Spaceport America in summer 2011
Spaceport America is a private spaceport which shortly will be used for the private spaceflights of Virgin Galactic's Space Ship 2.
After a long wait I had the possibility for a holiday in the US in June 2011. The original motivation was to visit some friends, but the currently under construction spaceport was not far, so I used the occasion for a visit there. You can see the best pictures here.
On the spaceport there are already launch possibilities for vertical-launch rockets (which sadly could not be visited), and also test pads for vertical launch and landing vehicles like e.g. from Armadillo Aerospace. These are separate from the Virgin Galactic facilities and are used for activities like test flights for the Lunar Lander contest.
During the planning phase of the spaceport environmental and energy-conserving issues were already considered, also it was accounted for the buildings to fit into the landscape harmonically despite their futuristic design.
The Mission Control building
Panoramic view of the spaceport
Close-up of Mission Control
The roof is covered with ceramic tiles
Close-up of the hangar facility
Hangar for carrier aircraft and spaceships...
...with bridge for future space travellers
Front side panorama windows
View to runway and San Andres Mountains with wave clouds (Lenticularis) in the sky
Mirroring of the runway in the frontside windows
The hangar facility viewed from the runway
Elephant Butte Lake with very low water level
The dam of Elephant Butte Lake (constructed 1916) and the Rio Grande