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Film Location: Spaceport America, New Mexico

Written on October 22, 2017

Spaceport America

Spaceport America is the world’s first purpose-built comercial spaceport. The FAA-licensed launch complex is situated on 18,000 acres is located in southern New Mexico at an altitude of 4.600 ft above sea level. The location includes 6,000 square miles of restricted airspace, a 12,000-foot spaceway, an operations center, airfield, launch pads, hangars, emergency response facilities, utilities and roadways. The site is capable of accommodating the activities of both vertical and horizontal takeoff space launch vehicles.

Spaceport America hosts customers such as Google (high altitude solar powered wifi drones), Virgin Atlantic (commercial suborbital trips), SpaceX (high-velocity flight testing), and UP Aerospace (vertical launches). The venue also holds events throughout the year including Spaceport America Relay Race (180 mile foot race in April) and Spaceport America Cup (International Intercollegiate Rocket Engineering Competition in June), and the Spaceport America Drone Summit (drone races in September). Public launches are also hosted.

The spaceport has 340+ days of sunshine and low humidity make for excellent film and photography conditions. The stars are especially bright for night photography given there are no city lights nearby. The restricted air space (no contrails) and no overhead wires makes the landscape a great place to film Old West productions.

Spaceport America has hosted films such as The Space Between Us, the BBC TV program The 21st Century Race for Space, and several TV commercials for brands such as Landrover, Kawasaki, and J Crew.

Spaceport America Film Permits

Filming private rocket launches is possible, with the permission of the company. Note, weather often changes scheduled launches, so be prepared to be flexible with timing. Visiting productions can of course film and photograph their own air or spacecraft landings and takeoffs, rocket launches, or drone footage, as well as Spaceport America’s modern structures and surrounding desert landscape. The spacesport is a sustainably designed, constructed, and operated facility.

Spaceport America is it’s own permitting agency so permitting requests have a fast turnaround. Permission to film is granted on a case by case basis based on the nature, size and scope of each project. Blackout periods may apply. Visiting teams are required to pass security clearances.

Fees are subject to change. As a guide, a 4hr shoot costs $4,000. For a commercial shoot, Spaceport America trademarks and photo release fees are $10,000. A larger photo shoot costs $8,000 for a 16hr day, including the scout. Spaceport America will package rates for shoots depending on the entirety of what you’re looking to do.

Productions also need to have insurance to film at Spaceport America.

Contact Spaceport America directly for up to date permitting information.

Travel & Accommodation

Truth Or Consequences, a 45min drive from Spaceport America, is the closest city to accommodate clients and crew. If you manage to find some down time, Truth Or Consequences is famous for its geothermal hot springs. Las Cruces, located 1.5hr drive from Spaceport America, is a larger city with more accommodation and service options. El Paso International Airport is the closest major airport, a 2hr drive away.

New Mexico Film Fixer, Producer, Shooting Crew

Albuquerque, a 3hr drive from Spaceport America, is the closest major production centre where production service producers, fixers, directors, DoP’s, videographers, and stills photographers, are based. Contact us if you are looking for a New Mexico production service support or shooting crew for your next shoot at Spaceport America or any other locations around New Mexico.


Images and video courtesy of Spaceport America.