Space tourism

Avion Luxury International Airport Magazine - - SPACEPORT -

Of­fi­cially de­clared op­er­a­tional on 18 Oc­to­ber 2011, Space­port Amer­ica is lo­cated in the desert of New Mex­ico. The com­pany Vir­gin Galac­tic in­tends to of­fer sub-or­bital flights in zero grav­ity on board the shut­tle SpaceShipTwo. The sin­u­ous shape of the ter­mi­nal build­ing against the sur­round­ing land­scape and its in­ter­nal spa­ces seek to cap­ture the charm and mys­tery of space flight, recre­at­ing the thrill of space travel for the first space tourists. Us­ing lo­cal ma­te­ri­als and build­ing tech­niques, it is both sus­tain­able and sen­si­tive to­wards its sur­round­ings. The build­ing is a low con­struc­tion stand­ing in the desert scenery of New Mex­ico and the or­ganic shape of the ter­mi­nal, like a plateau on the land­scape, can be seen from the his­toric trail of El Camino Real. This amaz­ing com­plex has been or­gan­ised with a highly ef­fi­cient and ra­tio­nal lay­out. The site oc­cu­pies a sur­face area of ap­prox­i­mately twenty-seven square miles and has a two-mile long run­way, a fu­tur­is­tic ter­mi­nal and dome-shaped op­er­a­tions cen­tre. The Space­port is cir­cu­lar in shape, like a stylised disk on which a kind of space­craft sits. This build­ing houses the ter­mi­nal, com­mer­cial ac­tiv­i­ties, vis­i­tor cen­tre and con­trol tower. The Space­port has been de­signed to re­late to the di­men­sions of the space­craft. The as­tro­nauts' ar­eas and vis­i­tor spa­ces are fully in­te­grated with the rest of the build­ing to con­vey the thrill of space travel. The more sen­si­tive zones - such as the con­trol room - are vis­i­ble but have limited ac­cess. Vis­i­tors and as­tro­nauts en­ter the build­ing via a deep chan­nel cut into the land­scape. The re­tain­ing walls form an ex­hi­bi­tion space that doc­u­ments the his­tory of the re­gion and its set­tlers, along­side a his­tory of space ex­plo­ration. The strong lin­ear axis con­tin­ues on a gal­leried level that crosses the en­tire ter­mi­nal to the su­per han­gar - which houses the space­craft - and the flight sim­u­la­tion room. The build­ing was de­signed to re­duce car­bon emis­sions to a min­i­mum and ex­ploit var­i­ous forms of al­ter­na­tive en­ergy. The low-ly­ing form is dug into the land­scape to ex­ploit the ther­mal mass, which buf­fers the build­ing from the ex­tremes of the New Mex­ico cli­mate as well as catch­ing the west­erly winds for ven­ti­la­tion. Nat­u­ral light en­ters through sky­lights and, at the end of the ter­mi­nal, there is a glazed façade with views over the run­way. The space travel pro­gramme in­cludes three days of phys­i­cal prepa­ra­tion and med­i­cal checks, while once in or­bit the am­a­teur as­tro­nauts can ad­mire the views of space and the Earth be­low, an ex­pe­ri­ence un­til now only re­served for pro­fes­sional as­tro­nauts. Guests of Vir­gin Galac­tic can also, be­fore re­turn­ing to base, en­joy the ex­pe­ri­ence of weight­less­ness for ap­prox­i­mately five min­utes. The first space tourists will be able to leave the New Mex­ico desert be­tween 2012 and 2013. With a price tag of $200,000 dollars, the en­tire flight will last two and a half hours and of­fer sen­sa­tions never ex­pe­ri­enced be­fore: float­ing in space and see­ing the Earth from space. Thanks to this space­port, the fu­ture is al­ready here!

I primi turisti spaziali po­tranno vo­lare nell’alta at­mos­fera e provare sen­sazioni mai provate prima: flut­tuare in assenza di grav­ità e vedere la Terra dallo spazio. The first space tourists will be able to fly and feel sen­sa­tions never ex­pe­ri­enced be­fore: float­ing in space and see­ing the Earth from space. Per ul­te­ri­ori in­for­mazioni/ For fur­ther in­for­ma­tion: space­por­tamer­ica.com

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