Saturday, October 6, 2007

Virgin Galactic Preps for Liftoff at World's First Commercial Spaceport

Great photos the other week about Spaceport America, and nice placement as the world's 'first commercial spaceport'.

Virgin Galactic Preps for Liftoff at World's First Commercial Spaceport
By Miyoko Ohtake 09.25.07 | 2:00 AM

Good-bye, Cape Canaveral. It's been nice knowing you, Edwards Air Force Base. The future hub of space travel won't be some restricted-access military installation. It will be in the middle of the New Mexico desert — and look surprisingly like a cylon raider from Battlestar Galactica. This fall, the New Mexico Spaceport Authority unveiled the design for the world's first public launching and landing site for space vehicles, Spaceport America, future home to Virgin Galactic and the X Prize cup. The plan — by UK architecture firm Foster + Partners and San Francisco-based engineering shop URS — includes a passenger terminal and a hangar big enough for seven craft. When it's completed in 2010, the project will have set New Mexico's taxpayers back an estimated $225 million. And with that kind of money, you can buy a lot of sci-fi panache. "The spaceport design had to be a vision of the future, not the past," says Will Whitehorn, Virgin Galactic's president. "It's not a railroad station we're building out there." While Spaceport America's anchor tenant will be Virgin — which is still hoping for a 2009 launch despite a recent explosion at its development facility in Southern California — other private space ventures are invited to dock there as well. Can't afford a $200,000 ticket to the heavens? Just head 200 miles east to see if you can hitch a ride from Roswell instead.

More about Space Torusim here.

From USA Today...

BOSTON — Either selling outer-space vacations to wealthy business moguls is easy or Eric Anderson's a superb salesman.
Just 33, Anderson is CEO of the decade-old company Space Adventures, a Northern Virginia-based firm that sells space trips aboard Russian spacecraft to extremely rich private citizens. The price: $30 million to $40 million, depending on details of the trip. He's been the middleman in all five deals in which the Russians have delivered a tourist to the International Space Station and returned them safely.

When he first started the venture, he said while traveling here recently on business, "Everyone said, 'You're crazy.' " But Anderson's dad, a real estate entrepreneur, taught him to never take no for an answer, and he hasn't.

"I'm the only one who can get you a trip into space," he says while hurtling through Boston streets in a limousine on his way to speak at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

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