Do you want to buy a ticket to outer space? Fly into orbit for the most breathtaking views of Earth possible? Well, those dreams for many took a step closer to reality yesterday as the world’s first commercial spaceport officially opened with dedication ceremonies for the new home of Virgin Galactic, Spaceport America, in New Mexico. It’s the beginning of a whole new space age…
With about 800 people attending, the terminal building was officially named “Virgin Galactic Gateway to Space” while its two spacecraft, WhiteKnightTwo and SpaceShipTwo, flew overhead. The ceremonies were overseen by Virgin Galactic’s founder Sir Richard Branson. New Mexico Governor Susana Martinez and Congressman Steve Pearce were also in attendance. The ceremonies even included a performance, (on the side of the building!) by the dance troupe Project Bandaloop (see video below).
“Today is another history-making day for Virgin Galactic,” said Sir Richard Branson. “We are here with a group of incredible people who are helping us lead the way in creating one of the most important new industrial sectors of the 21st century. We’ve never wavered in our commitment to the monumental task of pioneering safe, affordable and clean access to space, or to demonstrate that we mean business at each step along the way.”
This event marks a major milestone in the history of commercial spaceflight; once only the domain of NASA and other government space agencies, the space age is now finally really coming into its own, opening up the way for more ordinary citizens to leave Earth, at least to low-Earth orbit for now. Could space hotels be far behind?
“For me, my children and our ever growing community of future astronauts, many of whom are with us today, standing in front of the Virgin Galactic Gateway to Space as it glimmers majestically under the New Mexican sun brings our space adventure so close we can almost taste it,” said Sir Richard.
Source: Virgin Galactic