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Virgin Galactic to Build Space Port in New Mexico

ScuttleMonkey posted more than 8 years ago | from the area-fifty-two dept.

Space 275

aapold writes "Virgin Galactic today announced plans to build a $225 million space port in southern New Mexico. Richard Branson will meet with governor Bill Richardson Wednesday to unveil the plans. Virgin Galactic is the company leveraging Spaceship One which, as reported by Slashdot, claimed the Ansari X prize for commercial space flight."

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Exciting times (4, Interesting)

Orgazmus (761208) | more than 8 years ago | (#14255092)

This is really exciting times. A private spaceport is emerging, and the "real" exploration of space can begin.
I cant wait until my first moon-vacation ;D

Re:Exciting times (4, Insightful)

binaryDigit (557647) | more than 8 years ago | (#14255115)

and the "real" exploration of space can begin.

I think you meant to say "the real exploitation of space can begin". Think high velocity spacecraft junk is a problem now, wait till you have disposable camera wrappers and discarded "Welcome to Space!" flyers zooming around up there.

Re:Exciting times (0)

Orgazmus (761208) | more than 8 years ago | (#14255145)

Those two seem to go hand-in-hand with us humans.
But hopefully, all progress is good progress when it comes to space exploration/exploitation.

Re:Exciting times (1)

Erwos (553607) | more than 8 years ago | (#14255174)

Who cares? It's not like space trash is going to remain in stable orbit all by itself - eventually, it'll hit the atmosphere and burn up.

There's also nothing wrong with exploiting space. It's not like it's a person who you're taking advantage of. It is a resource, nothing more.

-Erwos

Re:Exciting times (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14255199)

eventually, it'll hit the atmosphere and burn up

That's assuming it doesn't hit something else first, like, say, one of these galactic tour buses, or a nice satellite.

There's also nothing wrong with exploiting space. It's not like it's a person who you're taking advantage of. It is a resource, nothing more.

Ahh, yes, just like all those resources here on good ole' Earth. Exploit'em as much as you want, it's only a "resource", you can't hurt it's feelings. But you can damage it to the detrement of everyone. Not to say that it will happen here, but you can't take a "it's open season and we can let folks to anything they want" approach with it biting you in the @ss later on (see space junk above for but one example).

Re:Exciting times (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14255254)

That's assuming it doesn't hit something else first, like, say, one of these galactic tour buses, or a nice satellite.

Space is quite big, you know. From a commercial point of view, you won't be taking anything extraneous up with you anyway as that'd be a riculous expense.

Re:Exciting times (1)

Pxtl (151020) | more than 8 years ago | (#14255650)

Yep. I wish people were better acquainted with how mindbogglingly huge space is. The amount of volume in near earth orbit means that worrying about this stuff is the height of ridiculousness. Even if you're dumping a lot in the exact_same orbit, you'd still be hard pressed to see anything.

Re:Exciting times (2, Funny)

D-Cypell (446534) | more than 8 years ago | (#14255261)

wait till you have disposable camera wrappers and discarded "Welcome to Space!" flyers zooming around up there.

Then the spacecraft operators will need to inform their customers to keep their hands and feet inside the spaceship at all times and keep all doors and windows securely fastened.

Modded Interesting? (1, Offtopic)

s0me1tm (859311) | more than 8 years ago | (#14255151)

Apparently some people do not recognize sarcasm...
Better leave the moderation of /. posts to chimps

Re:Modded Interesting? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14255202)

What sarcasm?

Re:Modded Interesting? (1)

wannabgeek (323414) | more than 8 years ago | (#14255316)

Better leave the moderation of /. posts to chimps

Oh, I'm sure they can do a better job [slashdot.org]

I hope I get modded +1, sarcastic!

Re:Exciting times (2, Funny)

TangoCharlie (113383) | more than 8 years ago | (#14255304)

This brings a Star Wars quote to mind... "Mos Eisley spaceport: You will never find a more wretched hive of scum and villainy. We must be cautious."

Sheesh! There are some people who have way too much money.
They'll be the first ones up against the wall when the revolution comes!
Yeah!, them and those wasters who post to slashdot!

Bugger.

Re:Exciting times (1)

Capt James McCarthy (860294) | more than 8 years ago | (#14255334)

I cant wait until my first moon-vacation

Go to a spring break and you'll get your "moon-vacation."

