ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) - Spaceport America near Truth or Consequences in southern New Mexico is nearing completion with Sir. Richard Branson of Virgin Galactic hinting the first space flight with him aboard could launch as early as this Christmas.
However, not everyone can afford the $200,000 ticket price.
"We want people that may not be able to fly on a spacecraft to also experience space in some manner and have a great time when they come out there," Executive Director Christine Anderson of the New Mexico Spaceport Authority told KRQE News 13 last year.
To make that happen the NMSA plans to build a welcome center in Truth or Consequences for people passing on Interstate 25, and it will direct people to the visitor's center at the Spaceport itself.
At an April meeting some of the first images of what those centers will look like were presented. They will have exhibits, gift shops, space history information and more.
The NMSA thinks at least 200,000 people a year will visit the site.
That kind of attendance would be on par with attractions like the Sandia Peak Tram and Bandelier National Monument, which would be great, if it happens.
"To be realistic, it doesn't seem feasible," said New Mexico resident Adrian Avila.
Even though taxpayers have already forked over $209 million to build the Spaceport, they'll have to pony up more cash to visit it.
"I've never actually even considered going to see the Spaceport, so the fact that they're actually charging money, makes it less likely for say a college student to want to go to see the Spaceport," Avila said.
While no final prices have been set, a spokesperson said they will likely be similar to the Spaceport 'Preview Bus Tours' already running. Those range from $29 to $59 a person.
The spokesperson said visitors will get a lot of value for their money though. Each ticket includes a shuttle ride from T or C to the Spaceport and stop at the visitors center complete with 3D movie theater, space exhibits, gift shop, cafeteria and an observation deck for watching launches.
NMSA said the tour will also include a look at Virgin Galactic's hangar and terminal.
As for when the visitor experience will be up and running, the goal is sometime next year.
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