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Virgin Galactic says it's partnering with the Hotel Encanto de Las Cruces to accommodate "Future Astronauts" while they wait to fly on SpaceShipTwo from New Mexico's Spaceport America, about 60 miles (100 kilometers) to the north. Monday's announcement heralded what's likely to be several tourism deals focused on Virgin Galactic's suborbital space trips. The Las Cruces hotel already is upgrading its facilities to accommodate tourists who will be paying as much as $250,000 for a four-day spaceflight package. World Class Gourmet, which is headed by Chef Tatsu Miyazaki, will handle the catering at Spaceport America, Virgin Galactic said.
The SpaceShipTwo rocket plane is expected to start flying travelers from the spaceport to a height of 62 miles (100 kilometers — or, yes, roughly the distance from Las Cruces) sometime in the next few months, assuming that Virgin Galactic's test program in California proceeds smoothly. Some of the roads between the spaceport and Las Cruces are rather rough, and officials are working on a $14.5 million upgrade. In the meantime, bring out the Land Rovers!
- New Mexico's Spaceport Rises in the Middle of Nowhere
- Gallery: How New Mexico Is Building on Space Tourism
- Hotel Picked for Virgin's Space Tourists (Albuquerque Journal)
— Alan Boyle, NBC News
NBCUniversal has established a multi-platform partnership with Virgin Galactic to track the development of SpaceShipTwo and televise Virgin founder Richard Branson's spaceflight.