I'd like to see ..... (2, Interesting)

Ex-MislTech (557759) | more than 8 years ago | (#14255344)

A high altitidue balloon based launch platform .

Imagine a platform at 160,000 feet, that uses a mass driver to toss cargo into low orbit .

High altitude ballons could carry the cargo to the platform 30 miles above the earth .

NASA has already done a small scale version of this :

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2002/08/02082 7063353.htm [sciencedaily.com]

It would be a huge and complex task, but imagine a giant platform with many ballons in case one
fails, and a magnetic mass driver near the center to toss cargo into low orbit .

Power the mass driver would be difficult at that altitude with nearly zero oxygen .

Perhaps fuel cells, solar panels, or other non-combustion method .

I am curious how much a 30 mile headstart plus mag driver boost would help with fuel
cost to achieve Low Earth Orbit .

For the Anti Mass Driver crowd NASA has considered this before .

http://www.freeluna.com/spasnotes.htm [freeluna.com]

http://www.ssi.org/body_research.html#mass-drivers [ssi.org]

http://members.aol.com/oscarcombs/moondust.htm [aol.com]

Thanks !
Ex-MislTech

Re:Exciting times (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14255510)

It'll all be over just as soon as millitary powers pop enough satellites to create near unpenetrable debris.

Hurray of space wars, too bad they over before we enjoyed them!

Good for Business? (2, Interesting)

TwoTailedFox (894904) | more than 8 years ago | (#14255095)

I'm trying to think of the long-term implications of having a space-port. You have noise pollution, traffic problems, and money that the populace argues would be better spent elsewhere, say, Africa, or Brixton, UK.

The commercial opportunities must far outweigh those potential problems.

Re:Good for Business? (1)

Bibz (849958) | more than 8 years ago | (#14255119)

Actually i think he can make this profitable. It's $225 million, but a spae flight will be around 250 000$ or more if i remember right. There is already a long waiting list so i'm pretty sure he can make profit out of this.

And for that money to be spent elsewhere, it's his money, not the governments, it's better to do something with it than keeping it away from anyone.

Re:Good for Business? (2, Insightful)

ocelotbob (173602) | more than 8 years ago | (#14255146)

They do. Cheap travel into space means opportunities in metallurgy, mining, medicine, and tourism, just to name a few industries. New Mexico isn't England, it's large, sparse, with a lot of area that, simply put, isn't easily inhabitable, thus mitigating a lot of the pollution problems that come with any large industrial venture. Traffic is not a very major problem as well; the area already has a freeway bisecting it that could handle a few thousand more people in terms of traffic with no problem. New Mexico was chosen precisely because it's out of the way enough that you don't have to worry about the NIMBY affect, but close enough to civilization that people can still get to it. Face it, space is the future, plain and simple.

You are absolutely correct, (5, Funny)

m93 (684512) | more than 8 years ago | (#14255173)

I tried putting one in my town on SimCity, and it did nothing but cause problems.

Space == Money (4, Interesting)

ObsessiveMathsFreak (773371) | more than 8 years ago | (#14255226)

The commercial opportunities must far outweigh those potential problems.

No kidding. Branson's investement is pretty much a no brainer. Estimates of price per ticket are at around $200,000 dollars a seat, times seven passengers is $1.4 million dollars in cash per flight.

Branson's in the airline business already. I'm not sure about the specifics of it, but I seriously doubt that there are any regular commercial flights out there that pull in $1.4 million dollars per trip. Even those that come close would be 747 type aircraft that probably cost as much to run as SpaceShipTwo will anyway. Can we get some figures here?

Now I would have said that Branson's best bet was to set up shop in some middle of nowhere location, to dodge regulations. But the fact that he's setting up shop inside the US shows that he's serious about doing things professionally. Nonetheless I expect customers will be expected to sign off in the event of an accident.

As to potential customers. Does anyone seriously suggest that Branson won't be able to find people willing to spend $200,000 on a trip into orbit. There are thousands of people who spend ten times that on a boat. I think he'll manage to fill a plane once a week at least.

Step 1: Wait for private group to develop initial technology.
Step 2: Buy group and its technology.
Step 3: Scale up development
Step 4: Charge suckers $200,000 per flight AND satisfy them
Step 3: PROFIT!!

