Remember the feeling you used to get when that thing you’ve longed-for is about to come true?
I had that feeling today. Cheryl Fallstead and I were invited to participate in the runway dedication at Spaceport America. Along with several hundred participants in this week’s symposium on commercial spaceflight, we boarded buses in Las Cruces for our trip to the Spaceport.
The 10,000 by 200 foot runway is complete, including striping and taxi signs. The terminal building, while not complete, is under roof and proceeding toward the day when we’ll all be back for the ribbon cutting.
We gathered at the dedication area. Swooping low over the runway came Galactic Girl, Sir Richard Branson’s jet, which did two fly-bys giving camera crews Hollywood-style views. Then it landed. Sir Richard deplaned, along with Governor Bill Richardson, Virgin Galactic CEO George Whiteside, Dr. Pat Hines, chair of the New Mexico Space Grant Consortium, and Apollo 11 Astronaut Buzz Aldrin. It was showtime.
Each of the VIPs spoke about the value and future of the Spaceport. Then Sir Richard introduced us to his special guest and we watched White Knight 1 and its Spaceship 2 fly bow-ties over the runway, giving all of us breathtaking views of the mothership and the rocket that with 9 to 18 months will carry the first non-government, non-military ... ordinary, everyday ... passengers 65 miles above the earth into the realm of outer space.
Here’s a brief ... and apologetically shaky ... video I shot of the flyby. Cheryl got much better still pictures, which she’ll share with you later.
Posted by Bud Russo