Countdown to Takeoff
Along the El Camino Real, in a particularly arid region of New Mexico the conquistadors called Jornada Del Muerto (Journey of the Dead), the future of space travel is alive and nearly ready for launch.
Begun in August 2009, Spaceport America is the world’s first inland purpose-built commercial spaceport capable of accommodating vertical and horizontal launch vehicles. The $198-million facility about 35 mi from Truth or Consequences is expected to be delivered to the state of New Mexico in July.
Aerospace firms such as Armadillo Aerospace, Lockheed Martin, Moog-FTS and UP Aerospace are considering commercial space flights from the 28-sq-mi facility. Virgin Galactic, under a 20-year lease agreement with Spaceport America, will headquarter there in a focal-point terminal hangar facility.
Eleven general contractors fulfilled or are completing contracts such as site enabling, a fuel storage facility and aircraft rescue and firefighting.
Water supply and wastewater facilities were designed by Albuquerque-based Molzen Corbin, which also provided construction phase services.
The water supply system is being built by the Las Cruces office of Smithco under a $4.82-million contract.
It includes four water production wells; a booster station and back-up emergency generator; 1.3-million-gallon steel water storage tank; approximately 12 mi of small-diameter water supply line from the well field to the water storage tank; approximately 14,950 linear ft of 16- to 24-in. water transmission loop around the phase one site development area; and backflow prevention devices at the buildings.
Components of the wastewater system are a 20,000-gallon-per-day recirculation filter wastewater treatment plant; 50,000 gallon equalization basin; 20,000 gallon water storage tank for effluent re-use; approximately 17,300 linear ft of wastewater collection lines; and a solids entrapment facility at each building. Albuquerque-based AUI Inc. is the contractor for the $2.30-million project.