Aircraft

Two mile long runway opens at Spaceport America

Two mile long runway opens at ...
VSS Enterprise flies over the runway dedication ceremony at Spaceport America, New Mexico (Photo: Mark Greenberg)
VSS Enterprise flies over the runway dedication ceremony at Spaceport America, New Mexico (Photo: Mark Greenberg)
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Sir Richard Branson, New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson, Buzz Aldrin along with Virgin Galactic future astronauts and team (Photo: Jesse Ramire
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Sir Richard Branson, New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson, Buzz Aldrin along with Virgin Galactic future astronauts and team (Photo: Jesse Ramire
VSS Enterprise flies over the runway dedication ceremony at Spaceport America, New Mexico (Photo: Mark Greenberg)
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VSS Enterprise flies over the runway dedication ceremony at Spaceport America, New Mexico (Photo: Mark Greenberg)
VMS Eve and VSS Enterprise above Spaceport America (Photo: Jeffrey Vock)
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VMS Eve and VSS Enterprise above Spaceport America (Photo: Jeffrey Vock)
Sir Richard Branson and Governor Richardson in front of Spaceport America with VMS Eve and VSS Enterprise above (Photo: Jeffrey Vock)
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Sir Richard Branson and Governor Richardson in front of Spaceport America with VMS Eve and VSS Enterprise above (Photo: Jeffrey Vock)
Sir Richard Branson and Governor Richardson in front of Spaceport America with VMS Eve and VSS Enterprise above (Photo: Jeffrey Vock)
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Sir Richard Branson and Governor Richardson in front of Spaceport America with VMS Eve and VSS Enterprise above (Photo: Jeffrey Vock)
VSS Enterprise flies over the runway (Photo: Mark Greenberg)
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VSS Enterprise flies over the runway (Photo: Mark Greenberg)

Virgin Galactic's first generation of commercial space vehicles now have somewhere to land with the completion of the runway at Spaceport America in New Mexico. The 42-inch thick, almost two mile long "spaceway" was dedicated in a ceremony attended by New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson, Buzz Aldrin, Sir Richard Branson and around 30 soon-to-be space tourists who have signed up as Virgin Galactic's first customers.

Located in the desert near Truth and Consequences, New Mexico, which is around 150 miles south of Albuquerque (and you thought getting to JFK was a hassle), Spaceport America has been providing commercial launch services since 2006 and is expected to be fully completed in 2011.

The runway is designed to "support nearly every type of aircraft in the world today" and aerospace firms such as Lockheed Martin, Moog-FTS, Armadillo Aerospace, and UP Aerospace will also use the facility.

VMS Eve and VSS Enterprise above Spaceport America (Photo: Jeffrey Vock)
VMS Eve and VSS Enterprise above Spaceport America (Photo: Jeffrey Vock)

A grand opening will take place once the massive Foster and Partners designed terminal hangar facility is completed. The terminal is built largely underground to protect it from extreme desert conditions and uses earth tubes for cooling, solar energy for power and has its own wastewater recycling plant.

Virgin's mission control center, Two WhiteKnightTwo carrier aircraft and five SpaceShipTwos will be housed at the site along with facilities for passengers undergoing the required three days of flight preparations before setting off on their US200K space adventure.

Via: Virgin Galactic, SpacePort America

2 comments
Jason Little
Why is everyone so hung up on the fact that this runway is \"two miles long?\" There are literally hundreds of runways that are greater than 10,000\' long worldwide. If you have flown on an airliner, chances are you departed or landed on a 10,000\' runway. I\'m as excited as anyone to see the commercialization of space travel, but jeez, let\'s have some perspective people!
Gaetano Marano
. . . Why the suborbital space tourism is TOO DANGEROUS >>> . http://www.ghostnasa.com/posts2/073spacetourism.html . Read my article before buy a $200,000 suborbital ticket :D . . .