC Viterbi School of Engineering

+1.575.202.4524                                                 +1.917.710.1897     

media@spaceportamerica.com                      amyblume@usc.edu

SANTA FE, NEW MEXICO (May 10, 2019) — At a press conference today at the New Mexico State Capitol Building in Santa Fe, hosted by New Mexico Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham, Virgin Founder Sir Richard Branson announced that Virgin Galactic’s development and testing program had advanced sufficiently to move the spaceline staff and space vehicles from Mojave, California to their commercial operations headquarters at Spaceport America, New Mexico. The move, which involves more than 100 staff, will commence immediately and continue through the summer, to minimise schooling disruption for families.

Virgin Galactic partnered with New Mexico in an agreement which saw the state complete construction of Spaceport America, the world’s first, purpose-built commercial spaceport, and Virgin Galactic committing to center its commercial spaceflight activities at the facilities once its vehicles and operations were ready for service.

This announcement signals the final countdown to a regular commercial spaceflight service for paying passengers and science research from Spaceport America. It follows the great progress in operational readiness at Spaceport, including the completion of the hanger, offices, fuel farm, warehouse and antenna for telemetry and communications, as well as interior fit-out. It also positions New Mexico on the frontline of technological innovation and, as one of the very few places on Earth that plays host to regular human spaceflight launches, a magnet for inward investment.

Virgin Galactic will reposition its space system consisting of carrier aircraft VMS Eve and spaceship VSS Unity from Mojave, California to Spaceport America over the summer months once cabin interior and other work has been completed by Virgin Galactic’s sister manufacturing organisation, The Spaceship Company (TSC). It will complete its final test flights from New Mexico for commencing a full commercial service for passengers and research payload. TSC will remain based in Mojave where it will continue building Virgin Galactic’s planned fleet of SpaceShipTwo and carrier aircraft WhiteKnightTwo vehicles.

Commenting on the announcement, New Mexico Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham said: “Virgin Galactic’s announcement today is an incredibly exciting development for both our state’s economic future and the future of aerospace in general.  With these workers here and with these plans firmly in place, I’m certain New Mexico will serve as the launchpad for the rapid industry growth we’ve been expecting for so many years. Today marks the beginning of the next chapter of aerospace in New Mexico.”​

Sir Richard Branson said: “Our Virgin Galactic adventure has been intertwined with New Mexico and Spaceport America right from the start and our stories have unfolded together. New Mexico delivered on its promise to build a world-first and world-class spaceport. Today, I could not be more excited to announce, that in return, we are now ready to bring New Mexico a world-first, world-class spaceline. Virgin Galactic is coming home to New Mexico where together we will open space to change the world for good.”

George Whitesides, CEO of Virgin Galactic and The Spaceship Company said: “The first photograph of Earth from space was taken over New Mexico in October of 1946.  How inspiring and appropriate that the state will soon host the first regular commercial spaceflight service, which will enable thousands of people to see Earth from space with their own eyes.  We are deeply grateful to the citizens and leadership of New Mexico for having the vision to create a better future for their children and all of humanity.”

Dan Hicks, CEO of Spaceport America added, “Going to space and exploring the universe is a team effort.  It takes strong partnerships that are courageous and also vulnerable.  Sir Richard’s visionary leadership to take meaningful risks along with New Mexico leadership’s far-sighted commitment – epitomizes the successful partnerships that are truly needed for the space industry.  I and the rest of the Spaceport America staff are extremely excited to support Virgin Galactic’s continued growth and future success here in New Mexico.”

Virgin Galactic is the world’s first commercial spaceline. Founded by Sir Richard Branson and owned by the Virgin Group and Mubadala Investment Company, Virgin Galactic will transform access to space for the benefit of life on Earth. To date, over 600 men and women from over 50 countries—greater than the total number of humans who have ever been to space—have reserved places to fly on Virgin Galactic’s reusable space launch system, consisting of carrier aircraft WhiteKnightTwo and spacecraft SpaceShipTwo. SpaceShipTwo and WhiteKnightTwo are manufactured and tested in Mojave, California by its manufacturing partner, The Spaceship Company (TSC). Spaceflight operations will be based at Spaceport America in New Mexico, the world’s first purpose-built commercial spaceport. 

