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An artist's concept shows a view of the new spaceport under construction in New Mexico. The pricey port will help space tourism efforts commence in earnest.  (Source: URS/Foster + Partners)

Virgin Galactic's White Knight Two composite aircraft flew over the port during the construction commencement ceremonies. The White Knight will take off from the port and help to sling a spacecraft containing Virgin Galactic's space tourists into orbit.  (Source: Barb Sprungman)
Spaceport America is expected to begin sending tourists into space next year aboard Virgin Galactic flights

The Spaceport America location in New Mexico is now officially under construction, with New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson on hand at the event to discuss how historic space tourism launches from New Mexico will be for the state.

"New Mexicans have stepped up to the plate by making this investment," Richardson said during the press conference.  "This groundbreaking ceremony is an important step toward our goal of being at the forefront of a vibrant, new commercial space industry."

The new port will be the nation's first commercial spaceport. Earlier this year the port received FAA approval.  The state is fronting the bill for the $200 million project, which will give the state a boost via engineering and other high-value jobs will be available at the facility once it finishes construction. 

Virgin Galactic is expected to begin launching tourists into space from the spaceport in 2010, as more than 45,000 people have registered to take a trip from New Mexico.  The Spaceport America web site each person will have to pay $200,000 per trip to go up to 50,000 feet into the air before accelerating into space.

Specifically, spacecraft will lift off from a 10,000-foot runway, fly up to 50,000 feet, break free and fly up to 62 miles in total height.  Each trip will take around two hours with five minutes of weightlessness.

Virgin hopes to have one flight per week, with up to six paying space tourists on each trip.  Unlike two-week stays aboard the International Space Station (ISS), just three days of training is necessary before someone is able to fly on a Virgin flight into space.

There is growing demand both for suborbital flights and longer trips to the ISS, depending on how much money and the amount of training a person wishes to go through.  A flight to the ISS costs around $30 million and involves months of training, though these Virgin flights cost significantly less and take a couple of days of training -- but visitors obviously don't reach an altitude that high.


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New Mexico Spaceport
By captainpierce on 6/22/2009 9:06:39 AM , Rating: 5
You will never find a more wretched hive of scum and villainy.




RE: New Mexico Spaceport
By JasonMick (blog) on 6/22/2009 9:29:10 AM , Rating: 1
Spaceport Human: He doesn't like you.
Luke: I'm sorry.
Spaceport Human: I don't like you either. Don't insult us. You just watch yourself. We're wanted men. I have the death sentence in twelve systems.
Luke: I'll be careful than.
Spaceport Human: You'll be DEAD!
Ben: This little one isn't worth the effort. Come let me buy you
something...
*Big alien friend attacks, cue lightsaber pwnage...*


RE: New Mexico Spaceport
By Vertigo101 on 6/22/2009 9:30:28 AM , Rating: 2
I don't know about that... you ever been to El Paso?


RE: New Mexico Spaceport
By Aloonatic on 6/22/2009 9:35:56 AM , Rating: 2
I don't know about that... you ever been to [insert your nations banking/financial district here]?


RE: New Mexico Spaceport
By krotchy on 6/22/2009 10:16:29 AM , Rating: 3
I thought Teddy Bear Junction was the worst hive of scum and villainy in the universe.


RE: New Mexico Spaceport
By mezman on 6/22/2009 3:49:29 PM , Rating: 2
We must be cautious.


They'll have to put up a sign on the runway:
By Rob94hawk on 6/22/2009 10:47:53 AM , Rating: 3
"Watch out for illegal immigrants crossing the runway."




By 67STANG on 6/22/2009 1:15:59 PM , Rating: 5
The space port is not located in California.

Seriously, we should swap names with New Mexico. Go anywhere in southern California and tell me I'm wrong.


By Creig on 6/22/2009 9:52:09 AM , Rating: 5
I imagine it will be difficult for couples to join the "220 mile high" club.
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Well, difficult for the women, anyhow. ;)




EV
By SuckRaven on 6/22/2009 12:15:49 PM , Rating: 2
Make sure to pack 'Drop bear repellent'




RE: EV
By WayneG on 6/22/2009 12:45:27 PM , Rating: 2
Haha, I actually used to buy that stuff because I was certain it had some value! Lol.


security....
By EasyAce on 6/22/2009 7:17:15 PM , Rating: 2
So how much security is there going to be to keep out the illegal aliens? :)

Sorry couldn't resist.




RE: security....
By danrien on 6/22/2009 10:05:43 PM , Rating: 2
you can only land at the spaceport if you're here to do business with earth...


Concession Stand
By Machinegear on 6/22/2009 10:31:45 AM , Rating: 3
I am trying hard to captialize on this new venture by opening a Hot Dog and Milk Shake concession stand within this awesome facility.

Trust me. This is a busine$$ that simply CANNOT FAIL!!!

** delusional dream ** :-)




amazing
By Chiisuchianu on 6/22/2009 12:11:24 PM , Rating: 3
I didn't think it would happen so soon. By the time I get old, the price should be reasonable. It looks like my dream of going out to space will be realized!




This can be great
By ninus3d on 6/23/2009 2:38:36 AM , Rating: 3
45.000 people have signed up and are willing to boot the $200.000 bill...
This could be a great way of getting rich people something THEY want and a ****load of money to engineering and science/development in a very exciting field.

If they target this space station to engineer R&D and spacetechnological science with income from the worlds well-off, win win win win? :D




"So, I think the same thing of the music industry. They can't say that they're losing money, you know what I'm saying. They just probably don't have the same surplus that they had." -- Wu-Tang Clan founder RZA














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