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Virgin Galactic opens Gateway to Space in New Mexico

Virgin Galactic has revealed the first look at the interior of its Gateway to Space building at Spaceport America in New Mexico.

The work showcases the two floors of the building primarily focused on spaceflight operations.

It also incorporates communal spaces designed for use in the future by Virgin Galactic customers, along with their friends and families.

Completion of the work means the spaceport facility is now functional and able to support Virgin Galactic’s flight requirements.

Virgin Galactic has striven to remain faithful to its traditions by choosing an elegant, experience-focused concept for the space launch system itself.

Similarly, the company’s choice to operate from Spaceport America in New Mexico was due in no small part to the state’s decision to commission landmark architecture for the world’s first purpose-built commercial spaceport.

The Foster + Partners Gateway to Space facility pays homage to the past in its respect for the ancient surrounding landscape while powerfully embracing the future through energy efficiency and sustainability.

The first floor is focused on our home planet, and is named Gaia, representing the point of departure and return, as well as the purpose of each astronaut’s journey.

The colour palettes and the use of natural materials aims to bring the stunning landscape which surrounds Spaceport inside.

The focal point of Gaia is the Barista Island, a central bar made of back-lit Italian marble hovering above hand-crafted oak providing a social hub for the hospitality team to engage with guests and staff.

The second floor is named Cirrus, representing light, air and flight.

It is the beating heart of spaceflight operations, and is connected to the community hub of Gaia below through a double height atrium.

The colour palette graduates from the earthy tones below in Gaia to lighter white and grey shades, reflecting the skies beyond and providing a clean environment supporting operational focus.

This area is home to mission control, the mission briefing room, the pilot corps and the rest of the flight operations team.

Mission Control enjoys a dedicated space which allows focus on flight operations.

Outside this space, the flight operations team and the pilots are positioned to give an unrestricted view of ground operation areas including the apron and runway.

Virgin Galactic’s space fleet will be housed in the Gateway to Space hangar which is already home to VMS Eve.

This huge expanse in the middle of the building is large enough to accommodate two carrier aircraft, each with a wingspan of 140 foot along with five SpaceShipTwo vehicles.