WASHINGTON — In partnership with the Air Force Research Laboratory, NewSpace New Mexico has launched a new innovation hub in Albuquerque with $11 million in federal funding to facilitate growth in the emerging space industry around Kirtland Air Force Base.

NewSpace New Mexico is a nonprofit focused on promoting the growing space industry in the state. Now with dedicated funding from the fiscal 2020 and 2021 National Defense Authorization Acts, the organization is launching the Unite & Ignite Space innovation hub as a new public-private partnership with the Air Force. The new initiative is expected to consolidate resources, programming and workspaces to support space-related development in the state.

“Our local space innovation ecosystem has already built a strong track record by repeatedly setting the standard for how to develop novel space technologies at the speed of relevance,” said Sen. Martin Heinrich, D-NM, in a statement announcing the new hub. “The Unite & Ignite Space and the overall MaxQ campus will allow us to create the right environment for both established companies who are looking to build a presence in New Mexico and for homegrown companies who want to expand and thrive.”

The new hub includes a partnership intermediary agreement, or PIA, between the AFRL and NewSpace New Mexico.

“The PIA will amplify our ability to develop products, services, and collaboration spaces that enable new space companies to enter, innovate, and thrive in the new space era,” stated CEO Casey Anglada DeRaad.

The announcement comes as the Department of Defense is investing heavily in upgrading the space-related facilities at Kirtland Air Force Base, which hosts AFRL’s Space Vehicles Directorate as well as the U.S. Space Force’s Space Rapid Capabilities Office and the Innovation and Prototyping Directorate within the Space and Missile Systems Center. One day before the New Mexico innovation hub was announced, the Space Force officially opened a new $17 million facility: the Rendezvous and Proximity (REPR) Satellite Operations Center. Recent investments by AFRL include a $4 million Deployable Structures Laboratory, a $3.5 million Skywave Technology Laboratory, and a $12.8 million Space Warfighting Operations Research and Development Lab.

Nathan Strout covers space, unmanned and intelligence systems for C4ISRNET.

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