New Mexico’s Spaceport America moved forward on its construction plans June 5 with the selection of a trio of architectural and engineering teams to compete for a contract to design a 9,000 square-meter main terminal and hangar facility to serve as operations headquarters for Sir Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic spaceliner enterprise.
The finalists are: HKS of Dallas, teamed with Antoine Predock of Albuquerque, N.M.; URS of San Francisco, teamed with Foster + Partners of London; and Gensler of San Francisco, teamed with Rohde May Keller McNamara Architecture of Albuquerque.
Each firm will provide concept drawings and detailed cost information that will be presented to a selection committee July 24-25. The winner of the competition is to be announced July 26, said Rick Homans, executive director of the New Mexico Spaceport Authority.
“After spending two days with the finalist teams, June 12 and 13, we are certain that they have captured the spirit and the innovation that are central to this cutting edge project,” Homans told Space News.
The entire facility is projected to cost $25.7 million. Virgin Galactic intends to sign a 20-year lease for approximately 7,560 square meters in the building.
Joint Effort Focuses on Customer Space Travel Support Services
Paragon Space Development Corporation of Tucson, Ariz., and Wyle Laboratories Inc., El Segundo, Calif., are joining forces to provide services to paying customers in the fledgling public space travel industry.
These services will help commercial human spaceflight providers screen potential customers and flight crew, prepare them for flight, provide medical and human factors support during the flight, provide the hardware systems necessary to keep the commercial astronauts alive, healthy and comfortable in space, and, if necessary, help them readapt to ground life after their spaceflight.
Wyle brings to the table an expertise in space medicine and human performance in space, gleaned through its life sciences services contracts with NASA. Paragon’s contribution is within the environmental control and life support systems arena.
Taken together, the partnership between the two firms, according to a May 25 joint press statement, is focused on passenger health and life support to help reduce the overall risk of spaceflight, and potentially reduce the liability costs incurred by the commercial spaceflight companies.