The days of fully-accessible commercial space travel are right around the corner. Your future son or daughter could potentially travel to space the same way you might buy a ticket for a long summer holiday. Companies around the world have entered the ring, building and designing the infrastructure needed to lay the framework for commercial space travel.
One of the leaders of the pack, Sir Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic has just opened its doors to its “Gateway to Space.” What is that you ask? It is a commercial spaceport packed with the latest technology set to the backdrop of an interior that is reminiscent of the golden age of aviation.
Gateway to Space
The commercial spaceport is massive. The 670,000 sq. ft facility sits on 18,000 acres situated comfortably on State Trust Land in New Mexico. This site will become the departure site for all future astronauts that sign up for Virgin Galactic’s spaceflight services. The design language of the facility merges the idea of Earth, our home, and the historic moments to come in space.
In fact, Virgin Galactic has taken huge pride in this design language. The company mentions this in the press release by stating: “One of the hallmarks of the Virgin brand for over nearly half a century has been the use of inspired and bold design to transform customer experiences.”
“It is an ethos that has been successfully applied across industrial sectors and design disciplines. From aircraft cabins to hotel bedrooms and from fitness classes to bank accounts.”
Taking a peek inside
The Virgin Galactic spaceport was designed by Foster + Partners. The facility is separated into two floors, the Gaia Lounge, the first floor, while the second floor is named Cirrus. Gaia focuses on our planet, embodying this idea of departure and return as well as the purpose of each astronauts journey.
The layout, floor design, and furniture encourage Virgin Galactic customers, along with their friends and families, to interact with each other. The overall aim is to promote togetherness. There is something so familiar yet excitedly new about the facility as this is a place where you can eat breakfast and grab a coffee, yet you are about to be launched into space.
Cirrus, the second floor represents light, air, and flight. This floor has been dubbed the “beating heart of spaceflight operations” as it will house Mission Control, the Mission Briefing Room, the Pilot Corps and the rest of the Flight Operations team
And as for the spaceships? Virgin Galactic’s space fleet will be housed in the Gateway Space hangar, which is already home to the VMS. It is large enough to facilitate two carrier aircraft. Traveling to space has never looked so comfortable.
Ready for liftoff?