Sir Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic spaceport in New Mexico is “operationally functional”.
While, to date, Virgin’s rocket plane test flights have taken place in the Mojave Desert in California, the new site is at ‘Spaceport America’ in New Mexico, a purpose-built facility which has been “designed to enable Virgin Galactic to create an unparalleled experience as its customers prepare for journeys of a lifetime before graduating as astronauts.”
Virgin Galactic merged last month with Social Capital Hedosophia and gained a stock market listing.
More than 600 bookings have been made for sub-orbital flights with Virgin.
Spaceport America is built on an 18,000 acre site (7300 hectares) some 143 kms north of El Paso, and close to the US Army’s White Sands Missile Range. The site is claimed to be Virgin Galactic’s world headquarters. It has cost more than $200 million to build.
The site was provided and largely developed by State authorities in New Mexico.