The Spaceship Company (TSC) is Virgin Galactic’s space-system manufacturing organization. Headquartered at Mojave Air and Space Port in Mojave, California, it is building and testing a fleet of WhiteKnightTwo carrier aircraft and SpaceShipTwo reusable spaceships that, together, form Virgin Galactic’s human spaceflight system. Its team of talented and dedicated engineers, technicians and professionals are drawn together by a willingness to disrupt and challenge the status quo and deliver innovative aerospace solutions to our customers’ needs. TSC’s extensive capabilities encompass preliminary vehicle design and analysis, manufacturing, ground testing, flight testing and post-delivery support.

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SPACEPORT AMERICA, NEW MEXICO (May 7, 2019) —  Spaceport America, the world’s first purpose-built commercial spaceport, and SpinLaunch, an innovative new space company revolutionizing access to space, today celebrated the ground-breaking of SpinLaunch’s future test facility at Spaceport America.

Attending the groundbreaking ceremony was Dan Hicks, CEO, Spaceport America, Alicia Keyes, Cabinet Secretary for Economic Development for the State of New Mexico, and Jonathan Yaney, founder and CEO of SpinLaunch, among New Mexico government and business leaders, and students from area universities.

In January, Spaceport America announced a new lease agreement that will facilitate testing for the new launch company. The new agreement enables SpinLaunch to develop a $7 million construction project, adding 20 new jobs in New Mexico at the Spaceport.

SpinLaunch, which was founded in 2014, and last year announced a $40 million Series A financing round funded by Airbus Ventures, Google Ventures and Kleiner Perkins, is developing disruptive launch technology with an environmentally responsible kinetic energy-based launch system that will provide the world’s lowest-cost orbital launch services for the rapidly growing small satellite industry. The responsive launch system will allow for on-demand launches of small satellites in virtually any weather at an order of magnitude lower cost and higher frequency than any existing or proposed launch system.

“We are excited to be developing our first flight test site at Spaceport America,” remarked Jonathan Yaney, CEO, SpinLaunch. “The state of New Mexico historically has been the genesis of innovation in aerospace going back to the early days of rocketry and we are proud to continue this tradition. The commercial space market is expected to grow to a trillion dollar industry within the decade and this new agreement with Spaceport America will expedite our ability to service that emerging market.”

“I’m excited to welcome an innovative company like SpinLaunch to our state,” Gov. Lujan Grisham said. “Aerospace has tremendous potential as an economic driver, and any step we take that encourages the growth of an industry that can put New Mexicans to work and catalyze our local communities is a very positive development.”

“The citizens of New Mexico have supported Spaceport America to enable a new revolution in space systems,” said Dan Hicks, CEO, Spaceport America. “SpinLaunch, with its new configuration to employ kinetic energy, is truly one of the most exciting new ventures to enter the space industry and we are excited to be part of their growth – and in turn enable the growth of the small satellite market.”

“In New Mexico space is not the final frontier, it’s the next frontier,” said Cabinet Secretary Alicia J. Keyes of the Economic Development Department. “We have the facility, we have the talent and we have the air space, to grow the aerospace industry and be a permanent home to SpinLaunch and other companies.”

SpinLaunch is reimagining space launch by revisiting fundamental physics and leveraging proven industrial technologies to create a system that accelerates the launch vehicle to hypersonic speeds using ground-based energy. Applying the initial performance boost from a terrestrial-based launch platform will enable the company to provide a substantially lower cost launch to orbit, multiple times per day.

Spaceport America is the first purpose-built commercial spaceport in the world. The FAA-licensed launch complex, situated on 18,000 acres adjacent to the U.S. Army White Sands Missile Range in southern New Mexico, has a rocket friendly environment of 6,000 square miles of restricted airspace, low population density, a 12,000-foot spaceway, and 340 days of sunshine and low humidity. Some of the most respected companies in the commercial space industry are customers at Spaceport America: Virgin Galactic, Boeing, UP Aerospace, HyperSciences, EXOS Aerospace, and SpinLaunch. Visit https://spaceportamerica.com for more information.

Media Contacts:

Spaceport America                                       SpinLaunch

Rosa Banuelos                                               Diane Murphy

+1.575.202.4524                                            +1.310.658.8756

media@spaceportamerica.com                     dmurphy@spinlaunch.com

https://spaceportamerica.com                          www.spinlaunch.com