British eccentric billionaire, Sir Richard Branson on Monday celebrated the opening of world’s first-ever Spaceport in the New Mexico desert.
As expected, in his distinctive style, Branson rappelled from a balcony, shook up a big bottle of champagne and took a swig while christening the building. New Mexico Governor Susana Martinez and astronaut Buzz Aldrin also attended.
The building is absolutely magnificent, Branson said. It is literally out of this world, and that’s what we were aiming at creating. We’re ticking the final boxes on the way to space, he added.
Virigin’s new space terminal will house Virgin Galactic’s spacecraft, mission control and a preparation area for travellers. Powered test flights are scheduled to take place next year and Sir Richard expressed hopes that Virgin Galactic’s commercial flights could begin soon after. Virgin Galactic reached an agreement six years ago with New Mexico officials to build the spaceport.
About 150 people already booked for travel on the first flights to orbit attended the event, said the company. The 2.5-hour flights will offer five minutes of weightlessness and cost $200,000 (£127,000).