Spaceport America

Spaceport America
Spaceport America
Entrance gate Spaceport America.jpg
Spaceport America entrance gate, in March 2010.
Airport type Private Commercial Spaceport
Owner/Operator New Mexico Spaceport Authority
Location Sierra County, New Mexico
Hub for Virgin Galactic,
UP Aerospace,
Payload Specialties
Elevation AMSL 4,595 ft / 1,401 m
Coordinates 32°59′25″N 106°58′11″W / 32.99028°N 106.96972°W / 32.99028; -106.96972Coordinates: 32°59′25″N 106°58′11″W / 32.99028°N 106.96972°W / 32.99028; -106.96972
Spaceport America is located in New Mexico
Spaceport America
Location within New Mexico
Direction Length Surface
ft m
16/34 10,000 3,048 Concrete

Spaceport America (formerly the Southwest Regional Spaceport) is a spaceport located in the Jornada del Muerto desert basin in New Mexico, United States. It lies 90 miles (140 km) north of El Paso, 45 miles (72 km) north of Las Cruces, 30 miles (48 km) east of Truth or Consequences. Spaceport America was officially declared open on the 18 October 2011.[1]

The site has been described "the world's first purpose-built commercial spaceport".[2][3][4] As of October 2009, eight suborbital missions have been successfully launched from the port.



Concrete plant on the site of Spaceport America, used to make concrete for paving the runway.

Spaceport America is the result of nearly two decades of efforts to increase the commercial accessibility of spaceflight, namely in southern New Mexico.[citation needed]


The spaceport's initial concept was proposed by Dr. Burton Lee, of Stanford University, in 1990.[5] He also wrote the initial business and strategic plans, secured US$1.4 million seed funding via congressional earmark (with help from Senator Pete Domenici), and worked with the New Mexico State University Physical Science Laboratory (PSL) to develop local support for the spaceport concept.[citation needed]

In 1992, the Southwest Space Task Force was formed to advance the New Mexico space industry's commercial infrastructure and activity.[6][7] After several years of study, they focused on a 27-square-mile (70 km2) plot of state-owned land, 45 miles (72 km) north of Las Cruces, as a location for an inland spaceport. When Economic Development Cabinet Secretary Rick Homans took office in 2003, they petitioned their case to him. Homans then picked up the torch, presenting the idea of a New Mexico spaceport to Governor Richardson, negotiating with the X Prize Foundation to locate the X Prize Cup in New Mexico, tackling legislation to finance the spaceport, and recruiting several of its aerospace partners.[citation needed]

Construction and funding

Following Governor Richardson and Sir Richard Branson's announcement that Virgin Galactic would make New Mexico its world headquarters, the governor and the New Mexico legislature enacted laws providing for the world’s first purpose-built commercial spaceport in 2006.[2][7] The spaceport was branded Spaceport America.

Construction of the first temporary launch facility at the spaceport site began on April 4, 2006.[8] Early operations of the spaceport utilized this temporary infrastructure, some of it borrowed from neighboring White Sands Missile Range.[9] In early 2007, the spaceport was still in the process of clearing red tape and was still little more than "a 100-foot (30 m) by 25-foot (7.6 m) concrete slab," part of the launch facility for the spaceport's first launch tenant, UP Aerospace.[10] On April 3, 2007, voters in neighboring Doña Ana County approved, by referendum, a spaceport tax. However, the spaceport district couldn't yet be created and the tax yet collected until the county containing the spaceport, Sierra County, gave final approval.[11] The first images of the then planned spaceport's Hangar Terminal Facility (HTF) were released in early September 2007.[12]

In April 2008, the voters of Sierra County approved the plan, releasing over US$40 million in funding for the spaceport.[13] Voters in a third county, Otero, voted in the November 2008 general election to reject the spaceport tax.[14] Following this, great headway in its completion began to be made.[15][16]

In December 2008, the New Mexico Spaceport Authority received its launch license for vertical and horizontal launch in from the Federal Aviation Administration's Office of Commercial Space Transportation.[17][18] Shortly thereafter, Virgin Galactic signed a 20-year (240-month) lease, as the anchor tenant,[19] for the hangar facilities of the spaceport.[15] Virgin Galactic agreed to pay US$1 million per year for the first five years, as well as payments on a tiered scale, based on the number of launches the company makes.[20][21]