Re:Space == Money (1)

16K Ram Pack (690082) | more than 8 years ago | (#14255527)

Does anyone seriously suggest that Branson won't be able to find people willing to spend $200,000 on a trip into orbit?

38,000 people have already paid the 10% deposit. That's 3/4 billion of funding already in the bank. I'm not sure how long it's going to take just to get through that queue, but it sounds like a long time to me.

Re:Good for Business? (5, Informative)

AnswerIs42 (622520) | more than 8 years ago | (#14255312)

I lived in Las Cruces, NM for a few years. So let me put it this way...

noise pollution : No one is going to notice.. well, no HUMAN is going to notice. Between TorC (as everyone calls is) and Las Cruces.. there is a whole lot of NOTHING. Just miles and miles and miles of desert. Well, there are a couple of very small communities if you stay next to the interstate.

traffic problems : Non issue there is hardly any traffic now.. the road would be a little busier because peopel would have to live in TorC or Las Cruces that is a plus for both cities.

money that the populace argues would be better spent elsewhere : HAH! I take it you have never seen the area... Go 4 minutes outside the city limits of Las Cruces and you are IN the third world country within the USA. This will pump millions of MUCH NEEDED money into the area.

They have been waiting 10+ years for this. It is nice to see it finally happening. One section of Las Cruces even split off a few years back (~ '96-'97).. became incorperated and called temselves "spaceport City" because they were dead sure that a spaceport would be built by '99. By late '98 and early '99 they were out of money (they had to make a lot of improvements to fit the terms of becoming a city) and the residents dumped the idea and voted to become a 'burb of Las Cruces again and forget the whole incorperation thing.

Re:Good for Business? (1)

VENONA (902751) | more than 8 years ago | (#14255336)

Mod parent informative. He's dead on about the area. 25 miles south of TorC there's pretty much nothing. The White Sands test range is already there. Placing a spaceport in the same area seems completely sensible, if Virgin couldn't get a location closer to the equator.

Re:Good for Business? (3, Interesting)

z0idberg (888892) | more than 8 years ago | (#14255409)

Lots of job opportunities for the local population. Someone has to work there to keep the place running. Specialists would move to the area to work there as well meaning new housing developments etc so more growth in construction, retail stores in the area etc. Then if it really takes off your state/area could become the space capital of the world which would could easily be worth billions (trillions?). If you have the real estate to spare I would think it would be worth the investment.

Wouldn't it be better... (-1, Troll)

gantos (580678) | more than 8 years ago | (#14255098)

Is it only me, or does anyone else think a space port is better built...in space?

Re:Wouldn't it be better... (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14255109)

...and so an Airport should be build in the...air?

Re:Wouldn't it be better... (1)

Timberwolf0122 (872207) | more than 8 years ago | (#14255642)

Actualy the majority of an airports suface area is in driect contact with air, it is only the foot print that is attached to the ground.

Re:Wouldn't it be better... (-1, Redundant)

kuiken (115647) | more than 8 years ago | (#14255111)

Yah just like we build airports in the air

Re:Wouldn't it be better... (3, Informative)

tpgp (48001) | more than 8 years ago | (#14255124)

Is it only me, or does anyone else think a space port is better built...in space?

Yes,

It is only you.

At present the only viable way to get into space is using rockets. Therefor we're going to need somewhere for the rockets to take off and land.

Re:Wouldn't it be better... (1)

JackDW (904211) | more than 8 years ago | (#14255252)

Is it only me, or does anyone else think a space port is better built...in space?

You're assuming that there is anywhere to go that would necessitate such a port. The only places to go from Earth orbit are Earth and the Moon.. and even the Moon will take ages.

surem mexico may have a spaceport but... (0, Flamebait)

Ostien (893052) | more than 8 years ago | (#14255102)

...In soviet russia rocket fly you!

Careful there.... (4, Interesting)

c0dedude (587568) | more than 8 years ago | (#14255105)

Remember, the CEOs of tech companies failed to constrain costs in the late 1990s, and we know what happened to them. Be very careful in spending. Consider whether this port is absolutly necesssary.

Re:Careful there.... (4, Insightful)

tpgp (48001) | more than 8 years ago | (#14255142)

Remember, the CEOs of tech companies failed to constrain costs in the late 1990s, and we know what happened to them. Be very careful in spending. Consider whether this port is absolutly necesssary.

