Aerospace & Defense

There are many reasons why the world’s premier aerospace companies do business in New Mexico. Here are just a few:

  • Ideal flying weather - 310 days of sunshine per year means minimal delays due to weather conditions, and the combination of high altitude and dry air lowers fuel costs and lessens conditions for corrosion
  • Superior launch opportunity - low air traffic and restricted airspace adjacent to White Sands Missile Range
  • Land - New Mexico is the fifth largest state geographically with a very low population density of only 17 persons per square mile
  • People - New Mexico’s workforce is ranked our workforce first in manufacturing value added (2014 State New Economy Index) and the state’s Job Training Incentive Program is ranked 5th in the nation (Business Facilities).
  • Flight Testing - Three testing facilities and 15,000 square miles of restricted air space
  • Track record - Robert Goddard, Wernher von Braun, and NASA all chose New Mexico to conduct their research
  • Research - Home to the Air Force Research Laboratory's Space Directorate
  • New Mexico has the lowest property tax in the nation, no inventory tax, and offers many incentives for new jobs and investment

Spaceport America

Spaceport America is owned by the State of New Mexico and is the world’s first purpose-built commercial spaceport. Virgin Galactic has entered into a 20 year lease to locate its world headquarters at Spaceport America and launch its space tourism program. The Spaceport Operations Center is a 14,000 square foot dome structure that houses the Spaceport offices, support contractor offices, and emergency response personnel and equipment. The Spaceport runway is 10,000 feet by 200 feet in the 16-34 orientation. The concrete surface is designed to accommodate all classes of aircraft including wide body commercial aircraft. Spaceport America is also used by numerous private companies and scientific and engineering research programs. Currently there are a number of entrepreneurs developing and flying both vertical and horizontal launch vehicles towards exploring commercial space travel opportunities. In addition to Virgin Galactic, Spaceport America clients include Lockheed Martin, Boeing, Moog-FTS, UP Aerospace, Microgravity Enterprises, Armadillo Aerospace, and Celestis.

New Space NM

New Space NM promotes New Mexico as a lead state in the space industry. New Space NM Council, made up of leaders from industry, government and academia, works together to make New Mexico a center of innovation for space. New Space NM creates the environment for the New Mexico commercial space ecosystem to grow by connecting ideas, people and resources; connecting investment opportunities and consumers to NM space companies; providing a bigger voice for the space industry stakeholders; connecting tools, facilities and services for existing and new space companies; and generating a high-tech space workforce. Read "The Future in Space is in New Mexico" report from February 2019.

Aerospace Research, Testing & Development

New Mexico is home to 3 national research laboratories, each of which conducts R&D for the space industry; 3 Air Force bases; and 3 testing facilities with access to the restricted air space in southern New Mexico.

National Laboratories:

Test facilities:

U.S. Air Force Bases:

Aerospace Industry Degree Programs & Certificates

Central New Mexico Community College (CNM) offers three certificates/degrees under Aviation Technology:

  • Airframe Maintenance Technician, Certificate of Completion
  • Power plant Maintenance Technician, Certificate of Completion
  • Aviation Maintenance Technology, Associate of Applied Science

Eastern New Mexico University – Roswell offers both an associate’s degree and a Certificate of Completion in Aviation Maintenance Technology.

The University of New Mexico School of Engineering offers a degree in Aerospace Engineering and is currently offering classes in the following fields:

  • Dynamics & Controls
  • Fluids
  • Manufacturing Engineering Program
  • Plasma & Space Weather
  • Space Communications
  • Structures