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Philippe Starck to design Virgin Galactic spaceport

Coming soon to New Mexico

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Our artist's impression of how we believe the Virgin spaceport might lookFrench designer Phillipe Starck has drawn up plans for the world's first spaceport - the $225m Virgin Galactic facility coming soon to a patch of New Mexico wasteland.

According to the Guardian, Virgin's Richard Branson has inked a deal with the New Mexico authorities to construct the spaceport from which Burt Rutan's SpaceShipOne will blast punters to 70 miles above the Earth for six minutes of weighlessness during a three-and-a-half hour flight.

When they return to base they will also find their wallets considerably lighter to the tune of $200,000 - the cost of the first 100 tickets for Virgin's so-called "founders". Impressively, 75 wannabe astronauts have already stumped up the wedge, with 38,000 less flush people from 126 countries signing up to express an interest.

Virgin Galactic's prez, Stephen Attenborough, told the Guardian: "A lot want to fly with us some day, many will have to wait for the price to come down and many will want to see the technology proved safe first. It's important the first to fly go back to as many countries as possible to tell people about it."

Construction on the spaceport is expected to begin in 2007. Although most of the facility will be subterranean, in order to minimise environmental impact, our Vulture Central art department has mocked up its impression of how we believe it may look. ®

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