Private space launch to be announced

New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson reportedly is ready to announce the first in a series of launches from his state's new Southwest Regional Spaceport.

Up Aerospace Inc. of Unionville, Conn., said Richardson would make the announcement during a Wednesday news conference in Santa Fe.

Company officials said their SpaceLoft rocket will make a sub-orbital flight carrying seven experimental and commercial payloads for a variety of scholastic and business entities. After traveling into space, the rocket and its payloads were to land in the Spaceport's downrange area.

"This is a milestone event in the history of aerospace," said Eric Knight, the company's CEO. "For the first time in all of space flight, a facility is now available for regularly scheduled, private space launches. Thanks to the vision of the State of New Mexico, as well as the aerospace capabilities provided by our company, the 'final frontier' is now open to everyone."

Knight said UP Aerospace has the capability to conduct as many as 30 launches annually from New Mexico's Spaceport.

Copyright 2005 by United Press International

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