Virgin Galactic has revealed the first look at the interior fit-out of its long-awaited Gateway to Space building at Spaceport America in New Mexico, US. Designed by acclaimed architecture firm Foster + Partners, the work completed showcases two floors of the building – world’s first purpose-built commercial spaceport – primarily focused on spaceflight operations, but also incorporates communal spaces.
The architecture firm references the ancient surrounding landscape while also embracing the future through energy efficiency and sustainability.
The fit-out project has been led by veteran Virgin architectural and interior designer, Jeremy Brown, Virgin Galactic’s Design Director, in collaboration with London-based Viewport Studio. The first floor is focused on Earth, and is named Gaia, representing the point of departure and return, as well as the purpose of each astronaut’s journey. The colour palettes and the use of natural materials aims to bring the stunning landscape which surrounds Spaceport inside. The floor design, furniture and fittings promote social interaction and human discourse – a sense of togetherness and unity.
An elevated, interactive digital walkway aims to heighten the departure experience for the Future Astronauts. The focal point of Gaia is the Barista Island, a central bar made of back-lit Italian marble hovering above hand-crafted oak providing a social hub for our hospitality team to engage with guests and staff.
The second floor is named Cirrus, representing light, air and flight. It is the beating heart of spaceflight operations, and is connected to the community hub of Gaia below through a double-height atrium. The colour palette graduates from the earthy tones below in Gaia to lighter white and grey shades, reflecting the skies beyond and providing a clean environment supporting operational focus.
This area is home to Mission Control, the Mission Briefing Room, the Pilot Corps and the rest of the Flight Operations team. Mission Control enjoys a dedicated space which allows focussing on flight operations. Outside this space, the Flight Operations team and the pilots are positioned to give an unrestricted view of ground operation areas including the apron and runway.
Virgin Galactic’s space fleet will be housed in the Gateway to Space hangar which is already home to VMS Eve. This huge expanse in the middle of the building is large enough to accommodate two carrier aircraft, each with a wingspan of 140 ft along with five SpaceShipTwo vehicles.