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First look at Spaceport Interior Design, Now Supporting New Mexico Flight Operations.

Las Cruces, New Mexico, USA (15th August 2019): Virgin Galactic today revealed the first look at the interior fit-out of its Gateway to Space building at Spaceport America in New Mexico. The work completed showcased two floors of the building primarily focused on spaceflight operations, which also incorporates communal spaces designed for use in the future by Virgin Galactic customers, along with their friends and families. Completion of this interior work means the spaceport facility is now operationally functional and able to support Virgin Galactic’s flight requirements. 

One of the hallmarks of
the Virgin brand for over nearly half a century has been the use of inspired
and bold design to transform customer experiences. It is an ethos that has been
successfully applied across industrial sectors and design disciplines. From
aircraft cabins to hotel bedrooms and from fitness classes to bank accounts.

Virgin Galactic has
striven to remain faithful to that tradition by choosing an elegant,
experience-focused concept for the space launch system itself. Similarly, the
company’s choice to operate from Spaceport America in New Mexico was due in no
small part to the state’s decision to commission landmark architecture for the
world’s first purpose-built commercial spaceport. The Foster + Partners Gateway
to Space
 facility pays homage to the past in its respect for the
ancient surrounding landscape while powerfully embracing the future through
energy efficiency and sustainability. It was also specifically designed to
enable Virgin Galactic to create an unparalleled experience as its customers
prepare for journeys of a lifetime before graduating as astronauts.

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.

Spaceport America Interior

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. 

This area is home to
Mission Control, the Mission Briefing Room, the Pilot Corps and the rest of the
Flight Operations team.

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 unveiling of Gaia and
Cirrus brings to life a beautiful, world-first and world-class facility and
means that Spaceport America’s Gateway to Space is now
functionally operational – ready to host the remaining portion of Virgin
Galactic’s test flight program before welcoming its very first Future
Astronauts.

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