Virgin Galactic owner Sir Richard Branson will announce next week that he has agreed a deal to build a spaceport in New Mexico for his commerical space flights.
SpaceShipOne designer Burt Rutan is building five spaceships for Virgin Galactic, with a debut mission targeted for 2008.
Virgin Galactic will begin launches from their current home of operations in the Mojave Desert in California, before moving to New Mexico when their spaceport has been constructed.
It will cost $200,000 each to take a flight on board a Virgin ship, with a few minutes of weightlessness before gliding back to Earth.
Branson’s plans to make the announcement on December 14 was confirmed by the State’s Economic Development Secretary Rick Homans.
‘We are very excited to announce our partnership with Virgin Galactic next week,’ said Homans to the Associated Press.
‘It has been a dream in New Mexico for 15 years to build a spaceport and Richard Branson has a dream to take people into space and together we will make that happen.’
Currently at the planning stage, the spaceport – on land north of La Cruces city – will also be the home to British company Starchaser, who will also use the area for their launches.
‘We anticipate this is just the beginning. We are staking our claim to being the nest that will launch this industry,’ Homans added.