June 18, 2020 – HAPSMobile, Inc., a subsidiary of Japan’s telecommunications operator SoftBank Corp., and its partner AeroVironment, Inc. announced new operations center at Spaceport America in New Mexico on June 11.
The companies are developing an unmanned solar-powered High-Altitude Platform Station (HAPS).The stratospheric telecommunications platform, a so-called cell-tower in the sky, is designed to provide better communications to under-served areas, including rural communities.
New Mexico-based construction firm Sandy Jones Contractor was tasked to build the $8 million project at Spaceport America. The project consisted of a 500 x 4,000 foot earthen runway, a seven-acre paved facility, an 80 x 300-foot membrane hangar, and running all the primary power and communication lines needed for the company.
The New Mexico team was able to turn the entire project around in less than four months, employing all local contractors – 65 in total.
“This was one of the largest projects ever built in Sierra County,” said Jones. “Not only did we only use New Mexico workers, all the materials were sourced locally as well. This was a huge boost to our local economy – especially when we’ve been hit so hard with the COVID-19 pandemic. What people don’t understand about the Spaceport is this is just one of the several projects currently underway there.
“This project alone will generate $500,000 in gross receipts tax, and that is huge in this time when our local economy is struggling.”
Jones credits the support his company received from the Governor’s office and various state agencies in having the approvals done in a timely fashion so the project could be completed on time and on budget.
About Spaceport America
Spaceport America (https://www.spaceportamerica.com) 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 runway, vertical launch complexes, and about 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, EXOS Aerospace, and SpinLaunch.