WASHINGTON, D.C. ― U.S. Senators Tom Udall and Martin Heinrich and U.S. Representatives Steve Pearce, Ben Ray Luján and Michelle Lujan Grisham have encouraged Boeing to conduct the Phantom Express development contract at Spaceport America (SPA) with support of White Sands Missile Range (WSMR).
“New Mexico offers a number of strategic advantages for Boeing’s spaceplane contract, and I’m confident that a partnership with Spaceport America and White Sands Missile Range will lead to the successful completion of this program. These sites have the necessary infrastructure in place, including access to essential technologies, an able and ready workforce, incomparable access to airspace, and other testing capabilities to support operations and our nation’s security interests,” Pearce said. “New Mexico has unique geographic benefits that will allow it to continue to grow as an exemplary location for training and testing projects going forward. In addition, New Mexico has a long history in the space sector, including NASA’s White Sands division which has supported every U.S. manned space mission to date. As Boeing moves forward in their scoping phase, it is my hope that they will seriously consider New Mexico to home their new spaceplane project. I look forward to working with my colleagues in the New Mexico delegation, local governments, and necessary agencies to advance the commercial space sector.”
“As we noted in our letter, there are a number of advantages that New Mexico offers as Boeing looks for the optimal site for this project – ideal flying weather, unhindered airspace, and proven long-term relationships with national labs and other national security initiatives in our state,” Luján said.
“Boeing already has a significant presence and investment in New Mexico with its directed energy and space research,” Lujan Grisham said. “I encourage Boeing to build on those investments and make New Mexico a central part of its aerospace strategy. This is exactly the type of investment we need to help jump-start and create a sustainable economy.”
“New Mexico’s restricted airspace, technical workforce, decades of experience working with NASA, and the inland location of the Spaceport make it the ideal location for Boeing to conduct the Phantom Express development contract,” Udall said. “Boeing’s XS-1 is well prepared to take advantage of the first mile above sea level with a reusable launch proposal well suited for New Mexico’s spaceport. Our nation has a need to continue to develop strategic inland space launch capabilities, and a partnership between Boeing, White Sands Missile Range and Spaceport America would support both our national security and the growth and development of commercial space. I look forward to continuing to collaborate with the delegation, our federal agencies, the state and local governments on this project and other efforts to strengthen our national security and New Mexico’s vital federal installations.”
“Our state has long been the frontier of space exploration. With assets such as Spaceport America, our national laboratories, and innovative research universities, New Mexico is uniquely positioned to help propel the commercial space industry forward,” Heinrich said. “As Boeing continues the scoping process, I hope they will consider New Mexico as a partner and destination for its Phantom Express development contract. I will continue to support efforts that strengthen commercial spaceflight industry in New Mexico, and create jobs and bolster our economy.”
Boeing was awarded the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency’s (DARPA) XS-1 Spaceplane Contract that has been named the “Phantom Express.” This is a joint P3 with DARPA and Boeing with the purpose of developing a reusable space aircraft that can deploy medium payload for a cheaper cost. Currently, Boeing is in the scoping phase for deciding a primary site for the XS-1 program.