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Kimmarie Hartley

July 7, 2006 Starchaser Industries announces plans for flagship development in southern New Mexico
Las Cruces, NM - Starchaser Industries Inc., the first private space company to establish a New Mexico presence in response to the development of the Southwest Regional Spaceport, is pleased to announce plans to develop a 120-acre site approximately seventeen miles west of the City of Las Cruces in southern New Mexico.

The ten-year $100 million project, which will be privately financed, is expected to create up to 300 permanent positions, from service industry to high tech, high salary aerospace jobs with an emphasis on training local people. Phased development of the site will include rocket manufacturing and astronaut training facilities, retail outlets, office accommodations, restaurants and exhibition areas as well as a space-themed hotel with conference facilities. The Rocket City complex will span more than a mile of interstate frontage associated with the north side of exit 116 on Interstate 10. 

"This is exciting news for New Mexico and we look forward to Starchaser's continued success in the state," said Secretary of Economic Development Rick Homans. "This announcement is proof that the aerospace industry has arrived in New Mexico and our state will become a prime destination for Space tourists and enthusiasts.”

Starchaser’s Rocket City, located roughly 50 miles due south and well within striking distance of the Southwest Regional Spaceport, will be a high-tech theme park with an emphasis on science education and a 22nd century space age experience. Exhibitions and hands-on experiences will be themed toward personal and contemporary spaceflight while celebrating New Mexico’s rich and varied space heritage.

According to Tom and Carol Cooper of Butterfield Trail Ranch, discussions for the 120-acre parcel began more than five months ago. “Starchaser’s plans are as exciting for us today as the coming of the Butterfield Stage must have been to our forebears.” “Both the Wilmeths and the Coopers at Butterfield Trail Ranch welcome Starchaser as our new neighbors, and take pleasure in the contrast between the history of early travel and ranching traditions on our ranch, and the history Starchaser will help to create in space travel.

Rocket City will provide unprecedented “behind the scene tours” of a working rocket assembly and manufacturing plant. Visitors will be able to purchase advance tickets for rides into space aboard Starchaser’s Thunderstar rocketship, while having the opportunity to become familiar with the technology used to make spaceflight possible.

When fully developed as a major tourist destination, Rocket City will attract throngs of visitors to the area and will compliment other New Mexico space initiatives. The development will offer many opportunities to create local, regional and national partnerships and will provide a focus for those wishing to invest in space tourism without necessarily having to put their money into rocket development.

The I-10 site was chosen based on the results of a two-year, $50,000 study, overseen by Starchaser staff based in Las Cruces, NM. The study considered location, traffic patterns, ease of access, potential for growth and proximity to amenities, services and labor. 

With its relative close proximity to the Spaceport, the I-10 site is an ideal choice for development. Starchaser is aware of the importance of maintaining the integrity of the low population density near the Spaceport.

“We are planning to create a positive and long lasting impact on southern New Mexico and the surrounding region,” said Bennett. “Rocket City is ideally situated for the future development of Las Cruces, but will also directly benefit the communities of Silver City and Deming. “The impact of this development will easily extend throughout southern New Mexico to include cities and towns such as Roswell, Alamogordo, Hatch and Truth or Consequences.

"I cannot pass this opportunity to congratulate Steve Bennett on the development of Starchaser's Rocket City! I’ve always believed in him and knew that it would be just a matter of time before he made his vision a reality.  We need more visionaries like Steve to help make the Southwest Regional Spaceport a success,” Councilor Dolores C. Archuleta.

“Starchaser is proposing a bold development that will capitalize upon positive momentum generated by construction of the Southwest Regional Spaceport and the annual X Prize Cup event.” Steve Vierck, Mesilla Valley Economic Development Alliance.

Current development plans at the Rocket City site include the remodeling of existing buildings that will serve as the corporate headquarters of Starchaser US. It is expected that the office accommodation and the first retail components will be operational in the fall.

Starchaser Industries is currently working on two major rocket projects; the Skybolt reusable sounding rocket for science payloads and the Thunderstar space tourism vehicle that will launch ticket holding passengers more than 100km (62 miles) into space.

“We are hoping to start launching rockets from New Mexico as soon as the Southwest Regional Spaceport comes on line,” added Bennett. 

During his most recent visit to the United States, Bennett, who has other business interests in the United Kingdom, met with aerospace contractors in California to place orders for propellant holding tanks and for rocket guidance and control systems.

For more information regarding Starchaser Industries Inc., call 505-546-3122, email [email protected] or visit www.starchaser.co.uk http://lcsun-news.com/news/ci_4031779


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