Virgin Galactic Shows Interior of Its Insane American Spaceport

About a decade ago, Richard Branson shared with the world his dream of setting up a space tourism company. Some believed all that talk was just a marketing stunt and kept thinking it even when Branson's company, Virgin Galactic, began the test flights of its spaceships. But what do they think now?
Spaceport America interior 5 photos
Photo: Virgin Galactic
Spaceport America interiorSpaceport America interiorSpaceport America interiorSpaceport America interior
Last week, Virgin Galactic achieved two critical milestones. First, the company's carrier plane, the VMS Eve, finally arrived at its future base of operations, the Spaceport America facility in New Mexico.

Then, the first images showing the interior of the Spaceport were released, marking the moment when the facility became "operationally functional and able to support Virgin Galactic's flight requirements. "

The images released by Virgin at the end of last week show two of the facility's floors. The first, intended to be the point of departure and return for space tourists – Virgin calls them Future Astronauts - is called Gaia and is the place where people will wait to be shot off into space.

The second, called Cirrus, houses the mission control, the mission briefing room, the Pilot Corps, and the rest of the flight operations team.

Aside from the interior shots of the two floors, the company also detailed the hangar that now houses VMS Eve. The structure is large enough to hold not only Eve but a second similar aircraft, as well as five SpaceShipTwo vehicles.

Of the five spaceships, only one is currently here in physical form, the VSS Unity, and a second is in the works.

All of them will launch horizontally at 50,000 feet (15 km) from the underbelly of the two-bodied carrier aircraft, avoiding much of the denser regions of the atmosphere and the pull of Earth's gravity.

It's not entirely clear when the first commercial flights will begin, but that moment is probably very near. When ready for the start of operations, the ships will carry astronauts to space, provided they pay $200,000 for pre-flight medical checks, pre-flight training, and the actual trips of two hours to the edge of space.
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About the author: Daniel Patrascu
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Daniel loves writing (or so he claims), and he uses this skill to offer readers a "behind the scenes" look at the automotive industry. He also enjoys talking about space exploration and robots, because in his view the only way forward for humanity is away from this planet, in metal bodies.
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