Spaceport America by Foster + Partners

Spaceport America by Foster + Partners

Foster + Partners have completed the world’s first space terminal for tourists in New Mexico.

Spaceport America by Foster + Partners

Flying displays by Virgin Galactic space vehicles WhiteKnightTwo and SpaceShipTwo marked the opening of Spaceport America.

Spaceport America by Foster + Partners

The low-rise building is dug into the landscape beside the El Camino Real road and is entered through a cleft between the two wings.

Spaceport America by Foster + Partners

Full-height glazing wraps around the end of the building, facing onto the runway beyond.

Spaceport America by Foster + Partners

The spaceport hangar is located in the centre of the building, with administrative areas to the west and flight training and preparation areas to the east.

Spaceport America by Foster + Partners

The project was designed in collaboration with New Mexico architects SMPC and project manager URS Corporation.

Spaceport America by Foster + Partners

Operators Virgin Galactic are currently running a test flight programme.

Spaceport America by Foster + Partners

Dezeen originally published visuals of the spaceport back in 2007 - see our earlier story here and see more stories about Virgin Galactic here. For more about Foster + Partners, including their circular campus proposals for Apple, click here.

Spaceport America by Foster + Partners

Photography is by Nigel Young, apart from where otherwise stated.

Here's some more information from Foster + Partners:


Dedication ceremony for the Virgin Galactic Gateway to Space

A dedication ceremony was held at Spaceport America in New Mexico – the world’s first commercial space terminal. More than 800 guests attended the event, which included flying displays of Virgin Galactic’s WhiteKnightTwo and SpaceShipTwo vehicles.

Spaceport America by Foster + Partners

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The Virgin Galactic Gateway to Space, a combined terminal and hangar facility, will support up to two WhiteKnightTwo and five SpaceShipTwo vehicles. The 120,000 square-foot building has been designed by Foster + Partners, working with URS Corporation and New Mexico architects SMPC.

Spaceport America by Foster + Partners

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The Gateway will also house all astronaut preparation and celebration facilities, a mission control centre and a friends and family area.

Spaceport America by Foster + Partners

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Entrance is via a deep channel cut into the landscape and its retaining walls form an exhibition space that documents a history of space exploration alongside the story of the region. With minimal embodied carbon and few additional energy requirements, the scheme has been designed to achieve LEED Gold accreditation.

 

Spaceport America by Foster + Partners

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The low-lying form is dug into the landscape to exploit the thermal mass, which buffers the building from the extremes of the New Mexico climate as well as catching the westerly winds for ventilation; and maximum use is made of daylight via skylights.

Spaceport America by Foster + Partners

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Built using local materials and construction techniques, it aims to be both sustainable and sensitive to its surroundings.

Spaceport America by Foster + Partners

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Sir Richard Branson said:
"Today is another history-making day for Virgin Galactic. We are here with a group of incredible people who are helping us lead the way in creating one of the most important new industrial sectors of the 21st century. We’ve never wavered in our commitment to the monumental task of pioneering safe, affordable and clean access to space, or to demonstrate that we mean business at each step along the way.”