The Las Cruces Space Festival is an annual celebration of space-related activity and interest in southern New Mexico and beyond. Our mission is ‘Making Space for Everyone’. The festival is free to participate in, and open to all, with the cost of activities, presentations, displays, and exhibits all covered by sponsors. We work with many partner organizations across the community – ranging from the public schools, local universities and colleges, space industry, arts, and cultural groups, and many others – to provide an event for people of all ages and interests. We aim to raise awareness and celebrate space-related activity and achievements in the region – past, present and future – and we aim for people to have fun, learn about new possibilities, and get inspired and excited by the various elements of the week-long Festival and associated activities in the area.
The 2019 Las Cruces Space Festival will run for one-week April 8th to 14th, beginning with activities in Las Cruces Public Schools and NMSU, and across local media. There will be Challenger Center Missions, open to the public, throughout the week as well as Space-themed movies shown at the Rio Grande Theatre.
A ‘Space Shark Tank’ will be held on April 10th, which will be in conjunction with Arrowhead Center. The panel of judges will be made up of industry leaders and they will choose the most viable prospect with a second award given to the best pitch.
On April 11th from 4 pm, the Las Cruces Convention Center will host our ‘Making Contact’ event. This will be geared towards inspiring students of all ages to pursue careers in space-related fields and will offer the perfect opportunity for budding astronauts, curious minds and science buffs to interact with and ask questions from experts in space travel, aerospace and space exploration. Some of the greatest minds in the area will gather for the showcase. Representatives from NASA White Sands Test Facility, Spaceport America, Virgin Galactic, New Mexico Space History Museum, the NMSU Engineering, and Science & Art Faculties, the Santa Fe Institute, and others will be featured. There will be a presentation from Alires Almon, Principal Investigator of the Deep Space Predictive Research Team (DSPRT) at 100 Year Starship research institute program. Alires is a Mayfield High and NMSU graduate and the perfect speaker to inspire local students to pursue their passions.
April 12th will be the day of “Celebration.” On this day, events will mark the anniversary of human space flight. ‘Yuri’s Night’, which has been celebrated worldwide since 2001, marks the date in 1961 when Yuri Gagarin was launched into a single orbit around the Earth. Events will be centered around the Plaza de Las Cruces and Main Street, where we link up to other Yuri’s Night celebrations across America and hopefully around the World. There will also be ‘Space Awards’ and an opportunity to see a performance from ‘Yuri’, a play written and directed by NMSU Assistant Theatre Arts Professor, Larissa Lury. Stargazing events will be held in the Organ Mountains and at White Sands National Monument.
On Saturday, April 13th, the day of “Entertainment” will take place on the Plaza de Las Cruces and surrounding locations in the downtown area and will be a full range of interactive events. There will be many hands-on activities provided by ¡explora!, Insights El Paso Science Center, Asombro and Cruces Creative amongst others, and many opportunities to interact with fellow space enthusiasts and industry professionals. Also planned are talks by industry leaders and British Artist Tim Fitzpatrick, who will be bringing his light spectrum art displays to exhibit on the landscape in, and around, Las Cruces. Evening celebrations will include a Space Quiz and Movie at the Rio Grande Theatre.
Sunday, April 14th will be an ‘Open House’ at Spaceport America, which will give everyone an opportunity to see the facilities that have been developed at Spaceport America and to get a look behind the scenes at the Virgin Galactic ‘Gateway to Space’ facility at the horizontal launch area. There will be a fly-in of planes from across the state and country. Dr. Mark McKinnon, New Mexico Operations Director at the Very Large Array, will be giving a presentation. Visitors will be encouraged to check out the ‘Spaceport America Visitor Center’ in nearby T or C. There will be an opportunity to meet the spaceport teams and see some rocket launches from the vertical launch area.