Spaceport America, New Mexico

This Foster + Partners-designed commercial spaceport in the New Mexico desert resembles, naturally, a spaceship. It is the future launch site of Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic tours of outer space—slated for blastoff in late 2013. Twelve flight tests have been hosted since 2006 at the vertical launch area, and public launches occur on a regular basis, including the annual student launch project.

Once fully operational, the site will contain an airfield, launchpads, terminal/hangar facility, emergency response capabilities, utilities and roadways, along with tourism experiences. For now, visitors can join public bus tours to check out the spaceport.

Unusual Buildings