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According to the NMEP, every day in October is manufacturing day. One of those days recently  involved a visit to a small commercial space company in Las Cruces, called ARCA, located out at the Las Cruces airport. Cited here because one vision for the future of employment in SNM involves multiples of small high tech manufacturing companies working in commercial space. If that comes to pass, then students and adults here would need to have the skills and capabilities and knowledge appropriate to such companies.

Perhaps the Early College High School focusing on STEM is hoping to be part of such a future here, and of course, NMSU Physical Sciences Lab, as well as various projects in the defense industry and electronic engineering are always underway through NMSU in conjunction with White Sands Missile Range. In addition, Arrowhead Center at NMSU has been working to serve as an incubator for commercial space startups.

This has been the vision of some for many years, and it was part of what got Spaceport America built. Realization of commercial space here is proceeding very slowly, and today is still more hype than reality. But it’s not a dream that has been foreclosed as yet, as evidenced by the UAV successes at NMSU, and by the still existent Spaceport America facility.

As with much of our future, commercial space here is greatly dependent on various billionaires, and huge tech companies, that from time to time announce blue sky projects with “big funding”, so speculation isn’t unfounded. For example, Elon Musk recently announced plans to go to Mars. Maybe he’d like to do some of that development and “manufacturing” here, and maybe some of the kids in school now, could be part of that future.

It should be stated that ARCA is not one of those projects funded by billionaires, and seems based on very blue sky optimism as part of their business plan. It also wouldn’t be justified to compare them to the Wright Brothers, who went on to change the world in immense ways. But they are perhaps similarly improbable, and in the early stages, such undertakings are hard to distinguish between fantasy and reality.

 

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