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New Mexico

Las Cruces to host watch parties for July 11 Virgin Galactic space launch

LAS CRUCES, New Mexico -- To commemorate Virgin Galactic’s historic Unity 22 test flight from Spaceport America on July 11, the City of Las Cruces will host free, in-person watch parties featuring a live stream of the launch.

The watch parties will be held at the Las Cruces City Hall Council Chambers, 700 N. Main, and the Rio Grande Theatre, 211 N. Main, both of which will open their doors starting at 6:30 a.m. Sunday.

Both venues will feature light refreshments, with seating available on a first come, first-served basis. The live stream of the launch will fill the big screens at both locations starting at 7 a.m.

“This is an important moment for Las Cruces, and we’re excited to invite the community to celebrate and commemorate this monumental experience on the big screen,” said Visit Las Cruces Director Rochelle Miller-Hernandez. “Las Cruces has a long history with space travel and exploration which will only continue to build up Las Cruces as the place for space tourism.”

The launch event is expected to generate an estimated economic impact to Las Cruces of more than $400,000 over the span of the week, based on hotel occupancy rates and past visitor spending forecasts.

“This is the moment we’ve all been waiting for. A historic moment for a city that has long been a driving force in the space exploration and tourism industry,” said Las Cruces Mayor Ken Miyagishima. “This is the start of a new era of space travel that has the potential to change the course of history for our city and state by bringing in tourism dollars that will help grow our economy.” 

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