|Governor Bill Richardson and Virgin|
Galactic CEO Richard Branson
Touted as "the world's first purpose-built commercial spaceport", Spaceport America will provide launch facilities to support for-profit space enterprises, sub orbit (planning on low-orbit) tourism and hospitality. Wow. In our lifetime.
The initial construction ground breaking ceremony took place on June 19, 2009, culminating almost two decades of work to promote the commercialization of space by building a government licensed, but private launch facility outside of the provincial confines of NASA's Cape Canaveral located on the Florida coast.
|Construction is due for completion in 2011|
Governor Bill Richardson soon after convinced the X-Prize Foundation to move to New Mexico and shortly after landed the real prize by getting entertainment and airline mogul Richard Branson to relocate his Virgin Galactic company headquarters to the facility as well.
|Proposed Spaceport Passenger Terminal|
In addition, they will provide a primary operational training area, departure lounge, spacesuit dressing rooms, and celebration areas, on site restaurant and a mission control room with commanding views across the concrete apron and the 10,000 runway beyond.
|SpaceShip Two in low orbit|
And if $200,000 per ticket sounds a little steep to you, compare that to NASA's current ticket price of $20M. But after all, NASA gives you the full shuttle experience, multiple Earth orbits and spacefood! Whereas the Virgin Galactic experience would be more like the ultimate roller coaster ride into low Earth orbit and back. But, good news! They might be serving Tang as their in flight beverage!