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Virgin Galactic reveals futuristic outpost for space tourism

Updated : 2019-08-16 11:00:35

Spaceport America is no longer just a shiny shell of hope that space tourism would one day launch from this remote spot in the New Mexico desert. The once-empty hangar that anchors the taxpayer-financed launch and landing facility has been transformed into a custom-tailored headquarters where Virgin Galactic will run its commercial flight operations. The interior spaces unveiled Thursday aim to connect paying customers with every aspect of the operation, providing views of the hangar and the space vehicles as well as the banks of monitors inside mission control. Two levels within the spaceport include mission control, a preparation area for pilots and a lounge for customers and their friends and families, with each element of the fit and finish paying homage to either the desert landscape that surrounds the futuristic outpost or the promise of traveling to the edge of space. From hotel rooms to aircraft cabins, the Virgin brand touts its designs for their focus on the customer experience. Spaceport is no different. A social hub includes an interactive digital walkway and a coffee bar made of Italian marble. On the upper deck, shades of white and gray speak to Virgin Galactic's more lofty mission. Company officials say space is meant to create "an unparalleled experience" as customers prepare for what Virgin Galactic describes as the journey of a lifetime.

Virgin Galactic employees gather in the ground floor lounge at Spaceport America near Upham, New Mexico, on Thursday, Aug. 15, 2019. Virgin Galactic unveiled some of the interior spaces of the custom-tailored terminal Thursday, saying the designs are aimed at connecting the customers with operations as they prepare for their suborbital flights. (AP Photos/Susan Montoya Bryan)
Virgin Galactic employees gather in the ground floor lounge at Spaceport America near Upham, New Mexico, on Thursday, Aug. 15, 2019. Virgin Galactic unveiled some of the interior spaces of the custom-tailored terminal Thursday, saying the designs are aimed at connecting the customers with operations as they prepare for their suborbital flights. (AP Photos/Susan Montoya Bryan)
Virgin Galactic employees gather at the coffee bar that serves as the heart of the company's social hub where they will meet with customers and their families at Spaceport America once commercial operations begin near Upham, New Mexico, on Thursday, Aug. 15, 2019. (AP Photos/Susan Montoya Bryan)
Virgin Galactic employees gather at the coffee bar that serves as the heart of the company's social hub where they will meet with customers and their families at Spaceport America once commercial operations begin near Upham, New Mexico, on Thursday, Aug. 15, 2019. (AP Photos/Susan Montoya Bryan)
Virgin Galactic ground crew guide the company's carrier plane into the hangar at Spaceport America following a test flight over the desert near Upham, New Mexico, on Thursday, Aug. 15, 2019. The carrier plane is now permanently based at the spaceport after arriving earlier this week. (AP Photo/Susan Montoya Bryan)
Virgin Galactic ground crew guide the company's carrier plane into the hangar at Spaceport America following a test flight over the desert near Upham, New Mexico, on Thursday, Aug. 15, 2019. The carrier plane is now permanently based at the spaceport after arriving earlier this week. (AP Photo/Susan Montoya Bryan)
Virgin Galactic's carrier plane makes its way across the apron in front of Spaceport America following a test flight over its new permanent home near Upham, New Mexico, on Thursday, Aug. 15, 2019. Virgin Galactic on Thursday unveiled two levels of its new digs at the spaceport, which includes a social hub where crew, pilots and customers and their families can mingle. (AP Photo/Susan Montoya Bryan)
Virgin Galactic's carrier plane makes its way across the apron in front of Spaceport America following a test flight over its new permanent home near Upham, New Mexico, on Thursday, Aug. 15, 2019. Virgin Galactic on Thursday unveiled two levels of its new digs at the spaceport, which includes a social hub where crew, pilots and customers and their families can mingle. (AP Photo/Susan Montoya Bryan)
Virgin Galactic pilots Mark
Virgin Galactic pilots Mark "Forger" Stucky and Kelly Latimer discuss their morning test flight at Spaceport America near Upham, New Mexico, on Thursday, Aug. 15, 2019. Spaceport America is no longer just a shiny shell of hope that space tourism would one day launch from this remote spot in the New Mexico desert. (AP Photo/Susan Montoya Bryan)
A digital walkway with mirrored ceiling serves as the entrance to the social hub of Virgin Galactic's digs at Spaceport America near Upham, New Mexico, on Thursday, Aug. 15, 2019. Virgin Galactic unveiled some of the interior spaces of the custom-tailored terminal Thursday, saying the designs are aimed at connecting the customers with operations as they prepare for their suborbital flights. (AP Photos/Susan Montoya Bryan)
A digital walkway with mirrored ceiling serves as the entrance to the social hub of Virgin Galactic's digs at Spaceport America near Upham, New Mexico, on Thursday, Aug. 15, 2019. Virgin Galactic unveiled some of the interior spaces of the custom-tailored terminal Thursday, saying the designs are aimed at connecting the customers with operations as they prepare for their suborbital flights. (AP Photos/Susan Montoya Bryan)
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