The Las Cruces Space Festival is ‘Making Contact’

On Thursday April 11th from 11am- 7pm, the Las Cruces Convention Center will host our ‘Making Contact’ event. This event is geared towards inspiring students of all ages to pursue careers in space-related fields and showcase the many areas of employment available in the space industry. ‘Making Contact’ is 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.

The Festival is entering a second year of celebrating of space-related activity and interest in southern New Mexico and beyond. 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.

Some of the greatest minds in the area will gather for the ‘Making Contact’ showcase. Representatives from NASA White Sands Test Facility, Spaceport America, Virgin Galactic, New Mexico State University (NMSU) Engineering and Science & Art Faculties, and others will be featured.

The Las Cruces Space Festival is working with the Bridge of Southern New Mexico to combine the right leaders, resources and connections to make changes in career readiness and meet workforce development challenges. This event will help students plan their paths through education and experience to achieve their dream jobs in space-related fields.

‘Making Contact’ will feature presentations by several keynote speakers:

  • New Mexico Department of Workforce Solution Chair, Bill McCamley will be talking about New Mexico’s workforce solutions and the State’s Space Industry at 5pm.
  • Magdalena Ridge Observatory Program Director Dr. Ifan Payne will present ‘A History and Development of New Mexico’s Most Powerful Optical Telescope’ at 5.30pm.
  • Co-Investigator and Geology Team Leader on the NASA Mars Exploration Rover Project (Spirit and Opportunity), Dr. James Rice, will be presenting his talk ‘From the Sea of Tranquility to the Mountains of Mars’ at 6pm.
  • New Space New Mexico Founder, and Director Casey DeRaad will talk about the future of the growing space industry in New Mexico at 6.30pm

There will be plenty of hands-on activities to entertain visitors of all ages: The Physical Science laboratory at NMSU will be providing robotics displays in the large ballroom. Virtual reality headsets will allow users to experience space in three dimension. NMSU Astronomy will be on hand to guide visitors through star constellations in their planetarium.

The Las Cruces Space Festival would like to welcome school field trips. If you wish to find out what we can offer your class, please email