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NMSU hosted announcement of UAS manufacturer, ARCA, relocation to Las Cruces

On July 13 at the New Mexico State University Physical Science Laboratory hangar at the Las Cruces International Airport, the ARCA Space Corporation announced it is relocating its North American headquarters to Las Cruces.

Woman speaks from a podium.
Gov. Susana Martinez spoke at a press conference at the New Mexico State University Physical Science Laboratory hangar at the Las Cruces International Airport on July 13 announcing the relocation of ARCA Space Corporation’s North American headquarters to Las Cruces. (NMSU photo by Tiffany Acosta)

ARCA is a Romanian-based aerospace research and development company, which will produce its AirStrato unmanned aerial vehicle in Las Cruces.

Dennis Zaklan, deputy director of the NMSU UAS Flight Test Center, said ARCA and NMSU partnering is significant for the next chapter of UAS. ARCA has the first medium-altitude long-endurance UAS and with an ultimate goal of developing a high-altitude UAS.

“As UAS has progressed and some of the technical issues with the FAA get solved, then medium-altitude and high-altitude UAS will be the future,” Zaklan said. “We’re truly looking forward to having them here and working closely with them.”

ARCA CEO Dumitru Popescu, who traveled from Romania to attend the announcement, said Las Cruces was the best choice his company could have made.

“Besides our technology, we are bringing to Las Cruces a well-known aerospace brand and a promise that we will create at least 100 high-paying jobs in the next three years and I’m being very conservative,” he noted at the press conference. “So please allow me to ask you this—if we could manage to do all of this in Europe, a place where it is difficult to test and fly aerospace vehicles, imagine what we could do in New Mexico?”

Popescu also mentioned that while others may see only the endless desert of New Mexico he envisioned something much different.

“We see a great treasure—a place to safely test new vehicles and technologies for aviation and space exploration. So here we are prepared to push the envelope for our aerospace vehicles, AirStrato, our unmanned aerial system, and for the Haas rocket series,” Popescu said.

Many local and state officials attended the ARCA announcement, which was assisted by the Mesilla Valley Economic Development Alliance, including Gov. Susana Martinez.

“We’ve been working hard to make New Mexico more competitive especially for manufacturing like ARCA,” Gov. Martinez said at the press conference. “They are one of the most well-known companies in private space flight.

“The project will create over 100 new jobs with an average salary of $52,000,” she continued. “We’re proud to have ARCA here and confident they will grow our reputation as an aerospace industry leader.”