Photos: Take a Tour of Spaceport America

Clara Moskowitz at Spaceport America

Clara Moskowitz/

In October 2011 reporter Clara Moskowitz toured Spaceport America, a new commercial space launching ground under construction in the Southern New Mexico desert.

Driving Toward the Spaceport

Clara Moskowitz/

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

Clara Moskowitz/

A building in the town of Truth or Consequences, the nearest population center to the isolated spaceport.

The Terminal Hangar

Clara Moskowitz/

First stop: the terminal hangar, the focal point of the $209 million facility.

Part of the Hangar

Clara Moskowitz/

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

Clara Moskowitz/

Spaceport America officials plan to finish construction of this central building in 2012.

Spaceport Operations Center

Clara Moskowitz/

The dome-shaped Spaceport Operations Center will house offices and Mission Control.

"Eyebrow" of Mission Control

Clara Moskowitz/

Mission Controllers will watch flights out of the windows from the "eyebrow" feature on the right side of the building.

Spaceport Runway

Clara Moskowitz/

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

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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

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New Mexico's dry and clear weather is a major selling point for the spaceport.

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Clara Moskowitz
Assistant Managing Editor

Clara Moskowitz is a science and space writer who joined the team in 2008 and served as Assistant Managing Editor from 2011 to 2013. Clara has a bachelor's degree in astronomy and physics from Wesleyan University, and a graduate certificate in science writing from the University of California, Santa Cruz. She covers everything from astronomy to human spaceflight and once aced a NASTAR suborbital spaceflight training program for space missions. Clara is currently Associate Editor of Scientific American. To see her latest project is, follow Clara on Twitter.