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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.

Desert landscape in the south of New Mexico

Elephant Butte Lake near Elephant Butte, the start point of the tour

Entrance to the Spaceport grounds, in the background are the hangar facility (right) and Mission Control (left)

Proof of evidence that I was there;-)

Pad for landing tests on crater sites

Pads for normal launch and landing tests

Vehicle of Follow The Sun Tours, the company offering the visits

The San Andres Mountains, behind them is the White Sands Missile Range

One of the crater test pads close-up

Up Aerospace has also a place of business here

The quarry where the construction material comes from

Hangar facility, still under construction - later it is supposed to be completely ground-covered and overgrown

Who now wants to visit the spaceport as well, can get informed in the links below.

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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