New Mexico leaping ahead in next space race

Casey Anglada DeRaad

In leading NewSpace New Mexico, which houses a first-of-its-kind co-innovation hub called Unite & Ignite Space, I have seen the space race surge to new heights in recent years — and New Mexico is in the middle of the action.

Virgin Galactic, Space X and Blue Origin sent the first civilians traveling to space, over 100 companies have plans to get back to the moon, and thousands of low-orbit satellites will launch to bring new capabilities, such as reliable internet coverage worldwide. Leading financial institutions expect the global space sector will triple in the next decade and become a multi-trillion dollar market over the next 20 years.

Yet, within this backdrop, substantial barriers exist for promising space companies to succeed in bringing their innovations to market. While there is plenty of front-end support for research and development and start-ups, assistance that accelerates product development and sales is lacking in the fragmented, hard-to-navigate space industry.

Leading in the new space race requires providing space companies with support beyond R&D to address barriers that prevent them from thriving in the new space era. NewSpace New Mexico launched the NewSpace Ignitor funded in partnership with the Air Force Research Laboratory last week with this exact purpose in mind. NewSpace Ignitor will enable early-growth to mid-size space companies to leap forward in turning their concepts into revenue-generating products with end-to-end support and faster access to the right resources, relationships, workforce, customers and collaborations.

Support for the NewSpace Ignitor companies includes navigating companies to funding opportunities and customer contracts. We also provide access to secure and high-cost shared facilities that offer testing workspaces and specialized equipment that can cost millions of dollars. Throughout the program, NewSpace New Mexico will use its knowledge and vast network of relationships to bring vetted opportunities and often out-of-reach resources to the companies that need them.

These services deliver a system of support across the innovation lifecycle, which will be vital to space companies and the state of New Mexico capitalizing on the multi-trillion dollar market opportunity.

New Mexico demonstrated its leadership in the past by propelling the space sector forward in the areas of research and manufacturing, space flight and exploration, advanced rocketry and national security. Our statewide commitment to the industry has been unwavering, and our space ecosystem is driving greater economic impact today with increased partnership across government, industry and academia. New Mexico’s ambition and rich assets, combined with the smart use of resources and capital, will take our state’s leadership in space to the next level by enabling more space companies to succeed with programs like NewSpace Ignitor and all working together.

For individuals that want to prosper alongside the industry, there are many ways space enthusiasts can participate. For example, investors can provide capital to local space companies, purchase stocks or make private investments through Space Fund, which is rapidly becoming a world-leading space venture capital company.

There has never been a more exciting time to be part of space with expanding investment and innovation flowing into the industry. New Mexico is poised to capitalize on emerging opportunities such as point-to-point travel, the space internet, climate change monitoring and improved low-cost broadband communications. NewSpace New Mexico is ready to work with our vast partner network to convene our state’s resources together and provide end-to-end support to space companies. We invite you to join us in leading the second space race as we grow commercial space from New Mexico for the nation.

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Casey Anglada DeRaad is founder and Chief Executive Officer of New Space New Mexico (, a nonprofit organization that is accelerating the pace of space innovation by uniting and igniting the industry. The Executive’s Desk is a guest column providing advice, commentary or information about resources available to the business community in New Mexico. To submit a column for consideration, email

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