Spaceport is the world,s first commercial space travel airport, located in an isolated area of New Mexico, and Virgin Galactic is its current occupant meaning we got the chance to visit this past weekend.
After driving for the best part of an hour in our convoy of white Land Rover’s (the official vehicle partner of Virgin Galactic) on an unsealed road, we caught our first glimpse of the facility.
We turned off Asteroid Beltway into Half Moon Street,
and walked up the entrance to the facility with a huge sense of excitement, knowing that this was the same way we would be entering when the time arrived to make our flight to space.
From the all natural exterior, the transition to an all white super modern interior immediately serves the purpose for which it was designed – to deliver a mental transition from earth to the journey ahead.
That was exciting enough, but a few steps further revealed something even more exciting, a view of a spaceship sitting in the enormous hangar below.
From there we toured through the rest of the facility, with all of the consumer facing areas still in their final design phase. No photos of those as there’ll be a big reveal once they’re complete, but with fantastic views of the runway where VSS Unity will take off paired with White Knight II, it’s fair to say support crews who come to watch will have an awesome experience of their own.
Our briefing told us so much about what we could expect from here, including the design of the immediate pre-flight program – we’ll be in residence for three days before our flights, having final medical assessments, practicing entering and exiting both our suits and the spaceship, and making sure we’re fully prepared for the experience to follow.
It made it all very very real, and by the time we walked into the hangar to get up close and personal with the replica spaceship we were all grinning from ear to ear.
It was great for Stuart and the kids to hear what I’m going to experience, and it’s also provided a brilliant new behavior management strategy as I can now threaten to take the kids off my support crew list if they act up!
We headed out onto the runway to watch the sun set over the building
and pose for crazy pictures to burn off some of the excitement that had built up,
Dinner finished, and while we would have thought the day couldn’t get any better we should have known better than to underestimate the amazing Virgin Galactic team. We headed back out onto the runway, where, with Spaceport as a stunning back drop, we sat around campfires making Smores and sharing what had motivated us to become part of the Future Astronaut program.
I thought I was excited before this trip, but the visit to Spaceport has made it very very real and I just cannot wait to be back there to take my place when it’s time. The fun’s not over for this trip yet though, next stop is Mohave to visit the Virgin Galactic facility there and see VSS Unity herself!