NMSU, Las Cruces, New Mexico Economic Development Partnerships Secure ARCA UAS Testing Facility

ARCA Space Corporation announced plans to build a new manufacturing and testing facility at Las Cruces Airport in New Mexico. The company will produce and conduct field tests of its AirStrato unmanned aerial systems (UAS) and Haas rocket series at this facility.

ARCA Air Strato UAV in Hangar

ARCA Air Strato UAV in Hangar (photo – Dragos muresan/wikipedia)

The project is supported by funding from the New Mexico Economic Development Department, an abated lease from the City of Las Cruces, and assistance from Mesilla Valley Economic Development, the NMSU Arrowhead Center, and the university’s Physical Science Laboratory.

The company is investing $1.2 million to construct a new 14,000-square-foot hangar and manufacturing space at Las Cruces Airport. As part of this project, ARCA Space Corp. has committed to creating at least 100 jobs in the next three years. These will be jobs with an average annual salary of $52,000.

ARCA was originally founded in Romania, and has succeeded in launching 15 flight missions in the last 16 years. After relocating its headquarters to Las Cruces, NM last year, ARCA is now a U.S.-based research and development company that aims to be a leader in the growing UAV market.

ARCA CEO Dumitru Popescu said in a release announcing the project that two of their space vehicles currently in development will be brought to Las Cruces in the near future for testing, manufacturing and operations from Spaceport America.

In order to secure the project, the New Mexico Economic Development Department announced that it will contribute $500,000 in Local Economic Development Act (LEDA) funds towards the construction of ARCA’s hangar and manufacturing space.

City of Las Cruces economic development incentives for the project, with an estimate value of $55,000, include an abated lease of office, showroom and hanger space for one year.

Governor Susana Martinez said in the release that not only does New Mexico now have a competitive business environment but a strong aerospace infrastructure with NMSU Physical Science Laboratory and Spaceport America positioning New Mexico to be an industry leader.

NM Economic Development Secretary Jon Barela said that the Martinez Administration, local officials, Mesilla Valley Economic Development and New Mexico State University all played an important role in bringing this amazing project to Las Cruces.

Las Cruces Mayor Ken Miyagishima likewise noted that this is a great example of collaboration between the State and City in using the Local Economic Development Act (LEDA) to attract good, family-sustaining jobs to Las Cruces in an industry that has enormous potential.

Mayor Miyagishima added that local partners like New Mexico State University, Arrowhead Incubator, the Physical Science Laboratory, the New Mexico Space Grant Consortium, Spaceport America, and MVEDA all worked on presenting Las Cruces as an ideal location for ARCA Space.

NMSU Vice President for Economic Development Dr. Kevin Boberg said in the release that NMSU’s economic development engine Arrowhead Center has been working with ARCA on a New Mexico Small Business Assistance Grant, and their Physical Science Laboratory worked with the company on securing FAA certifications.

Dr. Boberg added that this is an exciting demonstration of NMSU’s continued role in economic development through academic achievement.

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