Virgin Galactic’s Gateway to Space Is the World’s First Commercial Space Port
Making airports look worse than ever before
The world’s first commercial space port is here. Virgin Galactic unveiled its aptly named Gateway to Space on Thursday, CNN reported, revealing a luxurious lounge with high quality amenities for wealthy space tourists.
The two-story facility in New Mexico will be the departure site for travelers who embark on Virgin Galactic’s spaceflights. The Richard Branson-owned space tourism startup plans to offer 90-minute space rides into the upper atmosphere. Ticket holders have paid at least $200,000 for a Virgin Galactic flight, which will take off from the luxury space port facility.
Designed by Foster + Partners, the high tech, energy efficient structure features a sleek lounge area on the first floor called the Gaia Lounge. According to Hypebeast, the first-floor lounge, outfitted with modern couches and marble coffee tables, is designed to promote interaction among fellow travelers. The second floor of the 670,000 sq-ft facility is named Cirrus, and will be where the primary operations take place. The lounge’s earth tones are reportedly meant to represent departure and return, while Cirrus’ the sterile, white and grey aesthetic is a nod to the sky and air travel.
The facility is expected to be fully operational in 2020, when Virgin Galactic will start flying its first customers. Branson first launched the venture back in 2004, and the company has spent 15 years building and testing its plane in California’s Mojave desert. The venture is one of various programs backed by billionaires hoping to bring space travel to the public in what has been called a kind of modern space race. Other leaders in the billionaire space race include Elon Musk’s SpaceX and Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin.
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