gizmag

Virgin Galactic’s first generation of commercial space vehicles now have somewhere to land with the completion of the runway at Spaceport America in New Mexico. The 42-inch thick, almost two mile long “spaceway” was dedicated in a ceremony attended by New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson, Buzz Aldrin, Sir Richard Branson and around 30 soon-to-be space tourists who have signed up as Virgin Galactic’s first customers.




  1. smartalix says:

    They are at last planning for scalability.

  2. bobbo, waiting for Pedro's donkey to give him a ride says:

    Gear down on short turn to final? Way to high unless he plans/can land half way down the runway.

    I’d think all the richo’s would prefer Las Vegas.

    Why here? Good think his engineering is better than his marketing. Ha. ha.

  3. Pmitchell says:

    why did they build a 2 mile long 42 in thick runway for a sub 1000lb craft
    the space shuttle is retired so why blow millions of Tax dollars on this boondoggle

  4. Olo Baggins of Bywater says:

    #3…New Orleans figures they have enough levees, so they sent the extra concrete here.

  5. smartalix says:

    What part of “scalability” don’t you guys get?

  6. JoaoPT says:

    #3
    Thought this was PRIVATE space exploration…

  7. msbpodcast says:

    That to accommodate the line for the TSA “full body” scanner.

    I can imagine that they’ll have some kind of security with body cavity searches and anal probes when they realize that a space ship drops down from space at speeds starting at 17,000 MPH and accelerating.

    Makes a couple of jets slamming into the WTC, the Pentagon or anywhere else on the planet seem trivial.

  8. nobodyspecial says:

    @3
    “Thought this was PRIVATE space exploration…”

    Except you don’t build it in a god forsaken hole in the middle of nowhere unless the local tax payers are fronting a lot of the money. IIRC it’s about 2/3 state funded.

  9. pcsmith says:

    Two miles might be a bit short for an aircraft gliding from a couple hundred miles up.

    The almost 4ft thick concrete runway seems right for a “suns so hot, I froze to death” environment like NM. Expansion and contraction is a bitch. At 400 mph, only the salt flats seem smooth.

  10. Just guessing says:

    @5 – Scaled Composites?

  11. JoaoPT says:

    #8

    Oh the wonders of capitalism…

  12. Floyd says:

    #2: What’s wrong with Las Vegas? All the theoretically available launch and landing sites are taken either by the Nevada Test Site (bomb craters and Area 51), or by homes and casinos.

    #3: Think ahead. This runway can also be used for takeoff and landing of other, larger aircraft and spacecraft, whether government or private. Also, see #8.

  13. PMitchell says:

    For every 1000 miles north or south of the equator you launch a space ship you consume approx 3% more fuel to reach orbit so unless the fools want our govt( your tax money flushed down a hole) to fund this crap a real capitalist looking at profit motive will build his space port as close to the equator as possible like the french and sea launch did. This place is just a tax payer boondoggle and a waste of money

  14. The Monster's Lawyer says:

    They already lost my luggage.

  15. Stiffie says:

    Space…The Financial Frontier. (where the rich play)

    Oh well, it’s kind of a nice looking aircraft anyway. I always liked the Rutan style.

  16. sargasso_c says:

    It’s a base for the coming alien space armada.

  17. Cap'nKangaroo says:

    Why use 42 inches of concrete nearly 2 miles long?

    “The runway is designed to “support nearly every type of aircraft in the world today” and aerospace firms such as Lockheed Martin, Moog-FTS, Armadillo Aerospace, and UP Aerospace will also use the facility.”

  18. PMitchell says:

    #17 I can see the industrial complex built up all around the so called space port in the photo

  19. llsee says:

    Excuse me… This boondoggle is financed courtesy of the taxpayers in Dona Ana and Sierra Counties in southern New Mexico. They actually voted to tax themselves in the hope that a few rich folks would be willing to come to this isolated, low income area and shed a few dollars while taking their 20 minute ride to the edge of space. These rich folk can visit the wonders of Truth or Consequences, NM. By the way, this area of New Mexico was called the Jornada del Muerto by the Spanish who first colonized New Mexico in the 16th and 17th century. Translated that means ‘Journey of Death!’ Appropriate, don’t you think?

  20. llsee says:

    Oops… forgot to mention that the poor folk of southern NM better hope that the rich folk drop a few dollars, cuz they aren’t going to get their money back any other way. The State of New Mexico, in its great wisdom, decided to exempt the cost of the tickets for this journey from our statewide gross receipts tax (sales tax). Ahh yes, capitalism at its finest!

  21. TeaParty Retarty says:

    This is about the dumbest thing I’ve ever seen. Glad I don’t have to work with NMcans.

  22. Likes2LOL says:

    I’m holding off until the tickets to Mars go on sale.

  23. Nik (no C) says:

    2 Miles = 10,560 feet. This is a joke. New Mexico gets hot and is fairly high in elevation, thus requiring more runway for takeoffs and landings.

    Look at new runway construction (DEN, JFK, ORD) at the minimum, runway construction is at least 12,000 feet long.

  24. Please says:

    Ilsee, please provide links or proof of this, otherwise you are just full of sht.

    Likes2LOL , you don’t have to worry, you obviously will never have enough money to buy a ticket on this trip anyway. It’s for people who have been successful and made lots of money, not losers who haven’t done anything with their lives.

  25. bobbo, waiting for Pedro's donkey to give him a ride says:

    #24–please==why so hostile? Should be more neutral when such issues are so easy to google: http://bizjournals.com/denver/stories/2008/10/06/story13.html?b=1223265600^1710262

    I too am outraged by this assault on the competition required by free market nazi analysis. How often does anything good come from taxpayers trying to bribe local business activity?

    The edifice is full of holes.

    Yea, verily.

  26. llsee says:

    #24… I see Bobbo has already left a link, my response got held cuz I had three links in it. It is easy to verify, there are lots of links to the tax elections in Dona Ana and Sierra counties in 2008. As for the tax-ability of tickets, please check “3.2 NMAC Gross Receipts and Compensating Tax Act Regulations”, specifically section 7-9-54.2. The pdf of the regulations is posted on the New Mexico Taxation and Revenue site.

    By the way, I will never be able to afford a ticket either, but I reject your conclusion that anyone who can’t is a “losers who haven’t done anything with their lives.” I served in the military, worked for over 45 years and raised a successful family before retiring.


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