Gerald Martin Construction Management from Albuquerque was chosen in December 2008 to oversee construction of the spaceport.[22][23] As of April 2009, the first of 13 bid packages for the spaceport was expected to be publicly released later that month and all 13 bid packages were scheduled to be released by June 2009. "The goal is to have [construction] completed in 17 months, by December 2010."[24]

The ground-breaking ceremony marking the beginning of construction for Spaceport America's permanent facilities was held on June 19, 2009. On 22 October 2009, the spaceport announced that paid tours of the facilities would begin in December 2009.[25][26]

As of February 2010, in mid-construction, the budgetary estimate for completion was $198 million.[27]

On October 22, 2010, a ceremonial flypass of the spaceport was made by SpaceShipTwo to celebrate completion of major construction at the facility. A released statement about the event said, "(the) completion of the runway at Spaceport America (is) a major milestone in the construction of the world's first purpose-built commercial spaceport."[28]

As of October 2010, with the runway complete and the terminal building under active construction, the budgetary estimate for completion is $212 million. Approximately two-thirds of that is coming from the state of New Mexico with the remainder coming from "construction bonds backed by a tax approved by voters in Doña Ana and Sierra counties."[29]


Location of Spaceport America in Sierra County
Location of Spaceport America, showing broader context (the original Spaceport America Spaceport Tax District), including Doña Ana, Luna, Otero, and Sierra Counties.

The site area nets approximately 670,000 sq ft (62,000 m2), with the terminal & hangar facility grossing an area of 110,152 sq ft (10,233.5 m2).[30]

The western zone of the Facility (25,597 sq ft.) houses support and administrative facilities for Virgin Galactic and the New Mexico Spaceport Authority. The central zone contains the double-height hangar (47,000 sq ft.) to store White Knight Two and SpaceShipTwo crafts. The eastern zone (29,419 sq ft.) encompasses the principal operational training area, departure lounge, spacesuit dressing rooms, and celebration areas.[30]

The onsite restaurant and mission control room have a direct east views across the apron, runway and landscape beyond.[30]

The port is designed with environmental sustainability in mind. It's designed to meet the requirements for LEED Gold Certification. It will incorporate "Earth Tubes" to cool the building, solar thermal panels, underfloor radiant cooling and heating, and natural ventilation during the mid seasons.[30]

A visitor center is planned in downtown Truth Or Consequences (the closest town) to provide shuttle bus services to the Spaceport.[31]


Virgin Galactic, the spaceport's anchor tenant, will have primary access to the spaceport's 10,000-foot-long (3,000 m) runway. From which, it will operate 212 hour commercial trips. Virgin's suborbital ship, SpaceShipTwo (SS2), will be flown by its mother-craft, White Knight Two (WK2), to an altitude of 50,000 feet (15,000 m) before blasting off into a suborbital trajectory. Space Ship Two's launches will apex 70 miles (110 km) from the Earth's surface at more than 2,000 mph (3,200 km/h). Customers will take part in 3 days pre-flight preparation, bonding, and training onsite at the spaceport.[32]

Other incorporations located at the site include the Rocket Racing League and Microgravity Enterprises, Inc.

Spaceport America has already hosted several vertical launches of its first tenant, UP Aerospace. Though incomplete, it has multiple vertical takeoff facilities completed.[16]

UP Aerospace launch history

Launch Date (UTC) Vehicle Payload Launch pad Result Remarks
1 September 25, 2006[33] SpaceLoft XL Various UA launch tower Failure The [unsuccessful] maiden launch of a SpaceLoft XL rocket by UP Aerospace. It veered off course and lost control shortly after lift-off.[33]
2 April 28, 2007 SpaceLoft XL Celestis and other payloads UA launch tower Success

The first successful launch, a second Spaceloft XL, primarily carried cremated human remains, including those of astronaut Gordon Cooper and Star Trek actor James Doohan.[34]

