Virgin Galactic recently revealed the interior of its Gateway to Space building at Spaceport America in New Mexico. Completion of this interior work means the spaceport facility is now operationally functional and able to support Virgin Galactic’s flight requirements. The company’s choice to operate in New Mexico was due to the state’s decision to commission landmark architecture for the world’s first purpose-built commercial spaceport.
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.
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.
Mission Control enjoys a dedicated space which allows focus on flight operations. Outside this space, the Flight Operations team and the pilots are positioned to give an unrestricted view of ground operation areas including the apron and runway.
Virgin Galactic’s space fleet will be housed in the Gateway to Space hangar which is already home to VMS Eve. This huge expanse in the middle of the building is large enough to accommodate two carrier aircraft, each with a wingspan of 140 ft along with five SpaceShipTwo vehicles.
The project has been led by veteran Virgin architectural and interior designer, Jeremy Brown, Virgin Galactic’s Design Director, in collaboration with London-based Viewport Studio. Brown joined from Virgin Atlantic to oversee this unique assignment.