The World’s First Commercial Spaceport, Virgin Galactic’s Gateway To Space, Is Now Operational

Sir Richard Branson’s Gateway to Space has been a long time coming. While it was structurally completed in 2011, delays in the space programme led to the building being mostly empty. The interior has now  been finally completed, complete with retro- futuristic furniture that harken back to the 1950s, and wood-lined walls that lend a light, airy feel to the building.

Designed to be LEED Gold accredited, Gateway to Space is dug into the desert on one side, with an awe-inspiring entrance that allows it to take advantage of the thermal mass while also acting as a buffer to its often harsh environment. Skylights are also a natural fit with the strong desert sun providing plenty of daylight, while vents allow for westerly winds to ventilate the building. 

Virgin Galactic Opens the Doors to the 'Gateway to Space' | Spaceport  America
Credit: Spaceport America

Most importantly, the Spaceport is approved by Virgin Galactic’s’ pilots, including Mike “Sooch” Masucci, who has already endorsed the layout of the Cirrus level. Here, large windows flank one side of the building to provide a view of the runway. “It keeps us motivated, but more importantly, keeps our heartbeat on what’s going on outside,” he said

Unlike a regular airport, guests will spend several days training at the facility before their journey to space. If you want to hop on a ride onboard SpaceShipTwo, you’ll need to cough up  a whopping US$250,000 (S$347,000), though that is by far the cheapest way to head into space.  In comparison, rented seats on board a Soyuz rocket in the past would have cost millions. 

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