NM Centennial - Into the Great Beyond: Spaceport America
Hoping to cash in on the interest in commercial space travel, New Mexico is building a $209 million spaceport about 25 miles southeast of Truth or Consequences. Spaceport America will be home to Virgin Galactic, entrepreneur Sir Richard Branson's commercial space tourism business. Branson has signed a 20-year lease with the state and plans to give space tourists a two-hour ride to the edge of space--at $200,000 a ticket.
Virgin Galactic officials say about 400 people have purchased, or made down payments, for the rides, projected to begin as early as 2013. Funded by state tax dollars, Spaceport America's futuristic $33 million, 110,152-square-foot terminal/hangar is nearing completion and work is under way on an adjacent, 14,000-square-foot, $2.9 million Spaceport Operations Center. The goal of the spaceport is to bring jobs, tourism and educational opportunities to the state.
Thanks to "New Mexico, 100 Years of Statehood" published by the Albuquerque Journal for this article.