Friday, June 19, 2009

Spaceport Breaks Ground in New Mexico

The world's first commercial spaceport broke ground in southern New Mexico in June 2009. Virgin Galactic, so far with only two spacecraft, will operate a new space launch system at Spaceport America when it opens.

Sir Richard Branson's Virgin Group launched Virgin Galactic in 2004 to develop commercial space vehicles that would solve the safety, cost and environmental impact problems associated with manned space travel. As the spaceport's anchor tenant, Virgin Galactic has been actively developing the technology to make low cost commercial space access a reality in conjunction with Burt Rutan and Northrop Grumman’s Scaled Composites, the company developing WhiteKnightTwo and SpaceShipTwo for commercial spaceflight.

New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson remarked on the importance of the groundbreaking for the spaceport. “After all of the hard work to get this project off the ground, it is gratifying to see Spaceport America finally become a reality,” New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson said. “New Mexicans have stepped up to the plate by making this investment. This groundbreaking ceremony is an important step toward our goal of being at the forefront of a vibrant new, commercial space industry.”

The design for Spaceport America's terminal hangar facility was created by a team of American and British architects that were selected after competing in an international design competition. URS Corporation, one of the world's largest design and engineering firms, teamed with lead designer Foster + Partners of the United Kingdom to submit the winning design. Foster + Partners has extensive experience designing airport buildings and other highprofile projects worldwide.

Click on the heading above to go to Spaceport America's website.

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