Construction has begun on Virgin Galactic's 'Spaceport America' in Upham New Mexico, the world's first commercial spaceport.
The $300 million facility will be home base to Virgin Galactic's future fleet of space hopping aircraft.
The new spaceport which
broke ground last week, will consist of a main 110,00 square-foot terminal, a 10,000 x 200 foot runway and a
4,000 square foot viewing gallery.
Designed by a team of American and British Architects and engineers from Foster and Partners, Spaceport America will
feature an ultra futuristic look coupled with cutting edge highly efficient green buildings that exceed the latest U.S. green buildings
Councils LEEDís rating system. Each building will make extensive use of clean energy technology throughout, from earth-tubes that will
pre-condition the air to reduce HVAC costs by 50-70% to solar thermal panels on the roof for hot water to the embedded in-floor
loop system. To further facilitate the feeling that you're leaving from some other planet in the outer reaches galaxy and to reduce cooling costs by an estimated 50-70%, a good portion of the structures will be partially buried underneath the New Mexican sand.
Spaceport America will take an estimated 18 months to complete, with the first brave souls leaving earth's bounds sometime in 2011, for a cool $200,000 per ticket.