Two points:

1) They have a practical source of income - with the first two million allready accounted for

2) "Tech companies" did not fail to constrain costs in the late 1990s, internet startups failed to have viable business plans. There is a big difference.

Re:Careful there.... (2, Funny)

Shakrai (717556) | more than 8 years ago | (#14255332)

2) "Tech companies" did not fail to constrain costs in the late 1990s, internet startups failed to have viable business plans. There is a big difference.

What's not viable about selling dimes for nickels and making up the loss in volume?

Re:Careful there.... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14255356)

What's not viable about this:

  1. Start company.
  2. ???
  3. Profit!

(You had to see it coming...)

Re:Careful there.... (3, Informative)

Mike1024 (184871) | more than 8 years ago | (#14255355)

Remember, the CEOs of tech companies failed to constrain costs in the late 1990s, and we know what happened to them. Be very careful in spending. Consider whether this port is absolutly necesssary.

Of course, Branson [wikipedia.org] is a businessman with a successful track record [wikipedia.org] , and his personal fortune of approximately $5,300 million [wikipedia.org] would allow him to absorb the complete failure of this $225 million spaceport (although obviously no-one would want to lose that much money).

Michael

What the hell? (0, Offtopic)

RandoX (828285) | more than 8 years ago | (#14255108)

I come in to work, and not ONE * * Beatles Beatles story on the front page?

You're slipping, Scuttlemonkey.

Hmm (3, Funny)

TallMatthew (919136) | more than 8 years ago | (#14255114)

Virgin Galactic said it had chosen New Mexico as the site for its headquarters because of its steady climate, free airspace, low population density and high altitude. All those factors can significantly reduce the cost of the space flight program.

Low population density significantly reduces the cost of the space flight program? I guess they're assuming there will be some bourgeois shrapnel flying around.

I wonder what the road sign looks like that warns against burning appendages falling from the sky.

Re:Hmm (2, Insightful)

CrazyTalk (662055) | more than 8 years ago | (#14255338)

Low population density = cheap land. Not to mention plenty of room to grow and fewer legal hurdles, complaining residents, etc. Imagine trying to build a spaceport in Manhattan!

Re:Hmm (0, Offtopic)

quarkscat (697644) | more than 8 years ago | (#14255411)

No, the location in New Mexico is perfect for handling (what will be) this corporation's largest customer - the USA's Department of Homeland Security. When completed, I predict that this spaceport will be used to deport illegal aliens without the burdeon of rampant recidivism.

An added benefit is that when the regime currently in power renditions(TM) "enemies of the state", they will damn well not be talking to the press afterwards.

Re:Hmm (3, Informative)

Billosaur (927319) | more than 8 years ago | (#14255565)

Low population density significantly reduces the cost of the space flight program? I guess they're assuming there will be some bourgeois shrapnel flying around.

Actually, that's correct, from the standpoint of safety. They can't afford to immolate too many people if one of these things crashes or explodes for some reason. The area south of T-or-C and north of Las Cruces is sparsely populated, mostly open area, and is bordered to the east by White Sands, and even further east by Roswell. I'm sure Virgin Galactic is hoping to lure the ET contingent. Anyway, they're trying to keep the insurance rates down.

NASA originally considered the White Sands area for launching the Apollo Saturn V, but decided it was too dangerous, as one Saturn V carried the destructive power of an atomic bomb. They did do engine testing for the Lunar Module and Service Module there.

And if you drive north of T-or-C to the small town of San Antonio, you can stop at the Owl Bar and Cafe for the best green chile cheeseburgers in all the world. [end shameless plug]

Awesome (4, Funny)

iamdrscience (541136) | more than 8 years ago | (#14255117)

The spaceport, to be located some 25 miles south of the town of Truth or Consequences
That's got to be one of the best names for a town ever. Right up there with Yeehaw Junction, Florida and Ding Dong, Texas.

Re:Awesome (1)

dylan_- (1661) | more than 8 years ago | (#14255265)

I thought it sounded like a good name for a GSV [wikipedia.org] . They must name at least one ship after it...

Re:Awesome (0)

Shky (703024) | more than 8 years ago | (#14255270)

What about Dildo, Newfoundland? Oh, it's real.