3 December 19, 2007[35][36] Proprietary test vehicle Technology Demonstration UA launch tower Success Low-altitude atmospheric launch.[35]
4 December 2007 [37] Space plane prototype[38] None UA launch tower Success Proprietary technology launch for Lockheed Martin.
5 August 12, 2008 [39] Space plane prototype None UA launch tower Success (Spaceport America & UP Aerospace view)[39] Anomalous (Lockheed-Martin view)[38] Proprietary technology launch for Lockheed Martin.
6 May 2, 2009 [40] SpaceLoft XL New Mexico student payloads
Celestis Discovery
UA launch tower Anomalous

"Education opportunity for New Mexico students to design experiments that use the environment of suborbital space to answer scientific and engineering questions".[40] The craft failed to reach space.[41][42]

7 August 4, 2009 [43] Black Watch[44] ground-launched UAV prototype [45] UA launch tower Success Test flight launch for Florida-based Moog-FTS.[43]
8 10 October 2009 [43] "reusable rocket plane"[46] Lockheed proprietary payload UA launch tower Success Test of "proprietary advanced launch technologies" for Lockheed Martin.[43]
9 May 4, 2010 SpaceLoft XL Various UA launch tower Success UP Aerospace successfully launched the 4th SpaceLoft Rocket 70 miles into space. The vehicle spent four minutes in the weightlessness of space before landing on the neighboring White Sands Missile Range.
10 May 20, 2011 SpaceLoft XL Various UA launch tower Success The vehicle performed a flawless mission reaching a Spaceport America record setting altitude of 73.5 miles (118 km) into space.


As of February 2011, Virgin Galactic had accepted over 400 reservations for suborbital trips, and collected $50 million in deposits.[47] Concerning the company’s plans to launch its first flight from Spaceport America, Stephen Attenborough, CEO of Virgin Galactic, has said “I am hopeful (it will be) this year (2011) or early next year.”[48]

As of 2008, it was expected that, once completed, Spaceport America would become the venue for the annual X Prize Cup suborbital spaceflight competitions.[49][dated info]

On January 5, 2011 Executive Director, Rick Homans offered his resignation effective as of January 7. Mr. Homans stated in his letter that the administration of incoming Governor Susana Martinez had insisted upon it.[50]

Increased private funding

With the beginning of the administration of New Mexico Governor Susana Martinez in 2011, the state government has taken a new approach to increase private investment to complete the spaceport project. In order to oversee the new effort, Gov. Martinez appointed an entirely new board of directors for the Spaceport Authority.[51]

