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Spaceport America in summer 2011

Since I am interested in everything that has to do with spaceflight, and I was touring the southwest of the United States in 2011 anyway, a visit on the Spaceport America then being under construction couldn't be missed out.

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


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


Pad for landing tests on crater sites


One of the crater test pads close-up


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


Up Aerospace has also a place of business here

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.


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


Close-up of Mission Control


Hangar for carrier aircraft and spaceships...


Close-up of the hangar facility


...with bridge for future space travellers


View to runway and San Andres Mountains with wave clouds (Lenticularis) in the sky


Spaceport 2015

The Spaceport America website

Follow The Sun Tours, official tour provider



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


Proof of evidence that I was there;-)


Pads for normal launch and landing tests


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


The quarry where the construction material comes from


Panoramic view of the spaceport


The Mission Control building


The roof is covered with ceramic tiles


Front side panorama windows


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