As the dust settles after yesterday’s dedication ceremonies for Spaceport America, Virgin Galactic’s operational headquarters in New Mexico, here are some images to provide a flavor of the event.
WhiteKnightTwo and SpaceShipTwo reflected in the east facing glass wall of the Spaceport terminal – a 120,000 square foot hangar and terminal complex designed by Sir Norman Foster, along with URS Corp. and New Mexico architects SMPC. (All photos Guy Norris)
The October Moon glimpsed over the burnished steel brise soleil of the Spaceport.
WK2/SS2 takes off for a short demonstration flight from the site’s recently completed 10,000 ft runway.
WK2/SS2 passes between the Moon and the Spaceport, which will also house the offices of the New Mexico Spaceport Authority, as well as hangar space for multiple mother ship and sub-orbital vehicles.
WK2 with SS2 mounted between the fuselages passes over the Spaceport.
Veteran Apollo astronaut Buzz Aldrin hands Sir Richard Branson a plaque with the Spaceport’s new ceremonial address – No.1 Half Moon Street, Las Cruces. The name commemorates links to Virgin’s offices in London’s Mayfair district.
Aerial gymnasts perform at the dedication ceremony.
Never one to pass up a classic photo-op, Branson showers the crowd with champagne from his lofty perch.
Guests included 150 or so of the more than 450 paid up initial passengers, as well as a few noted celebrities like British actress Kate Winslet. In late August Branson credited Winslet for saving the life of his 90-year old mother from a house fire on his private Caribbean island, a deed for which (rumor has it) Kate gets a ride on SS2. Visiting with Winslet was Princess Beatrice of York, the daughter of Prince Andrew and Sarah, Duchess of York.
Two views of the Spaceport from the west. Note how the structure blends ‘Dune’-like into the desert scrub.