Out of This World
The Future is Here … and it’s in Southern New Mexico
America’s first commercial spaceport, Spaceport America, is open for business. Both SpaceX, which is testing orbital payload rockets, and Virgin Galactic, which will be flying paying passengers into space, are utilizing this new facility.
Public access to the site is currently restricted until completion of the visitor facilities later this year, but tours are available daily through Follow the Sun Tours (www
.ftstours.com), which departs from Elephant Butte, New Mexico (80 miles north of Las Cruces). Tours are available Friday, Saturday and Sunday, and the tour length is approximately 3.5 hours. Reservations are required.
After a 30-mile drive, the tour bus arrives at Spaceport America and visitors spot the very impressive 2-mile runway that will be used for landings of the first commercial passenger spaceship, Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShipTwo. Richard Branson’s company is offering suborbital rides into outer space for six passengers a flight, at a cost of $250,000 a ticket.
Tour visitors will also see the Gateway Building, which contains the passenger departure and readiness lounge, the SpaceShipTwo hangar and the Spaceport Operations Center (shown in the photo above).
There are a number of private RV parks in the Elephant Butte and Truth or Consequences area, as well as Elephant Butte State Park, which offers electric and water sites overlooking the large Elephant Butte Reservoir.
For more information, visit http://spaceportamerica.com.