WK2 and SS2 Flyover Help Dedicate 'Spaceport America'
SpaceShipTwo and WhiteKnightTwo perform a fly-by at the dedication of “Spaceport America” in New Mexico.
October 24, 2010 — The New Mexico Spaceport Authority dedicated a two-mile runway near Truth or Consequences, New Mexico, Friday (October 22) as the “Governor Bill Richardson Spaceway.” The landing strip is part of Spaceport America, a facility that began providing commercial launch services to space-bound customers in 2006. Virgin Galactic is the spaceport’s most well-known tenant and helped celebrate the dedication with a fly over and landing of WhiteKnightTwo in a captive carry with SpaceShipTwo.
“We are celebrating the world’s first spaceway at the world’s first purpose-built, commercial spaceport,” said Gov. Richardson. “New Mexico is not only helping to launch the commercial spaceflight industry, but we are launching new jobs and opportunities for the people of southern New Mexico.”
The 42-inch thick spaceway is designed to support nearly every type of aircraft in the world today. It is made up of 24 inches of prepared sub-grade followed by four inches of asphalt, and finished with a 14-inch layer of concrete. The spaceway will accommodate returning launch vehicles, fly-back rocket boosters, and other space launch and training vehicles.
In attendance was Sir Richard Branson of Virgin Galactic along with 30 of the 380 astronauts who are signed up to ride on SpaceShipTwo and future vehicles. Spaceport America, which is slated to become operational in 2011, will also be used by Lockheed Martin, Moog-FTS, Armadillo Aerospace, and UP Aerospace.