Our next Earth Rise Service mission, The Centennial Flight, will launch out of Spaceport America, New Mexico. If you’re traveling to New Mexico — “The Land of Enchantment” — to view the liftoff in person, consider visiting some of the many tourist attractions near Spaceport America.
First, tour Spaceport America itself. Spaceport America describes itself as, “the first spaceport in the world built-from-the-ground-up to host private enterprise, intended to be the launch-pad of the global commercial spaceflight industry and the second space age. The $209 million project has attracted worldwide attention because of its bold premise, stunning architecture and the fact that it is home to the world’s first commercial passenger spaceline company, Sir Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic.”
The White Sands Missile Range Museum‘s outdoor display of over 50 rockets and missiles that were tested at the U.S. government’s famous White Sands Missile Range is a must-see. White Sands is the U.S.’ largest overland military test range. It was at White Sands’ “Trinity Site” that the world’s first atomic bomb was tested on July 16, 1945.
White Sands National Monument is one of the world’s great natural wonders – the glistening white sands of New Mexico. Here, dunes have engulfed 275 square miles of desert creating the world’s largest gypsum dunefield. White Sands National Monument preserves this dunefield, along with the plants and animals that have adapted to its constantly changing environment.
Elephant Butte Lake State Park encompasses the largest and most popular lake in New Mexico, and provides camping, boating, water skiing, swimming, fishing, hiking and bird watching. Southern New Mexico’s mild climate makes this park a popular year-round destination.
You might consider visiting one of the area’s famous hot springs, famous for their reputation as ancient healing remedies, in nearby Truth or Consequences. In fact, the city of Truth or Consequences was originally named “Hot Springs.”
We also recommend making the roughly two-hour drive to Alamogordo for a visit to the New Mexico Museum of Space History. The museum stresses the significant role that the state of New Mexico has played in the development of the U.S. space program. For example, Robert Goddard, the father of American rocketry, conducted much of his pioneering aerospace research in New Mexico. Visit the museum to learn more about Goddard’s work, and to see the museum’s many fascinating space history artifacts on display.