Spaceport America Preview Bus Tours by Follow the Sun, Inc. features guided, exclusive access to the Spaceport site and provides you an up close and personal encounter only available during the current pre-operational phase. You’ll take a journey through time, learning the history and evolution of transportation and trade in the American continent from the Spanish and Native American pioneers of the past to the space pioneers of the future. The approximately 3-hour experience gives you an in-depth look at the scenic beauty and rugged ranges of New Mexico’s Old West, as well as man’s efforts to survive in the high desert. No doubt your visit to the world’s first purpose-built commercial spaceport will be a memorable experience!
Tours are only available on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Tour length is approximately 3.5 hours. Reservations are required, with minimum of three guests (or equivalent) per tour. Step-on guide service is also available. Please call for details.
Pick up location(s):
2201 F.G. Amin St, Truth or Consequences, NM
710 Hwy 195, Elephant Butte, NM
FOR MORE INFORMATION
Contact Follow the Sun Inc. at +1-575-740-6894
Toll Free: +1-866-428-4SUN(786)
What To Expect
Your Spaceport America journey starts at Space Place New Mexico, the first commercial space development in Sierra County that will serve as a “NewSpace” incubator for future Spaceport America companies.
The tour will travel past the expansive concrete monolith of Elephant Butte Dam, an engineering marvel from the last century. It was built from 1911- 1916 to control the then-wild Rio Grande River. The expedition then takes you near media mogul Ted Turner’s vast 356,000-acre Armendaris Ranch, which contains some of the most pristine Chihuahuan Desert grasslands in existence today. The Armendaris was established under an old Spanish land grant in 1819 and was patented in 1881. Turner purchased the ranch in 1994.
After leaving Engle, the route runs parallel to the historic El Camino Real de Tierra Adentro trail, Spanish “Royal Road,” the highway that connected this region to Mexico City during much of the colonial period. From 1598 to 1680, Spanish Conquistadores used this trail along with Native Americans, and later in the 1800′s, the first U.S. explorers and militias used the same passageway to navigate the southwest. It served as one of the central corridors for Mexico – U.S. trade after the 1821.
Our conversation will shift from our distant past to “why build a spaceport here?” and “why now?” You’ll learn about what it takes to make a successful spaceport and why New Mexico is so ideally suited for space access. A long New Mexico tradition of being first when it comes to space is highlighted through the exploits of local aerospace pioneers, such as Robert Goddard, Wernher von Braun, Col. John Stapp, and Capt. Joseph Kittinger. Additionally, we will discuss the motivating factors that started “NewSpace,” also known as entrepreneurial space. The tour will venture inside the secure spaceport perimeter where you’ll witness history in the making: the future home of the personal and commercial spaceflight industry.
The tour guide will then point out and explain the different components of the new Spaceport America infrastructure including the Spaceport Operations Center (SOC), Spaceway, fuel storage complex, and the iconic Virgin Galactic Gateway to Space Building. We will go behind-the-scenes inside the SOC, our mission control, and then take a cruise down the Spaceport’s main runway – Spaceway 16-34 – the same place that will one day welcome returning astronauts. These are both limited opportunities available only during this preview stage of Spaceport America tours. Finally we’ll stop on the apron in front of the Gateway Building: a stunning URS/ Foster + Partners structure that may figure prominently in New Mexico’s future visual identity.
At the conclusion of the onsite tour, we will include updates on the latest happenings and trends in the emerging commercial space industry. You’ll hear the stories of all the major players, along with predictions for new game-changing technologies like fly-back boosters that will make sea based launches a thing of the past. With so much happening in space every day both on-site and around the world, no two tours will be quite the same!
New Mexico has a rich history spanning over many centuries. The Spaceport America Preview Tour not only introduces you to the people and places that make up our past, but culminates in a taste of the future. Witness the coming of the Second Space Age, and reserve your tour today!