SANTA FE, N.M. — A top official with Virgin Galactic says the company is planning to move more of its operations to New Mexico next year as it prepares for commercial flights from Spaceport America.

The company’s vice president for business development and government affairs, Richard DalBello, provided an update to a panel of New Mexico lawmakers during a meeting Wednesday.

DalBello said another unpowered test flight of its space tourism spacecraft is planned soon over the Southern California desert. Once the initial powered test flights are done there, more tests will be done in New Mexico in 2018.

Lawmakers acknowledged that some critics consider the project a boondoggle since it has been years since commercial flights were first promised.

DalBello said Virgin Galactic has already spent $20 million in the state and is committed to making the flights a reality.