Virgin Galactic to Dedicate Spaceport America Terminal on Monday

 Virgin Galactic will take another step toward opening a new era of space travel by formally dedicating its new home at Spaceport America in southern New Mexico on Monday, Oct. 17, 2011. Sir Richard Branson will attend the event, which will include a press conference and dedication ceremony, along with more than 150 future Virgin Galactic astronauts from around the world. The Terminal Hangar Facility will serve as the operating hub for Virgin Galactic and will house up to two WhiteKnightTwos and five SpaceShipTwos, in addition to all of Virgin’s astronaut preparation facilities and mission control.

During the event, Virgin Galactic will make important announcements relating to its rapidly expanding customer base and its investment in people and new technologies as the final pieces are put into place to create the world’s first commercial spaceline.
Press conference participants
–          Virgin Galactic Founder Sir Richard Branson
–          New Mexico Governor Susana Martinez
–          Congressman Steve Pearce
–          Virgin Galactic President & CEO George Whitesides
–          Virgin Galactic Commercial Director Stephen Attenborough
The iconic spaceport was designed by world-renowned, United Kingdom-based Foster + Partners, along with URS Corporation and local New Mexico architects SMPC. The trio won an international competition to build the first private spaceport in the world. Meeting Gold LEED standards and using local materials and regional construction techniques, the facility is sustainable with few additional energy requirements.
Photos, video footage and a complete electronic press kit will be available here on Oct. 17.
Virgin Galactic, owned by Sir Richard Branson’s Virgin Group and Aabar Investments PJS, is on track to be the world’s first commercial spaceline. The new spaceship (SpaceshipTwo, VSS Enterprise) and carrier craft (WhiteKnightTwo, VMS Eve) have both been developed for Virgin Galactic by Mojave-based Scaled Composites. Founded by Burt Rutan, Scaled developed SpaceShipOne, which in 2004 claimed the $10m Ansari X Prize as the world’s first privately developed manned spacecraft. Virgin Galactic’s new vehicles share much of the same basic design, but are being built to carry six customers on sub-orbital space flights, allowing an out-of-the-seat, zero-gravity experience and offering astounding views of the planet from the black sky of space. The VSS Enterprise and VMS Eve test flight program is well under way, leading to Virgin Galactic commercial operations, which will be based at Spaceport America in New Mexico.