NEW MEXICO (KRQE) – Spaceport America is looking to the future. They hope to continue expanding their presence and bolster New Mexico’s economy while they’re at it.

Last year, Spaceport America brought $138 million into the state’s economy. That’s according to a New Mexico State University impact study, which found the Spaceport supports more than 800 jobs.

“The economic impact is broken down by Sierra County and Doña Ana County. We’re seeing impacts on both counties in terms of people staying there in the hotels and going to the restaurants, and we’re also seeing Sierra County got all the construction because the Spaceport is in Sierra County,” said New Mexico Spaceport Authority Executive Director, Scott McLaughlin.

While Virgin Galactic is their anchor tenant, and the most well-known, the Spaceport, also has other long-term tenants and shorter-term customers who use the complex for testing and their own launches.

Spaceport America mentioned they hope to expand their manufacturing, innovation, and research.

“The goal of the spaceport is to go beyond one big customer into many customers. When we look at this economic impact, I think we are just looking at the beginning. As we get more tenants at the spaceport and we expand out beyond one main customer, we should have a lot more jobs and a lot more impact in all of New Mexico,” said McLaughlin.

As the spaceport continues to use state funding to improve the facility, companies using it are also paying for upgrades themselves with $12 million in private investments, going toward construction in 2022. The spaceport hopes to bring in more customers and tenants, in turn, creating more aerospace jobs.

“I’m very excited about this idea that this spaceport is this key element of this aerospace ecosystem that we could actually build up the whole area space value to attract jobs and companies,” added McLaughlin.

Spaceport America said they are also getting the community more involved through education programs like the Spaceport America Cup. It brings in students from around the world to participate; students, they hope, could someday end up working there.