Feeds

Virgin Galactic leases itself a spaceport

Now looking to book Figrin D'an and the Modal Nodes

Business security measures using SSL

Virgin Galactic has signed with the state of New Mexico to build the nation's first rocketplane spaceport for flinging wealthy customers out of Earth's atmosphere.

The suborbital-tourism firm owned by British billionaire Richard Branson inked the 20-year lease agreement this week to establish its HQ at the planned state-funded facility, dubbed Spaceport America.

Construction of the $198m spaceport is expected to begin as early as April, thanks to the Federal Aviation Administration granting a launch license to the New Mexico Spaceport Authority just days before the pact with Virgin Galactic. Committing Virgin to the spot was one condition that state officials had to meet before they could tap into approximately $140m of legislative funding for the project.

Virgin Galactic Spaceport

Remember, the enemy's base is down.

"The signing of this agreement is a momentous day for our state and has cemented New Mexico as the home of commercial space travel," Governor Bill Richardson said in a statement. "I want to thank Virgin Galactic for partnering with us to create a whole new industry that is going to transform the economy of Southern New Mexico - creating thousands of jobs, generating money for education, boosting tourism and attracting other companies and economic opportunities to the area."

From Spaceport America, wealthy passengers paying $200k each will be flung into suborbital space, where they will briefly experience weightlessness (due to free-fall, rather than from their pockets being $200k lighter).

The agreement coincides with the beginning of test flights for Virgin Galactic's WhiteKnight Two carrier craft in Mojave, California. The aircraft was developed from the original WhiteKnight, which piggybacked the Ansari X Prize-winning SpaceShipOne into space in 2004. Virgin plans to begin trials of the passenger-carrying SpaceShip Two rocketplanes this year, as well.

Spaceport America punters say there have already been several commercial launches at the site since April 2007 from aerospace firms such as Lockheed Martin, Armadillo Aerospace, UP Aerospace, Microgravity Enterprises, and Payload Specialties.

Completion of the terminal and hangar facility is scheduled for completion in 2010. Road construction to the site is already underway. ®

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk

More from The Register

next story
SCREW YOU, Russia! NASA lobs $6.8bn at Boeing AND SpaceX to run space station taxis
Musk charging nearly half as much as Boeing for crew trips
PORTAL TO ELSEWHERE scried in small galaxy far, far away
Supermassive black hole dominates titchy star formation
Boffins say they've got Lithium batteries the wrong way around
Surprises at the nano-scale mean our ideas about how they charge could be all wrong
Edge Research Lab to tackle chilly LOHAN's final test flight
Our US allies to probe potential Vulture 2 servo freeze
Europe prepares to INVADE comet: Rosetta landing site chosen
No word yet on whether backup site is labelled 'K'
Cracked it - Vulture 2 power podule fires servos for 4 HOURS
Pixhawk avionics juice issue sorted, onwards to Spaceport America
City hidden beneath England's Stonehenge had HUMAN ABATTOIR. And a pub
Boozed-up ancients drank beer before tearing corpses apart
prev story

Whitepapers

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
Saudi Petroleum chooses Tegile storage solution
A storage solution that addresses company growth and performance for business-critical applications of caseware archive and search along with other key operational systems.
Protecting users from Firesheep and other Sidejacking attacks with SSL
Discussing the vulnerabilities inherent in Wi-Fi networks, and how using TLS/SSL for your entire site will assure security.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.