See also


  1. ^ "Branson Dedicates Space Terminal". Wallstreet Journal. 18 October 2011. Retrieved 2011-10-18. 
  2. ^ a b David, Leonard (2007-09-04). "Spaceport America: First Looks at a New Space Terminal". Retrieved 2008-02-10. 
  3. ^ "Work starts on New Mexico spaceport". BBC. 20 june 2009. Retrieved 2009-06-30. 
  4. ^ Ohtake, Miyoko (August 25, 2007). "Virgin Galactic Preps for Liftoff at World's First Commercial Spaceport". Wired Magazine (15:10). Retrieved 2009-01-24. 
  5. ^ "History of Spaceport America". New Mexico State University. Retrieved 2008-04-05. 
  6. ^ Hill, Karl (2006). "Destination: Space-Not even the sky's the limit for new aerospace industry". New Mexico State University. Retrieved 2008-04-04. 
  7. ^ a b "Spaceport America: History". New Mexico Spaceport Authority. 2007. Retrieved 2010-05-27. 
  8. ^ Haussamen, Heath (2006-04-04). "Temporary spaceport being built; 1st launch likely 'before September'". Las Cruces Sun-News: p. 1A. 
  9. ^ Holston, Mike (2007-04-28). "Spaceport America interview" (wma video). UP Aerospace. Retrieved 2008-07-05. 
  10. ^ Caldwell, Alicia (2007-04-28). "Ashes of Star Trek's Scotty Fly to Space". Washington Post. Retrieved 2008-07-24. 
  11. ^ Alba, Diana M. (2007-12-12). "New tax still up in the air". Las Cruces Sun-News. ISSN 1081-2172. Retrieved 2008-10-02. 
  12. ^ "First images of Spaceport America revealed". Flight Global. 2007-04-09. Retrieved 2008-02-10. 
  13. ^ Kaufman, Marc (2008-05-10). "New Mexico Moves Ahead on Spaceport: 2010 Opening Appears to Be Within Reach, Even With Remaining Hurdles". Washington Post. Retrieved 2008-07-24. 
  14. ^ Medina, Jose L. (2008-11-06). "Spaceport to move forward despite Otero vote". Las Cruces Sun-News. ISSN 1081-2172. Retrieved 2008-11-13. 
  15. ^ a b Spaceport America, New Mexico Spaceport Authority (December 2008). "Spaceport Progress 2008 / 2009". Retrieved 2010-05-27. 
  16. ^ a b "Spaceport America Construction Status". May 2010. Retrieved 2010-05-27. 
  17. ^ "Spaceport receives launch license". Las Cruces Sun-News. 2008-12-16. Retrieved 2008-12-16. 
  18. ^ "FAA Issues Launch Site Operator License for Spaceport America" (Press release). New Mexico Spaceport Authority. 2008-12-15. Retrieved 2008-12-16. 
  19. ^ "America Spaceport Grows Desert". Fox News. 2010-01-28. Retrieved 2010-05-30. 
  20. ^ Alba, Diana M. (2009-01-01). "Virgin Galactic signs Spaceport America lease". Las Cruces Sun-News. Retrieved 2009-01-01. 
  21. ^ "Governor Bill Richardson Announces Spaceport America and Virgin Galactic Sign Historic Lease Agreement" (Press release). New Mexico Spaceport Authority. 2008-12-31. Retrieved 2009-01-01. 
  22. ^ Meeks, Ashley (2008-12-19). "Company chosen to build spaceport". Las Cruces Sun-News. Retrieved 2008-12-19. 
  23. ^ "Construction Management Firm Named for Spaceport America" (Press release). New Mexico Spaceport Authority. 2008-12-18. Retrieved 2008-12-19. 
  24. ^ Ramirez, Steve (2009-04-10). "Spaceport America offers job opportunities". Las Cruces Sun-News. Retrieved 2009-04-21. 
  25. ^ "Tours of spaceport site in December". Las Cruces Sun-News. 2009-10-22. Retrieved 2009-10-22. [dead link]
  26. ^ "Spaceport America Hardhat Tours Announced at ISPCS" (PDF) (Press release). Spaceport America. October 21, 2009. Retrieved 2010-03-14. 
  27. ^ Barry, Dan (February 21, 2010). "A New Exit to Space Readies for Business". New York Times. Retrieved February 22, 2010. 
  28. ^ "Virgin spaceship to pass new milestone". AFP via Yahoo News. 2010-10-22. Retrieved 2010-10-22. 
  29. ^ New era draws closer: Spaceport dedicates runway on New Mexico ranch El Paso Times, 2010-10-23, accessed 2010-10-25. "two-thirds of the $212 million required to build the spaceport came from the state of New Mexico... The rest came from construction bonds backed by a tax approved by voters in Doña Ana and Sierra counties."
  30. ^ a b c d
  31. ^ Korte, Tim (2009-06-19). "Ceremony marks New Mexico spaceport launch". Associated Press. Retrieved 2009-06-19. 
  32. ^ "Spaceport America - White Sands New Mexico". Retrieved 2010-05-30. 
  33. ^ a b David, Leonard (2007-01-19). "UP Aerospace: Return to Flight in Progress". Retrieved 2008-07-24. 
  34. ^ "Ashes of Star Trek's Scotty Fly to Space". Washington Post. Retrieved 2008-04-04. 
  35. ^ a b "UP Aerospace launches test flight from spaceport". Retrieved 2008-04-05. [dead link]
  36. ^ "Private Firm Launches Test Shot From Spaceport America". Retrieved 2008-04-05. 
  37. ^ "Lockheed Martin signs agreement with NM Spaceport". New Mexico Business Weekly. 2008-04-15. Retrieved 2008-07-05. 
  38. ^ a b David, Leonard (2008-08-15). "Space Plane Prototype Suffers Anomaly in Launch Test". 
  39. ^ a b "Up Aerospace, Lockheed Martin Launch" (Press release). New Mexico Spaceport Authority. 2008-08-13. Retrieved 2008-08-13. 
  40. ^ a b "Spaceport America Student Launch Program 2008–2009". New Mexico State University. 2009-03-16. Retrieved 2009-04-21. [dead link]
  41. ^ "Officials Praise NM Rocket Launch". KOAT. 2009-05-02. Retrieved 2009-05-02. 
  42. ^ "Rocket falls short of altitude goal at space port". 2009-05-02. Retrieved 2009-05-02. [dead link]
  43. ^ a b c d "Lockheed Martin launches test vehicle from NM's Spaceport America". Las Cruces Sun-News. 2009-10-12. Retrieved 2009-10-22. 
  44. ^ Martin, Bob (2009-08-05). "Spaceport launches one, scrubs another". TV news video segment (KRQE channel 13). Retrieved 2009-10-22. 
  45. ^ "Successful Launch From Spaceport America by Up Aerospace, MOOG-FTS" (Press release). Spaceport America. 2009-08-04. Retrieved 2009-10-22. 
  46. ^ David, Leonard (2009-10-15). "Reusable Rocket Plane Soars in Test Flight". Retrieved 2009-10-22. 
  47. ^ VSS Enterprise Completes First Manned Glide Flight, Virgin Galactic, 2010-10-10, accessed 2010-12-30.
  48. ^ Dubey, Rajeev (14-02-2011). "We Don’t Set Dates; We Set Milestones". Businessworld. Retrieved 26 June 2011. 
  49. ^ "Private Spaceflight: Shifting into Fast Forward". Retrieved 2008-02-10. 
  50. ^ "Letter of Resignation". Retrieved 2011-01-22. 
  51. ^ "Martinez pushes private funds for spaceport". Cibola Beacon. 2011-02-14. Retrieved 2011-02-16. "Martinez said ... "New Mexico's taxpayers have made a significant investment in the Spaceport project. It's time to see the project through to completion by bringing in private funding."" 

