Man’s pursuit of space travel may not be science fiction any longer as British business magnate Sir Richard Branson’s space tourism company Virgin Galactic is set to build the world’s first commercial spaceport.
With the name ‘Gateway to Space’, the spaceport will no doubt leave science fiction giddy with excitement at the prospect of space travel being finally available for civilians.
Although the progress of Virgin Galactic’s Gateway to Space was delayed in 2011, it appears that the once empty building will be livelier in the coming years.
Wealthy individuals who are interested in boarding the first suborbital space flights can look forward to booking a ticket as early as next year.
The massive spaceport is set to occupy 670,000 square feet in New Mexico. It is designed by renowned British design and engineering firm Foster + Partners whose visionary works include the iconic egg-shaped 30 St Mary Axe (informally known as The Gherkin) skyscraper in London, the Reichstag building in Berlin and the glass-covered quadrangle of the British Musuem.
It is clear to see that the optimism of the 1950s vision of space travel inspired the retro-futuristic design of the terminal’s interior.
The first level- called Gaia (or Greek for Mother Earth) will host lounges and cafes for space tourist to wait for their spaceships. Cirrus- the second level- will house mission control and the staging area for pilots to convene and plan for the next space flights.
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The hangar facility will hold space-bound vehicles like the WhiteKnightTwo and SpaceShipTwo. Both vehicles are set to perform test flights in 2020.
Unlike your conventional flight on Earth, guests will need to undergo several days of training at the facility before boarding on their voyage to space. A single ticket on SpaceShipTwo is priced at USD250,000, a small price to pay to be a part of history.