The western United States used to be known as the frontier, and now that region will provide access to the final frontier. On June 19, ground will be broken in New Mexico for Spaceport America, the world’s first commercial spaceport built for launching private citizens into space. Groundbreaking ceremonies will include a flyover by Virgin Galactic’s WhiteKnightTwo, the mothership that will send tourists on their way to space in SpaceShip2. Virgin Galactic will be the first – if not most important — tenant of Spaceport America, and already more than 250 people have put money down to take trips to the edge of space as early as next year.
Spaceport America’s runway is scheduled to be completed next summer. The terminal and hangar should be ready for tenants in December 2010, when Virgin Galactic hopes to begin taking tourists to space.
Competitors such as XCOR Aerospace and Armadillo Aerospace are developing spacecraft for $95,000 flights. And as flights become more routine, costs should drop.
Five miles from the terminal is a launching pad for 20-foot rockets used mostly for science experiments, which has been operational for the past two years.
If you are in the Las Cruces/ Truth or Consequences, New Mexico area, check out Spaceport America’s website. The groundbreaking ceremonies are free and open to the public.
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Source: AP, Spaceport America