Private Spaceport In New Mexico Nears Completion
Spaceport America, the commercial space flight venture in southern New Mexico, is wrapping up plans for its final phase of construction.
Included in those plans are three visitor centers that will be open to the general public. One visitor center will be in Hatch, the second in Truth or Consequences and the third will be on site at the spaceport. Visitors who cannot afford the actual space flight will be able to experience a simulated flight at the main welcome center.
The company behind Spaceport America is Virgin Galactic, owned by British billionaire Richard Branson. The cost of a flight is $200,000 and includes about 5 minutes of weightlessness in sub-orbital space. So far 500 tickets have sold - including one to actor Ashton Kutcher.
The site already has a completed 10,000 foot runway and a hangar. Next will be the permanent Vertical Launch facility and the second of two roads that leads to the spaceport, which is located about two hours outside of El Paso, Texas.
A spokesman for Spaceport America said they expect a quarter million visitors a year. He said the company hopes to launch the first customers into space at the end of 2013.