Re:Awesome (1)

Ellis D. Tripp (755736) | more than 8 years ago | (#14255550)

Don't forget the towns of "Intercourse" and "Blue Ball", both in PA.

I guess if things don't work out in Intercourse, you have to move to Blue Ball?

Re:Awesome (2, Informative)

deltree1010 (909548) | more than 8 years ago | (#14255274)

Apparently they changed their name from Hot Springs in 1950 to that of a popular radio show. "Originally called Hot Springs, it took the name of a popular radio program in 1950, when Truth or Consequences host Ralph Edwards announced that he would do the program from the first town that renamed itself after the show. Ralph Edwards came to the town during the first weekend of May for the next fifty years." http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Truth_or_Consequences ,_New_Mexico [wikipedia.org]

Re:Awesome (1)

deltree1010 (909548) | more than 8 years ago | (#14255299)

The full story (I doubted the wiki) http://www.truthorconsequencesnm.net/ralph_edwards .htm [truthorcon...ncesnm.net] "So, in a special city election, 1,294 of the town's residents voted for the change to "Truth or Consequences." On the other hand, 295 area residents opposed the change and a protest was filed, so the city returned to the polls and again voted- by a margin greater than four to one- to go ahead with the name change. Almost 14 years later, in January 1964, the question went to the people again and they voted to keep the city's unique name. A fourth election was held on August 18, 1967, and once more a majority voted to keep the name Truth or Consequences."

and in a few months (2, Funny)

siddesu (698447) | more than 8 years ago | (#14255122)

there'll be a rush to buy property in all places that are suitable for launch sites.
that is on the equator, facing east, and with good infrastructure around ;)

now is the time to buy ;)

Re:and in a few months (1)

Yahweh Doesn't Exist (906833) | more than 8 years ago | (#14255141)

why not just buy the equator itself? it's really long but quite thin so you could probably get it cheap.

Re:and in a few months (1)

Use Psychology (873643) | more than 8 years ago | (#14255464)

the equator is infinitely thin -- total area ~ 0. * circumference of earth = nothing. ergo, equator is free.

Re:and in a few months (1)

c_forq (924234) | more than 8 years ago | (#14255577)

You should send me an e-mail, I havea bridge that I think you would be very interested in.

Re:and in a few months (3, Funny)

dylan_- (1661) | more than 8 years ago | (#14255387)

that is on the equator, facing east, and with good infrastructure around
Damn! All the areas I have on the equator, with good infrastructure, are facing west!

Chump Change... (3, Interesting)

joey_knisch (804995) | more than 8 years ago | (#14255127)

Compared to NASA.

They spent $800 million on a new launch center... IN 1962

Re:Chump Change... (1)

halleluja (715870) | more than 8 years ago | (#14255397)

Compared to NASA. They spent $800 million on a new launch center... IN 1962
This is easily explained by the fact that the 1960s intergalactic trade was at an all-time low after the Area 51 debacle.

Perfectly good space portal in Wyoming (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14255128)

Why not just use the one at devil's tower [und.edu] . Seems a shame to go to the trouble of building a new one when there's one already up and running.

Another one for the Brits! (1)

Conor Turton (639827) | more than 8 years ago | (#14255131)

Once more Britain is leading the way. Good for you Mr. Branson - a man not afraid to put his money where his mouth is.

Wonder if this'll get the U.S Govt to put NASA where it should be. I hope so. It's been a LONG time since there was any frontiers pushed - the US Space Programme seems happy just ticking along instead of pushing the boundaries as it did in the 60's and 70's.

Re:Another one for the Brits! (3, Insightful)

JackDW (904211) | more than 8 years ago | (#14255222)

Wonder if this'll get the U.S Govt to put NASA where it should be. I hope so. It's been a LONG time since there was any frontiers pushed - the US Space Programme seems happy just ticking along instead of pushing the boundaries as it did in the 60's and 70's.

But putting people in space is expensive, dangerous, and also futile, as it takes far too long to actually go anywhere at present. NASA has pushed back the boundaries constantly with the many probes it has sent out since the 60s, which are a much more cost-effective way to explore the Universe.

