ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – U.S. Sen. Tom Udall is pushing to bolster New Mexico’s growing space economy. He was among a bipartisan group of senators to add amendments to a new NASA bill.

Sen. Udall said one of the amendments focuses on pushing NASA to consider the use of commercial spaceports, like Spaceport America in southern New Mexico, for civil space missions and operations.

Virgin Galactic has moved into the Spaceport as the company ramps up test flights. The state spent almost $220 million to build it.

Udall thinks the Spaceport needs a lot more support and is being underutilized. He hopes this amendment will help give it a boost. 

“We will see as this develops as an industry; it’s already a significant industry,” said Udall. “It’s growing jobs in New Mexico, and other areas may be developed and become fruitful and lucrative for New Mexico.”

The other amendments the senator proposed focus on improving space communications and reducing and combating space debris. Sen. Udall said there is no timeline on when this could get passed.

Udall said there’s an urgency to get this done and help the Spaceport right away because the Senate only looks at updating these NASA funding bills about every five years.