There were a few must-see stops on our list when we began this trip, and Spaceport America (the home of Virgin Galactic) was a definite must for Cory. I was pretty excited myself, having lightly followed the developing private space exploration.

At the moment, Spaceport America is available for visit only through tours leaving from Truth or Consequences, NM. Yes, that’s the real name of the town!

Some of my readers of a certain age may remember a radio game show of that title. Well, in 1950, the show offered to air the program from the first town to change its name to Truth or Consequences. The town formerly known as Hot Springs, NM now has one of the coolest (and longest!) city names in the United States!

We were picked up in town, and after about a thirty minute drive from town, we arrived at Spaceport America. The facility is unassuming, at first, and virtually undetectable from the entrance: a guard station and a road leading to what looks like an oversized, earthen butterfly rising out of the ground.

That butterfly is, in fact, the entrance to the Spaceport. While the name Virgin Galatic (of Sir Richard Branson/Virgin/etc fame) goes hand in hand with Spaceport America, the facility is actually state-owned. Virgin Galatic is the anchor tenant for the spaceport, and (from what we were told) had significant influence in the design of the building.

My favorite part of the entire tour came when we stood on the empty runway. It felt as though we were standing on the runway of JFK or LAX during their initial construction – or even the runway of the very first airport! It’s pretty amazing to think that perhaps one day soon, private space exploration will be commonplace.

The entire facility is impressively gorgeous, designed simply yet effectively for the landscape. I’m excited to see where space exploration goes from here! Since the $200,000 ticket price is a tad out of my range, I’ll just have to settle for being a voyeur at the moment.



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