Aerospace & Defense

NM: ARCA Space Corp. to Expand in Las Cruces, Hire 100

16 Jul, 2015

Governor Susana Martinez announced that ARCA Space Corporation will build a testing and manufacturing facility at the Las Cruces Airport, creating 100 high-paying jobs over three years with an average annual salary of $52,000. The aerospace company, which originally started in Romania and located its headquarters to Las Cruces in 2014, will produce electric-powered unmanned aerial systems. The Governor also discussed the recent ranking by the U.S. Department of Commerce that shows Las Cruces as the No. 1 metro in the country for export growth. 

"We're proud of New Mexico's storied history in science and innovation, and we know that ARCA Space made the right choice to manufacture their products right here in Las Cruces," Governor Martinez said. "Not only does New Mexico now have a competitive business environment, but we also stand to be a leader in aerospace. The future is bright for our state."

The New Mexico Economic Development Department will contribute $500,000 in Local Economic Development Act funds toward the construction of ARCA Space's new 14,000 sq. ft. hangar and manufacturing space. 

"Recent changes in New Mexico provides a highly attractive business environment in which to locate our headquarters and now our manufacturing facility," said Dumitru Popescu, CEO of ARCA Space. "We couldn't be more appreciative of the support we've received from New Mexicans for our project and look forward to growing our presence in Las Cruces."

Since leveling the playing field for businesses by essentially eliminating the corporate income tax in 2013 on manufacturers when selling goods out of state, New Mexico is now the best place in the West for manufacturing, according to an Ernst & Young study. Additionally, following the Special Session, Governor Martinez signed into law a bill allowing corporate headquarters to choose a single-sales factor option when filing corporate income taxes. 

The announcement comes just days after the U.S Department of Commerce ranked three New Mexico cities among the top five U.S. metro areas for export growth. This included the city of Las Cruces, which ranked No. 1 in the country. Earlier in the year, the Department of Commerce announced that New Mexico leads the nation in export-related job growth at 107 percent for 2014, well ahead of the next-closest state. And just weeks ago, New Mexico made a big leap in CNBC's "America's Top States for Businesses" rankings, jumping from 37th to 24th in the country. The improvement is tied for the best in the nation.

"The Martinez Administration, local officials, Mesilla Valley Economic Development and New Mexico State University all played an important role in bringing this amazing project to Las Cruces," Secretary Jon Barela said. "As New Mexico continues to gain momentum in its job creation efforts, we look forward to more cross collaboration to attract businesses to our state." 

The city of Las Cruces will also provide ARCA Space abated lease of office, showroom and hanger space for one year - an estimate value of $55,000. 

"This is a great example of collaboration between the State and City in using the Local Economic Development Act (LEDA) to attract good, family-sustaining jobs to Las Cruces in an industry that has enormous potential," said Ken Miyagishima, mayor of Las Cruces. "Additionally, several local partners like the New Mexico Space Grant Consortium, New Mexico State University, Arrowhead Incubator, the Physical Science Laboratory (PSL), MVEDA, and Spaceport America all worked on presenting Las Cruces as an ideal location for ARCA Space. Las Cruces has been a hub for the aerospace and defense industry for 75 years and ARCA's new location at the Las Cruces International Airport reaffirms this."    

ARCA SPACE Corporation is a U.S.-based aerospace research and development company started as an NGO in the European Union with history and experience tracing to Romania from 1999. During its 16 years of activity, ARCA Space has succeeded in launching 15 flight missions. ARCA was one of the major contenders in the $10 million, Ansari X-Prize Competition. Following Ansari X-Prize, they were involved in the X-Prize Cup held in Las Cruces and in the Google Lunar X-Prize, succeeding in launching the competition's only rocket to test the moon lander vehicle up to this date. In 2008, they secured three governmental aerospace contracts worth $2.2 million for aerospace technologies and for military applications. In 2012, they secured a $1.4 million contract with the European Space Agency to test the ExoMars spacecraft atmospheric re-entry parachutes.  

"Arrowhead Center, NMSU's economic development engine, has been working with ARCA on a New Mexico Small Business Assistance Grant and our Physical Science Laboratory worked with them on securing FAA certifications," said Dr. Kevin Boberg, NMSU VP for Economic Development, "Additionally, the College of Engineering represents a pipeline for a globally competitive workforce for this company. This is an exciting demonstration of NMSU's continued role in economic development through academic achievement."