Virgin Galactic to unveil world's first commercial spaceport

Richard Branson blogs: "A historic day today in New Mexico as we will be opening the first commercial spaceport in the world - Spaceport America."

More at the Virgin Galactic website.

We'll have photos from the unveiling event on Boing Boing soon.


  1. I wonder how safe this is?  Are they aiming for commercial airline-level of safety?  And what’s going to happen the first time one of these things crashes into the ground carrying 9 billionaires?

    1. Ahh… let them test on the billionaires! For some reason I have absolutely _no_ problem with that. I’m waiting for the day when it’s so cheap that I can pour my vacation money into a trip into space! (Well, a girl can dream, can’t she?)

  2. Occupy Space!

    I too hope that it will one day be inexpensive enough for many people to be able to have the opportunity.

    Anyone remember the $50,000 thin screen plasma TVs that only athletes and movie stars could afford. I can buy a better and much larger LG LCD tv for only a few hundred dollars less than 15 years later.

    Back to space;

    This really excites me. I think I read way to much O’Neil, Zubrin, and Heppenheimer. I love the Red Mars series. I really wish that Mars Direct or One Way to mars happens in the next 20 years.

  3. A spaceport looks disappointingly almost exactly like an airport.   It’d be cool if it was more like a massive railgun that catapulted you into space, this is just lame.

    1. At least the rail gun idea wouldn’t have to wait for a crash landing to turn everyone on board into paste!  Billionaire pâté, anyone?

    2. Ya, an instillation capable of human spaceflight is lame.  You’re right.  It would also be cool if they could just teleport a person to the moon.  Guess what?  The technology isn’t there.  Worry about the substance and quit worrying about the glitz and I think you’ll find it much more awe inspiring.

  4. This is one of those ideas whose time I’m not sure I feel has come around yet. On the one hand, it’d be incredibly exciting to get to go to space, and on the other, so prohibitively expensive that I wonder if and how this spaceport is going to make its money back. 

  5. I’m in space.  Spaaaaaace!

    I wonder what it’s like to fly in that thing.  Not the shuttle, the launch vehicle.  Seems like a weird design, dividing the cockpits like that.

  6. While I am glad that there is a civilian spaceflight industry, I can’t help but think I have seen this announcement many times before.  What’s new? “commercial”, “spaceport”, “New Mexico”?

  7. Next Headline: TSA Sets up Shop in World’s First Commercial Spaceport.  Ruins Experience for Everybody.

  8. We live in the future, folks! Commercial Spaceport. Say that again. Commercial Spaceport. Something I remember reading about in sci-fi growing up. And it exists now.

    Not personal gadgets, not ever-faster computers, this really brings home that, if we can keep ourselves alive long enough, that we can reach some kind of better future. Because making money off of commercial space work is going to change everything. Once we get a good infrastructure up, we could have people living in space for a long, long time…

  9. And of course the best part about this new space port? My tax dollars didn’t have to pay for it. Let Branson do what he wants and those with the money to enjoy it.

    As with all new technology, it’s those “evil” rich that first fund it by being it’s first customers. Then over time the price drops and its more affordable to the masses. For examples, look at luxury cars and how their high end features make it into every day cars over time.

  10. To be honest, I wouldn’t call it much of a spaceport, yet. So far we’ve got a conventionally-launched multistage (WK2 and SS2) suborbital rides to nowhere with a brief moment of zero-gee that can be replicated in the “vomit comet”. Maybe when you can board a fractional-ballistic flight to another spaceport, or hit orbit, can we call it a proper spaceport.

    What VG is doing at the moment is PR, mostly* (though still very very cool). I look forward to what Rutan develops for fractional-ballistic or orbital transport. But orbital is a much more complex matter than ballistic.

    *I realise that NASA, amongst others, is purchasing space for scientific testing on SS2 and WK2,  but I suspect it’s mostly on cost grounds; flights are being subsidised, I guess, by millionaires.

  11. A laudable endeavor for sure. But the flimsiness of the craft scares the hell out of me.  I like my space vehicles done in bold, chunky, clunky metal :)

  12. Get your facts straight, geekcalif,  before you post your lame, obnoxious and uniformed posts.  The Apollo crafts had walls as thin as foil.

  13. “Spaceport America”, it’s good to be alive. 

    I was born July 15, 1964. I’ve seen some pretty amazing things since then, and I’m only 47.

  14. So when is Occupy Spaceport America planned? It’s a rather audacious display of money, considering recent events. Too bad I will be dead before this is affordable enough to fly someone who is middle class.

  15. i have all the space travel i need right here, with a little Sun Ra and some Kosmische motorik long form jams, for the price of a bag of good weed. 

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