Clara Moskowitz at Spaceport America
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
Driving toward the spaceport, the hangar with its shell-like roof and a nearby dome building seem to blend into the scenery.
Truth or Consequences
A building in the town of Truth or Consequences, the nearest population center to the isolated spaceport.
The Terminal Hangar
First stop: the terminal hangar, the focal point of the $209 million facility.
Part of the Hangar
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.
Central Building Under Construction
Spaceport America officials plan to finish construction of this central building in 2012.
Spaceport Operations Center
The dome-shaped Spaceport Operations Center will house offices and Mission Control.
"Eyebrow" of 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.
Bill Richardson's Runway
The runway is named after former New Mexico governor Bill Richardson, who was instrumental in getting the Spaceport America project started.
Forecast: Dry and Clear
New Mexico's dry and clear weather is a major selling point for the spaceport.