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NEW MEXICO SPACEPORT AUTHORITY

Falling into space with the Spaceport Authority

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Alice Carruth has been in New Mexico for six years, having arrived with her husband who came here to work at White Sands Missile Range. She has adopted southern New Mexico as her home and says it is a fabulous place to raise her children. But even more than that, it is the place to be when talking about space. And talking is what she will be doing as the new public relations coordinator for the New Mexico Spaceport Authority.

Carruth, one of the primary organizers of the Las Cruces Space Festival since its inception, calls it a “fortunate accident” that, when she came to Las Cruces, she “fell into space.”

“I have followed all things space for years and have been a fan,” she said. “Then I discovered this whole history in New Mexico.”

No stranger to the communications business, Carruth was a London television producer and brand manager at ITV, an independent British network group. She also worked for Al Jazira English in the middle east for nearly six years as a newsroom producer.

Last year, she got a job as an executive assistant with Solstar, working with social media. When she saw the job opportunity at the New Mexico Spaceport Authority, she put her hat in the ring and was hired, starting in April.

“We love it here,” she said. “I recently became a U.S. citizen and am loving life in New Mexico.”

Carruth said she also loves being part of the Spaceport America family.

“We are on the cusp of becoming the largest commercial spaceport in the country and the only one with both vertical and horizontal launch capability,” she said. “We also have other customers than Virgin Galactic, including Boeing testing here, as well as Spinlaunch. We regularly have EXOS, Sugarhouse and Up Aerospace.”

Out at the Spaceport on Friday, May 1, when Virgin Galactic completed the first successful test at the spaceport of the suborbital spacecraft, VSS Unity, Carruth said she was able to be there and never gets tired of being at the facility. The space vehicle is scheduled to stay in New Mexico permanently.

“The test flight was a huge success for us,” she said. “We took all the recommended precautions for coronavirus safety and made sure we were following all the guidelines. All their staff and our staff were eager to be part of that. The flight went exactly as planned.”

She said one challenge she faces is educating people about ongoing operations at the facility.

“There is still a crazy misconception that nothing happens out there,” she said. “I have been shocked at how many customers we have lined up. It’s really good news for New Mexico. We are very, very lucky to have this facility at our doorstep.”