Construction of Spaceport America, a structure designed exclusively for commercial use of space, begins tomorrow in New Mexico. The major aim of the site it to offer both vertical and horizontal launch vehicles that will eventually deliver commercial payloads along with passengers into orbit.
The site will be the future home of Virgin Galactic, the company that is most actively pursuing commercial space travel for the masses. Well, those that can cough up $200,000 anyway. There is no word on when they’ll begin the actual flights with paying passengers, but the spacecraft, creatively dubbed SpaceShipTwo and WhiteKnightTwo are already in the testing phase. Once that testing is complete, VG will begin offering weekly sub-orbital flights.
Spaceport America has already been launching satellites from a temporary facility, but once construction is complete, all of the launches and landings will take place at the permanent spaceport. The current goal is to have the facility finished by December of 2010, and regular launches resuming shortly after that.
Is the next great adventure found in space? Perhaps! But obviously we are still a long way from actual space travel, but even still a project like this can’t help but be a step in that direction. I for one would love to take a ride on the SpaceShipTwo and go up into orbit. Unfortunately, until I win the lottery, I’ll have to just watch from down here on Earth.
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