Space.com (January 28, 2010)
(from Spaceport America Conceptual Images URS/Foster + Partners, via Space.com, used w/o permission)
"New Mexico's Spaceport America is no longer the stuff of fancy graphics.
"The scene is now one of bulldozers and other heavy equipment. Loads of asphalt and concrete are being spread. The initial phase of building the rambling complex within remote desert scenery is quickening.
"One could easily call it 'hard hat heaven' for those that have pushed for Spaceport America's development over many years.
"Spaceport America, billed as the world's first purpose-built commercial spaceport, is taking shape some 30 miles (48 km) east of Truth or Consequences and 45 miles (72 km) north of Las Cruces, New Mexico.
"A critical centerpiece of Spaceport America is putting in place a runway to space. Measuring 10,000 feet long by 200 feet wide that stretch of tarmac is designed to handle horizontal launch space and air operations at the spaceport...."
Coming Soon: A Spaceport Near YouWhat I say next may be deeply offensive and hurtful:
On the whole, I'm rather glad that I'm an American, and am very pleased that this country is building spaceports.
If I have cause emotional pain and anguish by writing that, I'm sorry.
I've learned that, in some American subcultures, Americans aren't supposed to be proud to be Americans. It makes people who aren't American feel bad, I gather.
I think that people aren't anywhere near that thin-skinned. (Oops! Is writing that a no-no, too?) But, I've been wrong before.
If you don't live in or near America, my guess is that a spaceport will be under construction in your general before much more time passes. China, Japan, and India have fairly robust space program. (October 22, 2008, and check out "Related posts" below)
And other countries have been active in the area, too. My guess is that it'll take a generation or more for everybody to get up to speed - Somalia, for example, isn't in the best shape, economically or otherwise, right now.
But as the technologies mature, costs go down, and reasons to invest in space transportation services grow: I see spaceports being as common, soon, as airports are now.
Disco's Dead: Spaceflight Isn'tI ran into this, at the end of a column in the newest Sky and & Telescope magazine. The writer was reviewing his early dreams of space travel and what enterprises like Virgin Galactic are doing today.
"...If the initial flights are successful, the price will come down, more craft will follow, and space exploration will become increasingly democratized. After these suborbital forays will come orbital craft, space hotels, and private expeditions to the Moon and beyond.Maybe I was too quick to shelve my personal vision of space travel...The dormant dreams of my youth are stirring once again."
(Cosmic Relief, David Grinspoon, Sky and Telescope, Vol. 119 No. 3, p. 18)
- "Bigelow Aerospace: Space to Rent or Lease, in Orbit"
(January 20, 2010)
- "America's Seventh Spaceport"
(January 19, 2010)
- "Crew-Optional Dragon Cargo Ship Ready for Testing Soon"
(December 16, 2009)
- "When it's Time to Build Spaceships, People Will Build Spaceships"
(October 4, 2009)
- "Groundbreaking at Spaceport America: World's First Purpose-Built Commercial Spaceport"
(June 20, 2009)