Sunday, May 31, 2015
Space, the Final Frontier
Under development in the middle of the New Mexico desert is America's first commercial spaceport. Spaceport America has been under construction for several years and is designed to support commercial space tenants like Virgin Galactic and SpaceX. It is currently home to Virgin Galactic's WhiteKnightTwo and SpaceShipTwo as well as SpaceX's Falcon 9R. In the photo above you see Virgin Galactic's sleek and sinuous gateway to space building designed by Foster + Partners. (You can see some spectacular photos of the building by clicking the link.) The building was specifically designed to be sustainable and sensitive to it's surroundings, blending well into the landscape.
I learned over a year ago that tours of this amazing site were available and I immediately put it on my list of "must visit" places. I took that opportunity on my recent trip to New Mexico. Only problem is, now I want to go back. This place will just start getting more and more exciting as development continues and more tenants move in.
Our tour group got a peek inside the Spaceport Operations Center, another building built to blend in with it's desert surroundings.
Our guide (on the left), explained how this building will be used and how both commercial space clients and media representatives could use the facility.
We got to meet the firemen on duty the day we were there. John and Jack were happy to explain the state of the art fire fighting equipment they were trained to use.
After our tour of the operations center, the firemen escorted our tour group out on to the 12,000 foot "space way", the extra long runway that will one day see the take-offs and landings of the first commercial space flights.
From the runway, our fire department escorts followed us over the the Virgin Galactic building so we could see this incredible building from the runway side. My only regret was that this impressive building wasn't open for tours yet. Our guide did say that sometime late this year it would be ready to host visitors and will contain some exciting video and simulation media. Obviously, I have to go back again.