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Private companies talk commercial space travel at annual symposium

Employees from private companies attended the 13th annual International Symposium for Personal and Commercial Spaceflight in Las Cruces. Credit: KFOX14 / CBS4

Private companies are working together to help make space travel accessible for everyone.

On Thursday, many of those companies attended the 13th annual International Symposium for Personal and Commercial Spaceflight in Las Cruces.

Pay Hynes, a curator for the symposium, said a commercial crew program could allow commercial companies to build spaceflight vehicles that would take people to the International Space Station.

Speakers from around the country presented their ideas including three New Mexico State University graduates.

Dan Hicks is the CEO of Spaceport America and Cathy Leaders is a program manager for commercial crew at NASA.

Leaders spoke about taking people to space in the near future.

NMSU graduate John Mulholland also spoke at the symposium. He is the vice president and program manager for a commercial crew for Boeing’s space shuttle.

He said his company’s spacecraft could one day take regular people to space.

"We're using New Mexico resources extensively on Commercial Crew out at White Sands test facility. We've got a number of propulsion tests that are going on,” Mulholland said.

Mulholland said White Sands has two primary landing stations that would be used every time people return from the space station.

"If you look out 10 to 20, 30 years of revolutionizing the use of space, especially in lower Earth orbit, it’s going to be really important for our future," Mulholland said.

Mulholland said that New Mexico has been involved in space travel since the space race against the Soviet Union.

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