Roswell, New Mexico - Official Launch Site for Red Bull Stratos
Roswell, New Mexico proved to be the best platform for the Red Bull Stratos mission with its mild weather and balloon-friendly geographical features.
New Mexico offers a wide range of relatively low populated ranch land, access to excellent launch facilities. Roswell's reputation for mostly sunny weather makes it the ideal site for balloon launches. Felix Baumgartner's capsule launched under a high-altitude helium balloon from this desert region of the southwestern United States supported by a Mission Control Center on site.
Location: 33°N, 104°W
Elevation: 3,671 feet
Population: 48,366 (2010 census)
Terrain: The city of Roswell covers approximately 29 miles of the Pecos River valley, with the Sacramento Mountains to its west. In general the Roswell area is flat and semi-arid, with a sparse population outside the city and typically excellent sightlines.
- Average temperatures range from about 40° F. (Jan.) to about 83° F. (July).
- Rainfall averages just 10.75 inches per year.
Native Americans have been living in the New Mexico region for some 20,000 years, and white settlers began to establish Roswell in the latter half of the 19th century. In the 20th century, New Mexico became a hub for aerospace innovation, including, among many other groundbreaking initiatives, Dr. Robert H. Goddard's Roswell-based research on rocket propulsion, which marked the beginning of the Space Age; Dr. John Paul Stapp's rocket-sled tests proving that high-speed ejection was survivable; and the record-setting balloon jump of Joe Kittinger that paved the way for space programs. Today, both government and commercial enterprises continue to contribute to the state's rich aerospace legacy.
Statewide points of aerospace interest include:
- Holloman Air Force Base, near Alamogordo: a center of aerospace research and development since the 1940s, noted for contributions to pilot safety and development of the U.S. space program
- White Sands test and training facility, a center of research for NASA and military aerospace programs and a primary Space Shuttle training ground
- SpacePort America, the world's first purpose-built commercial spaceport
- New Mexico Museum of Space History in Alamogordo