Populous Engaged by RS&H to Collaborate on New Mexico’s Spaceport America Master Plan

May 11, 2023

The New Mexico Spaceport Authority (NMSA) has awarded the Spaceport America Master Plan Project to the RS&H team, with Populous and Zia Engineering & Environmental Consultants respectively leading key aspects of the future visioning and environmental stewardship critical to the project. Spaceport America and NMSA will partner with the team to identify the current and future market opportunities that will drive the success of Spaceport America.

The spaceport master plan study will include various considerations for future operations (space and aviation), macro and micro-industry trends, national security space requirements and operations, public and private investments, potential launch vehicles operating from the site, frequency of flights, potential payloads, propellant storage, regulatory trends, and development options for future spaceport operations.

Populous will provide master-planning support to the team, in addition to leading the branding and event programming analysis efforts during the 12-month master plan effort.

“Commercial space operations are growing at a tremendous rate, and due to the foresight of New Mexico leaders going back more than two decades, Spaceport America is primed for this evolution,” said Scott McLaughlin, Executive Director of NMSA. “The master plan will help sharpen the focus for this journey, concentrating on markets that best fit our substantial and unique competitive advantages – which someday will very likely include orbital launch and reentry.”

“Spaceport America is our gateway to a new frontier and plays an essential role in the advancement of space travel, scientific research, technological innovation, and national security,” said Brian Mirakian, Populous senior principal. “This is an exciting moment for Populous and we couldn’t be more thrilled for the opportunity to work alongside our partners on this ambitious project as we chart the future for the first purpose-built spaceport in the world.”

The team will engage with local, state, and national aerospace leaders to help guide the sustainable development of Spaceport America. This feedback will help determine ways to meet the needs of high technology companies and entities that form the cornerstone of the burgeoning space industry operating at Spaceport America, while also ensuring the NMSA mission is fulfilled to promote economic development, safety, education, work force, and strong environmental stewardship. These efforts will further position New Mexico and Spaceport America on a critical path forward to support growth in the community and future operations at Spaceport America.

Andrew Nelson, RS&H Vice President of Aerospace noted, “I am looking forward to working with Spaceport America and the State of New Mexico on this important project; but more importantly, I am excited about the opportunity to engage with many local and statewide citizens on the future of Spaceport America.”

Stakeholders will play a critical role in this 12-month effort to develop the master plan as the team works to identify opportunities for growth in New Mexico’s aerospace industry. Public involvement will help define the best path ahead for Spaceport America through a “needs and wants” assessment. In this effort, RS&H will launch a comprehensive outreach campaign to facilitate engagement with key stakeholders.


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