In this video, Virgin Galactic’s “chief astronaut instructor” Beth Moses describes her first test flight on Feb. 22, 2019, on VSS Unity’s second spaceflight. She worked for NASA on the assembly of the International Space Station and is designing the 3-day training program for Virgin Galactic’s future space tourists.
What is it?
- Spaceport America is the world’s first purpose-built commercial spaceport designed and constructed specifically for commercial users. What differentiates Spaceport America from other spaceports is that the facility had not previously been used as an airport or federal infrastructure of any kind.
- The site is built to accommodate both vertical and horizontal launch aerospace vehicles, as well as an array of non-aerospace events and commercial activities.
- Spaceport America is not owned by Sir Richard Branson, as has been frequently misreported in the media. The facility is owned and operated by the State of New Mexico.
- Tenants of Spaceport America include Virgin Galactic, EXOS Aerospace Systems and Technologies, SpaceX and UP Aerospace.
- Spaceport America has been used as the setting for film and commercial production (including this Toyota commercial that aired during the 2019 Superbowl)
- The facility is frequently used for STEM education projects for students of all ages.
- Spaceport America was designed and built utilizing the U.S. Green Building Council’s (USGBC) LEED NCv2.2 program as the framework for the sustainable development of the facility. The LEED Rating System is generally recognized as being the most prominent set of sustainability guidelines in the United States by emphasizing strategies for sustainable site development, water savings, energy efficiency, materials and resources selection, and indoor environmental quality.
Where is it?
- Spaceport America is located about 35 miles southeast of Truth or Consequences. While the facility is located just off of a county road, private vehicles are not allowed entrance. To visit Spaceport America, you must book a tour through a designated tour operator.
Why is it in Sierra County?
- Spaceport America is situated on 18,000 acres adjacent to the U.S. Army White Sands Missile Range and boasts 6,000 square miles of restricted airspace. Restricted airspace is required so that launches from the facility do not interfere with commercial and private air traffic.
- At an elevation of 4,595 feet, Spaceport America has an advantage over other sea level spaceport locations. A higher elevation puts launches almost a mile closer to space, saving energy and fuel.
When will Virgin Galactic launch its space tourism flights?
- Virgin will launch after all possible testing has been done to protect the safety of their passengers.
How do I visit Spaceport?
- More info can be found on our Spaceport Tour page.