Vectoring Away from the Land of Enchantment

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It’s happened again.

Another space start-up has chosen to avoid New Mexico.

Vector Space Systems, which aims to launch “small reusable rockets carrying micro-satellites into orbit,” picked the Tucson area for its manufacturing facility. Within the next few years, the company plans to hire 400 employees. Vector’s CEO praised the “very deep supply chain” in Tucson and Phoenix, which means that “most of our components are going to be sourced in Arizona.”

Adding insult to injury, Vector has no plans to do business at “Spaceport America.” It’s looking to launch from Pacific Spaceport Complex-Alaska and Cape Canaveral Air Force Station.

A year ago, New Mexico joined the Aerospace States Association (ASA), and sent a “team of state officials to an international aerospace expo in Los Angeles.” But the sad reality — one you won’t hear from the happy talkers in “economic development” — is that the Land of Enchantment isn’t much of an aerospace state. As the chart below indicates, employment in the manufacturing sector is small, and trending slightly downward.

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With UTC Aerospace shuttering its Albuquerque operation, the job numbers, at least in the short term, look to worsen. Perhaps it’s a bit premature for New Mexico taxpayers to be forking over “dues” to the ASA.

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