Quick look: America’s first spaceport

Virgin Galactic, SpaceX and others expect the site to be the hub of commercial space operations.

Credit: REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson

The world's first purpose-built commercial space base will be the site of the first space flights with Sir Richard Branson's Virgin Galactic. Those flights could begin by the end of the year but no official date has been established. The spaceport is near the town of Truth or Consequences in New Mexico  -- west of the White Sands Missile Range and will ultimately be its own little city with emergency services, restaurants and other amenities. Reuters noted that inaugural flight into suborbital space, for those who have who have made reservations, cost $250,000. Take a look around:

Truth or Consequences, New Mexico
Credit: REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson

A display in honor of radio quiz show host Ralph Edwards, whose show the town was named after, is seen in Geronimo Springs Museum in Truth or Consequences, New Mexico.

Truth or Consequences, New Mexico
Credit: REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson

Arriving into the town of Truth or Consequences, New Mexico April 30, 2014.

Truth or Consequences
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An overall view of the town of Truth or Consequences.

Rocket Inn
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The Rocket Inn is one of the towns motels awaiting tourists.

Space Place New Mexico store
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Freeze-dried space food is sold at the Space Place New Mexico store in Elephant Butte, N.M.

Artist Roy Lohr
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Artist Roy Lohr, 69, stands by a sign at his home in Truth or Consequences.

Spaceport America
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A view of the perimeter fence of the $212 million Spaceport America which is actually about 30 miles outside Truth or Consequences, New Mexico.

Credit: REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson

Spaceport America's Virgin Galactic Gateway to Space Building. Spaceport America spokesman David Wilson envisions a launching off point for global travel, to build tourist resorts in space, colonize Mars and mine resources on other planets. He expects around 200,000 visitors to the spaceport each year, which was bankrolled by the state, according to Reuters.

Spaceport America
Credit: REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson

Spaceport America's Virgin Galactic Gateway to Space Building. According to Reuters, Spaceport brings a futuristic vision to the old West, but it is meant to blend in. The signature building, designed by the firm of British architect Sir Norman Foster, melds into the distant mountains like a giant portobello mushroom.

Spaceport Operations Center
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A firetruck is parked outside Spaceport Operations Center at Spaceport America.

Spaceport
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A mission control screen is seen at Spaceport.

runway
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The main runway mission control.

Space X shipping container
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A Space X shipping container is seen at Spaceport America.

Credit: REUTERS/Luke MacGregor

Entrepreneur Richard Branson waves a model of a LauncherOne cargo spacecraft from a window of an actual size model of SpaceShipTwo on display, after Virgin Galactic's LauncherOne announcement in 2012.

SpaceShipTwo
Credit: REUTERS/Gene Blevins

Virgin Galactic's SpaceShipTwo flies over the Mojave Desert in California April 29, 2013 shortly before successfully completing a test flight that broke the sound barrier. Owner Virgin Galactic plans to start flying people aboard SpaceShipTwo as soon as test flights are complete, supposedly by the end of 2014.

SpaceShipTwo
Credit: REUTERS/Gene Blevins

Virgin Galactic's SpaceShipTwo, still mated to its carrier aircraft WhiteKnightTwo, flies over the Mojave Desert in California April 29, 2013.

Virgin Galactic flight plan
Credit: REUTERS

Graphic detailing the Virgin Galactic flight plan.

SpaceX
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In May 2013, SpaceX said it would also use Spaceport America in order to support high-altitude, high-velocity flight testing of the Grasshopper v1.1 reusable launch vehicle. 

Armadillo Aerospace

Armadillo Aerospace has also used the facility.