14/12/2005. Contributed by Jessica Martin
At press conferences in London and New Mexico, officials from Virgin Galactic and from the State of New Mexico announced that they had reached an agreement which will see the building of a $200m spaceport in the southern part of the state on a 27 square mile area of state land.
Virgin Galactic has agreed to locate its world's headquarters and Mission Control in New Mexico and strongly believes that the new spaceport will offer fledgling astronauts an experience that will be truly out of this world.
"When Burt Rutan and SpaceShipOne won the X PRIZE in October 2004, we knew the new space industry had arrived," Secretary Rick Homans told SFcrowsnest. "And when Sir Richard Branson announced that Virgin would use that same technology to fly paying passengers into space, we realized that our most important job was to convince Virgin Galactic to come to New Mexico and launch the personal spaceflight industry. This announcement is a convergence of dreams and we are proud that Virgin will be New Mexico's anchor tenant at the world's most exciting space tourism location. "
"New Mexico has worked hard to bring us to their exciting new spaceport facility," added Will Whitehorn, President of Virgin Galactic. "The State has several factors that make it an ideal operations base: climate, free airspace, low population density, high altitude, and stunning scenery. Our team was highly impressed by the professionalism and the competitive pitch the state and its advisors developed. We look forward to working together to make the "Final Frontier" a reality for tens of thousands of pioneering space tourists. Our activities will prove the commercial viability and excellent safety technology behind private personal spaceflight and give birth to a new industry in New Mexico."
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