- Associated Press - Friday, December 2, 2016

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) - The new chief executive of Spaceport America says New Mexico is well positioned to use the futuristic facility as a jumping off point to build an aerospace economic hub.

Daniel Hicks appeared Friday before an interim legislative committee to brief lawmakers on some of the initiatives planned at the taxpayer-financed spaceport.

Hicks said signature events such as the recent drone summit and next year’s Spaceport America Cup rocket challenge are aimed at attracting future engineers and aerospace companies to the New Mexico desert where they can conduct research and development.

He said the spaceport’s location can benefit more than the fledging space tourism industry.

Democratic Rep. Patricia Lundstrom of Gallup said she was encouraged about the focus on aerospace companies. She said New Mexico could use the industry’s manufacturing jobs.

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