Architects unveiled designs last week for Spaceport America, an earth-friendly spaceport being planned for southern New Mexico.
The 100,000-square-foot building is designed to convey the thrill of space travel while making a minimal impact on the environment, according to architects. It relies on passive energy for heating and cooling, with photovoltaic panels for electricity and water recycling capabilities
When it is completed, Spaceport America will include training and medical facilities for space tourists as well as hangar space for maintenance and storage of spacecraft.
Virgin Galactic is expected to be one of the first companies to use the new facility when it begins flying suborbital flights for space tourists.
The flights, which will cost $200,000 per passenger, will feature several minutes of weightlessness and views extending thousands of miles from above the Earth’s surface. The company expects to start with one daily flight and eventually expand to three suborbital launches a day.
Construction on Spaceport America is scheduled to begin next year and should be completed by late 2009 or early 2010.