In October 2011 SPACE.com reporter Clara Moskowitz toured Spaceport America, a new commercial space launching ground under construction in the Southern New Mexico desert.
Driving toward the spaceport, the hangar with its shell-like roof and a nearby dome building seem to blend into the scenery.
A building in the town of Truth or Consequences, the nearest population center to the isolated spaceport.
First stop: the terminal hangar, the focal point of the $209 million facility.
The hangar was dedicated this month by Sir Richard Branson, whose Virgin Galactic is the anchor tenant of Spaceport America. Virgin Galactic plans to launch a fleet of suborbital space planes called SpaceShipTwo from here.
Spaceport America officials plan to finish construction of this central building in 2012.
The dome-shaped Spaceport Operations Center will house offices and Mission Control.
Mission Controllers will watch flights out of the windows from the "eyebrow" feature on the right side of the building.
The spaceport also includes a 2-mile long (3.2 km), and 200-foot-wide (61 meter) runway for space planes to launch and land on.
The runway is named after former New Mexico governor Bill Richardson, who was instrumental in getting the Spaceport America project started.
New Mexico's dry and clear weather is a major selling point for the spaceport.
The main hangar will fit up to six of Virgin Galactic's SpaceShipTwo vehicles, and two of its WhiteKnightTwo motherships.
The hangar includes glass and pre-weathered metal, which was oxidized for a rusty look to harmonize with the desert.
Virgin Galactic offices will also be located in this central space, which will have areas for astronauts as well as friends and family.
A high balcony will offer exceptional views of takeoff and landing.