Virgin Galactic has left the Mojave Desert and made its way to its new home in New Mexico. Last year, the company announced it was packing up its staff, vehicles, and operations for its commercial spaceflight activities and heading to Spaceport America, the world’s first purpose-built space station. Now we have the first glimpse.
The company just revealed the operations center where mission control, a pilots’ working area, and the briefing center will call home. It also showed the ground-level lounge area for the well-heeled clientele who can pony up the reported $250,000 a ticket for a ride on Virgin Galactic’s VSS Unity. Friends and families who don’t have enough bitcoin to afford tickets or don’t want to risk of barfing in near-space can hang out there and wait, too. Meanwhile civilians can loiter alongside spaceship pilots, rocket engineers, and operatives from mission control.
This small glimpse of the interior is a big step toward completing Virgin Galactic’s move to New Mexico. Now that its carrier aircraft, VMS Eve, is parked at Spaceport America, it can complete its final tests from the state. Flight crew can use VMS Eve (or the “mothership,” as Virgin insists on calling it) to fly simulated spaceship launch missions.
When testing is complete, VMS Eve will head back to Mojave to pick up Spaceship Unity and bring it to its new home at the Spaceport to continue testing in the New Mexican desert. The corporation is getting closer all the time to completing its mission. It conducted VSS Unity’s first test flight with a passenger onboard back in February, two months after its first-ever flight to space.
Once its New Mexican testing is complete, Virgin Galactic just might start flying civilian astronauts into space.
Our carrier aircraft, VMS Eve, is relocating to New Mexico next week. She will still make periodic trips back to Mojave, but her main operating base will now be @Spaceport_NM New Mexico. pic.twitter.com/yXguWbysTS
— Virgin Galactic (@virgingalactic) August 9, 2019
New Mexico will be one of the very few places on the planet which will be hosting human spaceflight launches. We are initiating the move of our spaceship and operations team to New Mexico’s @Spaceport_NM. https://t.co/n35fpAsv2W pic.twitter.com/gDdjuk8UGl
— Virgin Galactic (@virgingalactic) May 10, 2019