Re:Another one for the Brits! (-1, Troll)

DenDave (700621) | more than 8 years ago | (#14255251)

A couple of frontiers one might consider worthy of pushing:

1. Poverty
2. Energy, reliance on oil
3. Disease, anti-virals against HIV, H5N1
4. Economy, lower inflation, better trade balance
5. War on Terror (tm), ending it

and maybe then it would be appropriate to think about putting the wealthy in a casket and launch them into orbit.

Strategic location (3, Funny)

ch-chuck (9622) | more than 8 years ago | (#14255139)

Think of all the money they'll save hiring undocumented workers.

Nothing to see here (1)

el_womble (779715) | more than 8 years ago | (#14255150)

its just the set of Space Cadets 2 [channel4.com] .

Been there, done that (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14255162)

Meh... Why bother... I've already been to every point in space...

It was about 14.5 billion years ago as I recall...

Mexican Spaceport (2, Funny)

Random Q. Hacker (137687) | more than 8 years ago | (#14255183)

So... who's got a truck big enough for a whale?

Re:Mexican Spaceport (-1, Redundant)

taskforce (866056) | more than 8 years ago | (#14255235)

This may in fact surprise you, but this is one is in the new Mexico!

/Got the South Park reference

Parking? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14255188)

I suppose the parking garage will have yearly rates for that family Mars vacation?

Re:Parking? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14255501)

but think of the savings when time dilation kicks in!

A new twist to the BSOD (1)

rvw (755107) | more than 8 years ago | (#14255193)

> Virgin Galactic has a deal with Rutan to build five spacecraft, licensing
> technology from Allen's company, Mojave Aerospace Ventures.

This gives a complete new meaning to Blue Screen of Death...

Ooooooohhhhhh!!!! (1)

bezza (590194) | more than 8 years ago | (#14255221)

There's a NEW Mexico????

non-orbital (5, Informative)

close_wait (697035) | more than 8 years ago | (#14255225)

For the Nth time: in response to all the inevitable "far cheaper than NASA" posts; this is not an orbital launch - it just goes up to the edge of space, then straight down again. And getting into orbit isn't just going that "little bit extra"; a spacecraft in low earth orbit has about 15 times the potential + kinetic energy of a spacecraft that is at the same height but is just at the top of a vertical up/down loop.

Re:non-orbital (5, Insightful)

ajpr (921401) | more than 8 years ago | (#14255532)

I think what they mean is that it is cheaper than an equivalent NASA attempt. NASA doesn't do sub-orbital launches, and therefore any similar launch by NASA would cost a lot more in terms of $ and safety. To get to orbit you can't use the hybrid engines that SpaceShipOne has, there's just not enough kick per unit mass. And the Shuttle only manages to crawl into space because of its solid rocket boosters, that massive tank in between the SRBs (liquid H2/O2 mix) contributes a small % to the overall thrust.

The technology for sub-orbital flights obviously has been around for a long time. Yet the costs involved for even sub-orbital launches have always been high due them being entirely governmental companies. The X-Prize was setup to find out the cheapest way to get the ordinary person into space, whereas the state space programs have always been about pushing the boundaries of human exploration. The cheapest way is to only go as far as the edge of space to save massively on the thrust and energy requirements. The savings that this makes can then be offset by using a less effective fuel (hybrid), but that has the advantage of being a lot safer. The hybrid engines use fuels that generally are easy to store safely (non of this cryogenic nonsense like the shuttle) and also can be switched off in the event of a malfunction (SRBs once lit burn all the way to the tip).

People will still have to pay $20 million to the russians to go into space for a few days, so there is still going to be a large gap between those that go sub-orbital and the few that can afford to pay for orbital space access.

this just in (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14255227)

CMDRTACO IS AN AIDS-INFESTED FUCKHOLE

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Further ways to reduce costs (1, Funny)

jurt1235 (834677) | more than 8 years ago | (#14255228)

There are more ways to reduce the costs of this base:
1. Let discovery channel make a documentary "Megastructures: Building the spaceport" and get paid for it (ofcourse).
2. Rent the spaceport, still under construction out to the movie: Space comboys II: Now the spaceport is broken, and they have to fix that before a spaceship can land. Ofcourse one of the cowboys is on board to keep it unpredictably longer in robit by burning the furniture in the engines, and to make the impossible landing.
3. Lots of movies in the titles like "Space Virgins part X". Possible to rent the spaceport out in all stages of development, like "Space Virgins: Under constractors part Y" etc.

