Virgin Galactic Opens First Commercial Spaceport

Courtesy Virgin Galactic

Is space tourism closer than we think?

While it remains to be seen who will be the first to send tourists into space successfully, a few top contenders are making moves to prove they’re close. SpaceX’s Starship rocket successfully hovered 60 feet off the ground during a test flight and said they expect to accept customers by 2021. Now, Richard Branson is making a move with his spaceflight company Virgin Galactic by building the first commercial spaceport.

Dubbed “Getaway to Space,” the 670,000-square-foot terminal boasts two floors of space-themed facilities including an area for astronaut training and a luxury lounge before and after your trip to the cosmos. The company plans to start sending travelers to space as soon as 2020, so the facility is in preparation for their grand plans.

Courtesy Virgin Galactic

The spaceport is located in New Mexico and was designed by UK-based architectural firm Foster + Partners with the interiors done in collaboration with Viewport Studio. These interiors were recently unveiled revealing the first floor called “Gaia Lounge,” which means Mother Earth in Greek. It’s here where you’ll find an earthy color scheme that complements the surrounding desert landscape. But there are plenty of spacey design elements too. An interactive digital walkway features images of changing constellations and displays flight statuses.

Another area called Barista Island is the social hub for guests and staff and boasts an Italian marble bar. And on the second floor, you’ll find Cirrus, which is focused on the operations of getting travelers into space. Mission control, the mission briefing room, and the flight operations team all are run out of here.

Courtesy Virgin Galactic

The swanky modern space is fitting considering the clientele will be shelling out a reported $250,000 for a ride on Virgin Galactic.

And space travel isn’t the only over-the-top destination Branson wants to take travelers. “Once Virgin Galactic is completely hammered down,” he previously told Departures. “I want to get working on Virgin Aquatic and build submarines to explore [beneath the ocean surface].”