Spaceports in New Mexico, Sweden Compete and Cooperate in Space Tourism

The road to Spaceport America is now paved only with red dirt. Virgin Galactic and New Mexico hope it will soon be paved in gold. (Photo Credit: Lucinda Weisbach)
The road to Spaceport America is now paved only with red dirt. Virgin Galactic and New Mexico hope it will soon be paved in gold. (Photo Credit: Lucinda Weisbach)

Space industry arrives in New Mexico
Las Cruces Bulletin

A model for making the $198 million Spaceport America 45 miles north of Las Cruces a tourist destination can be found in the contingency from Spaceport Sweden. Although its spaceport launch facilities was developed from an existing operation, Sweden emphasizes other attractions than just launches, such as reindeer rides, the Northern Lights and a stay in a hotel made of ice.

As the Swedes aim to ramp up their spaceport development on parallel tracks with Spaceport America, southern New Mexicans are looking for ways to package the experience for tourism by emphasizing the area’s Old West history and folklore, as well as its role in the U.S. space program.

Virgin Galactic – the leading company developing a spaceliner to take tourists into suborbital space – will fly out of Spaceport America and has committed to establishing its headquarters in NewMexico. But Virgin Galactic also will be flying space tourists out of Spaceport Sweden, which presents the opportunity of packaging experiences from both spaceports and the possibility of spaceflights from Sweden to New Mexico.

That’s why the FastForward Study Group picked this year’s symposium topresent its “white paper” called “Getting Faster.” John Olds of SpaceWorks Engineering said just as space tourism cracked open the market for commercial spaceflight development, it could also open the door to point-to-point space travel. The cooperation being seen by Spaceport America and Spaceport Sweden is encouraging to that end, he said.

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