Why don't we just get virgin money? (1)

The Happy Robot (938656) | more than 8 years ago | (#14255229)

Yet another pie has been poked by Branson.

Re:Why don't we just get virgin money? (1)

stupid_is (716292) | more than 8 years ago | (#14255298)

Get it here [virginmoney.com]

As a Virgin North West Trains user (2, Funny)

Silver Sloth (770927) | more than 8 years ago | (#14255230)

We appologise for the delay in landing. This was caused by engineering works. Please be advised that this suttle will no longer be arriving in New Mexico but will be re-routed via Siberia. Suitable bus transport will be provided (eventually)

Re:As a Virgin North West Trains user (1)

md04 (241548) | more than 8 years ago | (#14255649)

For the rail works, you can't really blame Virgin. It's network rail or what ever they are called these days. Virgin owns the trains and has little / nothing to do with the tracks themselves.

We are getting closer (1)

sinij (911942) | more than 8 years ago | (#14255249)

Well we are getting closer to being welcomed as some insect's space faring overlords.

Re:We are getting closer (1)

speculatrix (678524) | more than 8 years ago | (#14255455)

we are getting closer to being welcomed as some insect's space faring overlords.


as a representative of the inhabitants of mars, I for one welcome my new human overlords.

Cool. I want to go to the moon. (1)

91degrees (207121) | more than 8 years ago | (#14255253)

Except we can't get to the moon.

Well, how about the ISS. Doesn't seem to bad, but seems a little cramped.

Ah. Going way too fast and too high for SS1.

Perhaps we can see some satellites? No? Too low?

So this is a flight, up... And down again.

Re:Cool. I want to go to the moon. (1)

m50d (797211) | more than 8 years ago | (#14255307)

Indeed, but come on, you're going into *space*.

New Orleans would be better... (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14255263)

Why not build it in New Orleans. They really do need the jobs there and it is further south. It is also closer to the NASA facility that makes the shuttle external tanks (which could be modified for commercial use). Launches could go over the Gulf of Mexico and then Florida. The land is quite stable and there is plenty of water to cool the launches.

Re:New Orleans would be better... (2, Informative)

CrazyTalk (662055) | more than 8 years ago | (#14255347)

Assuming this is not a troll - do you really want your spaceport built in an area below sea level that is prone to hurricanes? And if you read the article, you would see that having the high altitude in New Mexico was another key factor in keeping launch costs down.

Not sure aout the name (1)

Quiet_Desperation (858215) | more than 8 years ago | (#14255272)

Virgin Galactic has too much of a Cherry 2000 thing going on.

Re:Not sure aout the name (1)

VENONA (902751) | more than 8 years ago | (#14255416)

So what's wrong with a Cherry 2000? They probably run Linux, so it would be easy to remove the audio drivers. Bingo, the only problem they have is solved!

Re:Not sure aout the name (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14255528)

Cherry 2000... that was a good movie (when you're 14)...

Illegal Immigrants (1)

jlebrech (810586) | more than 8 years ago | (#14255295)

Has anyone thought of the possible problems of illegal immigration and so on.
If someone from a distant planet spots transmissions from our planet discussing a space they might think that it might be one that accepts incoming spacecraft and not just the earthly return flights.

Re:Illegal Immigrants (1)

aapold (753705) | more than 8 years ago | (#14255647)

I'm sure they thought of that, hence its location in southern new mexico.

It is not us, but the aliens, who will need to worry about illegal immigrants...

Name? (0)

NXprime (573188) | more than 8 years ago | (#14255311)

What the hell are they going to call it? Space Port Zero? :)

Ugh. PHB-speak ahoy! (4, Informative)

meringuoid (568297) | more than 8 years ago | (#14255327)

Virgin Galactic is the company leveraging Spaceship One which, as reported by Slashdot, claimed the Ansari X prize for commercial space flight.

Whatever happened to the verb 'to use'? As in 'Virgin Galactic is the company using Spaceship One'.

Anyone who uses the word 'leverage' in any context where the concept of newton metres is absent, or as a verb in any context at all, deserves to be slapped about the face with a kipper until they're sorry.

