First Launch Set For New Mexico's Spaceport

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UP Aerospace, of Connecticut, will be the first company to launch a rocket from New Mexico's Southwest Regional Spaceport, in March 2006. "This launch will be a brilliant signal flare that will let the nation and the world know New Mexico's spaceport is open for business," New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson announced last week. (We'll keep our eyes to the Mojave skies for unexpected developments.) UP Aerospace will launch its SpaceLoft rocket on a suborbital flight carrying seven experimental and commercial payloads for a variety of scholastic and business groups. After traveling into space, the rocket and its payloads will land in the downrange area of the Spaceport. Three launches are planned for 2006, 12 for 2007 and up to 30 in 2008. "This is a milestone event in the history of aerospace," said Eric Knight, CEO of UP Aerospace. "For the first time in all of space flight, a facility is now available for regularly scheduled, private space launches. ... the 'final frontier' is now open to everyone." The company has said it can offer access to space for as little as $25,000.