External links

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Игры ⚽ Нужно решить контрольную?

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Spaceport America — Spaceport America …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Spaceport America — 32°59′16.80″N 106°58′30.00″O / 32.988, 106.975 …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Spaceport Sweden — is a company that plans to make Kiruna the primary European Spaceport for personal suborbital spaceflight and space tourism. It s a co operation between the Swedish Space Corporation, the Jukkasjärvi Icehotel, LFV Group and Kiruna’s business… …   Wikipedia

  • Spaceport — For the tourist attraction, see Spaceport (Seacombe). The Baikonur Cosmodrome (Gagarin s Start launch pad) A spaceport or cosmodrome (Russian: космодром) is a site for launching (or receiving) spacecraft, by analogy with seaport for ships or… …   Wikipedia

  • New Mexico Spaceport — Spaceport America (ehemals Southwest Regional Spaceport, auch New Mexico Spaceport) ist der Name eines US amerikanischen Weltraumbahnhofs. Das Gelände umfasst 70 Quadratkilometer Wüstengelände. Es liegt in der Nähe von Upham, New Mexico, ungefähr …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Southwest Regional Spaceport — Spaceport America (ehemals Southwest Regional Spaceport, auch New Mexico Spaceport) ist der Name eines US amerikanischen Weltraumbahnhofs. Das Gelände umfasst 70 Quadratkilometer Wüstengelände. Es liegt in der Nähe von Upham, New Mexico, ungefähr …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Puerto Espacial América — Spaceport America IATA: RMF    …   Wikipedia Español

  • New Mexico Spaceport Authority — The New Mexico Spaceport Authority is a non governmental panel, appointed by the Governor of New Mexico, whose members represent the public sector in the development and construction of Spaceport America, a facility, under construction as of… …   Wikipedia

  • Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport — An aerial view of the launch pads at the Mid Atlantic Regional Spaceport and NASA s Wallops Flight Facility The Mid Atlantic Regional Spaceport (MARS) is a commercial space launch facility located at the southern tip of NASA s Wallops Flight… …   Wikipedia

  • South America — is a continent of the Americas, situated entirely in the Western Hemisphere and mostly in the Southern Hemisphere, with a relatively small portion in the Northern Hemisphere. It is bordered on the west by the Pacific Ocean and on the north and… …   Wikipedia

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”