Re:Ugh. PHB-speak ahoy! (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14255608)

...and anyone with enough time and energy to sit around and point out this kind of crap ought to be thrown in a locker and beaten...wait, that's probably the cause of your anal, grammar nazi behavior. we really need to stop this kind of jock abuse as it creates the worst kind of nerds with TOOOOOO much time on their hands as they lack any confidence to go have a real life.

Philippe Starck to design (3, Interesting)

Cabby (39912) | more than 8 years ago | (#14255328)

I see from the The Register [theregister.co.uk] that Philippe Starck is going to design the new base. I wonder if they picked him solely due to his War of the Worlds lookalike lemon squeezer?

fraud and exaggeration (3, Insightful)

The Fun Guy (21791) | more than 8 years ago | (#14255372)

The spaceport, to be located some 25 miles south of the town of Truth or Consequences, will be constructed 90 percent underground, with just the runway and supporting structures above ground.

Some people might think that they are going to all of the trouble and expense of digging out tunnels and pits to construct living quarters, maintenance, etc. is for energy efficiency or something.

The real reason is more unsavory.

If you are announcing your intention to build a conventional (above ground) 60,000 square foot multi-building compound, it will be obvious to everyone if you only build the first 5000 square foot building, and leave the rest for when you actually turn a profit. If it's "90 percent underground", then you can just dig out for that first little structure, put a few 5' side tunnels on and install locked doors in front of the dirt. Who can tell the difference? If you slap labels like "Authorized Personnel Only" or "Hazardous Area - Do Not Enter", then you don't have to open the doors for the reporters who come to tour the "spaceport".

What this means is that they can put up a few sheds and bunkers above ground, build one showcase underground structure to show the reporters and passengers (who come in one or two at a time). Have a few bulldozers and dumptrucks drive around for awhile "building" the rest, then call it a spaceport. That might give them enough time to do a few flights to get the money coming in, then they can actually build the rest of it (probably above ground, with a cover story about how the original underground plans were too expensive). If the project tanks, they walk away without having sunk a lot of money in the thing.

If you can't see it, it isn't there.

Re:fraud and exaggeration (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14255452)

Just like air?

Re:fraud and exaggeration (1)

Ortega-Starfire (930563) | more than 8 years ago | (#14255479)

In other words, count all the dump trucks going away from the site with dirt. We will know thus how much work is actually done. There are hundreds of other ways too, up to and including whistle-blowers.

Mos Eisley, NM? (2, Funny)

dir-wizard (549259) | more than 8 years ago | (#14255391)

Guess it kinda makes sense that a recognizable name should be used for the spaceport...

Black Mesa (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14255521)

Hopefully they'll name the spaceport Black Mesa. :-D

Where do you get your news? (1)

GarrettZilla (103173) | more than 8 years ago | (#14255544)

Virgin Galactic is the company leveraging Spaceship One which, as reported by Slashdot, claimed the Ansari X prize for commercial space flight.

Right... if it hadn't been for Slashdot, I'd have never known about any of it!

My Launch Pad (0, Offtopic)

EBFoxbat (897297) | more than 8 years ago | (#14255547)

I build KNO3 rockets for a while with a buddy in high school. We molded them in 1.5" ID PVC pipe with one end cap. Post 9/11 we decided they looked too much like a pipe bomb we we stopped. If smart and safe, KNO3 rockets can make for a really fun and nerdy hobby. It just go too sticky for me with the local fire department (while not fobidding me) frowned upon it. Anyway, I made a small concrete slab for a launch pad. It cost me about $25 worth of quick-crete. It had a channel to vent exhaust away from our "control center" I thought it was snazzy. Massachusetts isn't as close to the equator as I hoped, so we never attained orbit (actually we sayed below 1000 feet for FAA reasons). But it gave me the idea to "launch" my own reality TV show con-ing people into thinking they were astronauts... oh wait that was a different /. article.

mod ?up (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14255564)

[slashdot.org], PiF desired, we = 1400 NetBSD

New Mexico Space Port (1)

Timberwolf0122 (872207) | more than 8 years ago | (#14255584)

You'll never find a bigger hive of scum and villainy, we must be cautious.

Leverage (1)

ameline (771895) | more than 8 years ago | (#14255611)

They are not leveraging spaceship one -- they are using it.

Don't use the word leverage unless you can give an estimate in newton meters. Doing otherwise makes you sound like a PHB.

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