Virgin Galactic has revealed its beautiful new spaceport in New Mexico, which will serve as a pre-flight lounge for intergalactic flights.
Over 600 people have already paid nearly $80 million in deposits to secure their tickets on the first spaceflights. A reservation on 90-minute flight currently costs $250,000, though Founder Richard Branson is “hopeful” the price will drop to $40,000/ticket over the next decade. Virgin Galactic begin in 2004 and is already 10 years behind schedule.
Nevertheless, the beautiful new spaceport lounge was unveiled to the public yesterday for the first time. I feel I’d be doing a disservice if I did not share exactly how Virgin Galactic describes its new lounge.
The first floor is focused on our home planet, and is named Gaia, representing the point of departure and return, as well as the purpose of each astronaut’s journey. The color palettes and the use of natural materials aims to bring the stunning landscape which surrounds Spaceport inside. The floor design, furniture and fittings promote social interaction and human discourse – a sense of togetherness and unity. An elevated, interactive digital walkway will heighten the departure experience for the Future Astronauts and their friends and family as they set out from Spaceport to VSS Unity on the day of flight. The Earth-focused design will provide a fitting welcome to those newly-graduated astronauts returning from space with a new appreciation and understanding of our home planet.
Gaia is subtly and unobtrusively zoned into practical, formal and informal spaces which will host the space operations team, Future Astronauts and their family and friends. It serves as the social hub of the building, where everyone is part of the Virgin Galactic family; Future Astronauts will share breakfast with spaceship pilots, grab coffee with rocket engineers and pass the time of day with the team from Mission Control.
The focal point of Gaia is the Barista Island, a central bar made of back-lit Italian marble hovering above hand-crafted oak providing a social hub for our hospitality team to engage with guests and staff. Spaceflight preparation will unite our teams with our Future Astronauts in the pursuit of a common purpose. The Barista Island within Gaia will help to foster that sense of camaraderie and the determination to deliver each Future Astronauts’ personal mission.
The second floor is named Cirrus, representing light, air and flight. It is the beating heart of spaceflight operations, and is connected to the community hub of Gaia below through a double height atrium. The color palette graduates from the earthy tones below in Gaia to lighter white and grey shades, reflecting the skies beyond and providing a clean environment supporting operational focus.
My first thought when I saw this lounge was that it looked a bit like the Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse in Los Angeles:
I may have missed out on the Concorde, but I do hope to experience Virgin Galactic one day, including the beautiful new lounge.