Spaceport America Blasts into the Future!

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One of the reasons I love living where I do is because I have the best of both worlds. All photos below, save the final one, are copyright SJ Reidhead and may not be used or reproduced without my written permission.  All are from locations that are within 100 miles of the new Spaceport America.

Lincoln, New Mexico
Lincoln, New Mexico

I live in a region of the country where the Wild West is alive, well, and is rarely interrupted by real life.  Grown men with real jobs still go around dressed in cowboy boots, belts, hats, bandannas, and swagger like cowboys.  They still wear their guns. wagon13 They swagger like cowboys.  The Lincoln County War is still alive, well, and personal to some people.dog-canyon-bw

The region is rich in archaeological treasures.

It is an area of extreme natural beauty.

It is a land where the old lives right next door to the new.white-sands4

The best part of all of this, though – to me is the fact that I am living right next door to the space age!  Who knows what is going on at White Sands.  We know UFO’s frequently are seen near Roswell (just a joke). And then there is Spaceport America.

Let’s face facts.  The future of space systems is through the private sector.  I love the idea of NASA and the glamor of it all, but the regular day by day private sector comings and goings is our future.  This is just plain exciting.  dogcanyon4

whitesands2Okay, I feel sorry for people who don’t live in New Mexico. I have a friend who describes the Sacramento Mountains (where I live) as “magical”.  I don’t think I would go that far, but it is by far, the best place to live.  Sure, you gotta go 500 miles to get to a Louis Vuitton store – but there’s always online shopping and I excel at that.  Right now we are waiting for snow.  There is a good foot of snow on the mountains not far from me (10 miles?).  If I drive an hour or so to Alamogordo and another hour farther south to Las Cruces I can see my beloved palm trees!

The New Frontier!

The design for the new Spaceport America has finally been chosen! It is beautifully futuristic. flightatdawnspaHow cool is this!  Plus, they now have their FAA license!

“…The New Mexico Spaceport Authority (NMSA) received its launch license for vertical and horizontal launch from the Federal Aviation Administration’s Associate Administrator for Commercial Space Transportation (FAA/AST). This is a critical step to moving forward with Spaceport America, the nation’s first purpose-built commercial spaceport. The FAA/AST has issued Spaceport America a license for vertical and horizontal launches, after providing the Environmental Impact Study (EIS) Record of Decision (ROD) which was needed for construction to begin.|

“These two governmental approvals are the next steps along the road to a fully operational commercial spaceport,” said NMSA Executive Director Steven Landeene. The New Mexico State Legislature set certain requirements for spaceport funding, which included the formation of a local tax district, the issuance of an FAA EIS record of decision and launch site license, and a signed lease agreement with an anchor tenant. “We are on track to begin construction in the first quarter of 2009, and have our facility completed as quickly as possible,” he said. The NMSA is expected to have a signed lease agreement with Virgin Galactic later this month.

“It’s an important day for New Mexico and the nation as Spaceport America now adds to the United States’ launch infrastructure,” said Daniela Glick, Chair of the NMSA Board. Southern New Mexico’s Spaceport America is positioned to become the nation’s leading commercial spaceport facility. There have been several commercial launches for various clients from the site since April 2007, with more launches planned. Roadwork to the spaceport is underway, and the architectural firm of URS/Foster + Partners is completing their final design for the terminal and hangar facility.

Spaceport America has been working closely with leading aerospace firms such as Virgin Galactic, Lockheed Martin, Rocket Racing Inc./Armadillo Aerospace, UP Aerospace, Microgravity Enterprises and Payload Specialties. The NMSA currently projects vertical launch activity to increase in 2009 and construction to also begin in 2009 with the terminal and hangar facility for horizontal launches completed by late 2010….”

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