Spaceport America Hosts Yale Architectural Students


A group of fourteen graduate students and faculty members from the Advanced Design Studio at the Yale School of Architecture and NYC-based SHoP Architects PC visited Spaceport America last week, as well as other area organizations involved in regional space activity.

The students visited the site of Spaceport America to learn more about the project, the infrastructural and programmatic requirements involved, and to understand how both public and private entities can complement the primary functions of a spaceport as the students work on their own designs as part of a class project.

New Mexico Spaceport Authority (NMSA) Executive Director Steve Landeene was excited to welcome the Yale students to the area.

“The national attention being drawn by Spaceport America is overwhelming, and we are proud to host these visiting students,” Landeene said. “While the design students were here, they also met with representatives from White Sands Missile Range, White Sands Test Facility, and New Mexico State University.”

Students and faculty from Yale’s Advanced Design Studio attended the International Symposium for Personal and Commercial Spaceflight (ISPCS) at New Mexico State in 2008, which has led to this visit.

Dr. Patricia Hynes, Chair of the ISPCS, greeted the visit with enthusiasm. “NMSU’s role is to prepare students to enable this industry. Hopefully, our students will stop leaving New Mexico to find good jobs. The fact that the Yale School of Architecture came to ISPCS and returned to learn more is further evidence that Spaceport America and ISPCS continue to be leaders in the international commercial space industry,” she said.

Spaceport America continues to make progress in the state of New Mexico. The project received an FAA Site Operators License in December, giving Spaceport America the ability to conduct vertical launch operations. On December 31, 2008, the State of New Mexico reached a 20-year lease agreement with Virgin Galactic to establish their world headquarters in New Mexico.

In January, the State announced an agreement to work with Spaceport Sweden to develop the commercial space industry, and presently the architectural firm of URS/Foster + Partners is completing the final design for the terminal and hangar facility, with construction scheduled to begin in the second quarter of 2009. Road construction to Spaceport America is already underway.

Spaceport America has been working closely with leading aerospace firms such as Virgin Galactic, Lockheed Martin, Rocket Racing Inc./Armadillo Aerospace, UP Aerospace, Microgravity Enterprises and Payload Specialties. The NMSA currently projects the terminal and hangar facility to be completed by late 2010.