As we told you here Leonardo DiCaprio’s Titanic co-star, Kate Winslet was on hand for the grand opening of Sir Richard Branson’s Spaceport America – the world’s only commercial space destination port, back in 2011.
Well now one of the biggest stars on earth is slated to take to the heavens with three generous bidders who collectively paid $3.8M to launch from Spaceport New Mexico with the actor.
The galaxy bound foursome was assembled as a top offering of the Cinema Against AIDS Charity Auction held on Thursday night at the Cannes Film Festival’s amfAR Gala. This year the annual event raised a record $25M to fund AIDS research.
As predicted this is just one in the beginning of many major celebrity visits and tourism prospects the spaceport lends to New Mexico!
LAS CRUCES, Sun-News report – Will Smith and his son, Jaden, star together in the film “After Earth” which is scheduled to open on May 31. On Friday, though, the father-and-son duo were in southern New Mexico at Spaceport America to help promote the film as well as promote a pact between Virgin Produced – the film and television arm of Virgin Group – with Overbrook Entertainment.
Virgin Galactic is a tenant at Spaceport America, the world’s first purpose-built commercial spaceport, about 40 miles north of Las Cruces.
Overbrook Entertainment will support the “After Earth” franchise, according to a release. The movie’s plot involves a crash landing that leaves the two main characters stranded on earth 1,000 years after humanity left the planet.
Commercial space adventure pioneer, Sir Richard Branson announced his latest star client Monday saying, “I gave Ashton a quick call to congratulate and welcome him. He is as thrilled as we are at the prospect of being among the first to cross the final frontier with us and to experience the magic of space for himself.”
MTV News Reports (sans mention of NM):
When you’re a single guy in your 30s making more than $700,000 per episode on a sitcom, there isn’t much that’s out of your financial reach. Wanna go out and buy a car today with cash? Go for it. Hell, buy two!
That and the actor’s “whatever, dude” attitude might explain why British adventure billionaire Richard Branson announced on his blog this week that Ashton Kutcher, 34, has signed up to be the 500th space tourist on Branson’s Virgin Galactic airlines. The suborbital spacecraft will give passengers a few minutes of weightlessness at a cost of $200,000 per ride.
Branson expects to launch a test flight beyond the Earth’s atmosphere this year and possibly start sending commercial passengers into space in 2013 or 2014 on its six-passenger jets.
Of course, that’s if things progress on track. In the meantime, we were wondering: What other kinds of outer-limits adventures or experiences Ashton could have while he’s awaiting a shot at the great beyond? » Read the full post
In a quest to push American music beyond the stratosphere, the Foo Fighters have announced their intentions to record their next album in outer space!
Why not? Their fans and the Grammys were “over the moon” (forgive me M.K) for the back to basics garage band recording methods on their most recent album…
As you and the whole wide world ought to know, there’s only one way to launch the Foos into space and that means first stop, NEW MEXICO baby!
Yes, the one and only commercial spaceport on the planet calls The Land of Enchantment home. So, in addition to the Foo ties that bind our great state to the band, their galactic transit aspirations would bring them our way again!
UPDATE 2/10/12: Governor Susana Martinez is urging lawmakers to revisit the tabled bills stating that a “boost to local economies” is at stake. Via Capitol Report New Mexico
Insert Doodlebop bus horn sound here.
In “world’s first and only commercial” Spaceport news, New Mexico Legislators have all but killed a bill that would have limited the ability of space travelers to file suit against manufacturers of parts and equipment used for “inter-galactic” travel, in case of loss or injury.
Las Cruces Senator Mary Kay Papen (D), who introduced the bill says, “I think it will have a slowdown” and calls it a setback, citing a lack of legal protection for Spaceport America suppliers. Furthermore, The Albuquerque Journal reports: Officials claim at least two major companies may otherwise choose to go elsewhere like Texas, Florida or Virginia, where parts manufacturers are not held liable for death or injury when their products malfunction during commercial space travel.
While passenger liability claims options remain open at this time, Spaceport America has unveiled plans for 2013 visitor access.
TRUTH OR CONSEQUENCES, (AP) — Spaceport America visitors would be able to go on behind-the-scenes tours and visit the Virgin Galactic Gateway to Space in southern New Mexico.
It’s all part of the visitor experience plan unveiled this week by the New Mexico Spaceport Authority. The board of directors reviewed plans to design, build and program the visitor experience.
The plan calls for welcome centers in Hatch and Truth or Consequences.
There would also be a visitor center at the spaceport. Officials say the goal is to immerse visitors in the excitement of the world’s first commercial spaceport built specifically for launching people and payloads into space.
Officials expect more than 200,000 people will visit annually.
The initial visitor experience program is expected to begin operating in 2013, about the time Virgin Galactic plans to begin commercial operations at Spaceport America.
DATELINE AUSTRALIA, (not part of the USA) – No wonder no one can find NM on a map of North America (I’m looking at you USA Today of the early 90s, which reversed NM & AZ…At least you had the pre-cognition to cite the future likeness in immigration “standards”).
Houston Spaceport, New Mexico we (will soon) have lift-off.
Stratosphere defying stars and billionaires alike will soon be able to make the trek out to Spaceport America, NM for the first of the commercial tourism flights as charted by the Virgin Galactic/New Mexico venture that is Spaceport AMERICA.
From the Associated Press via Las Cruces Sun News:
White Knight Two touches down in NM desert
Virgin Galactic’s Sir Richard Branson, New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson and prospective astronauts gathered in the southern New Mexico desert Friday to celebrate the completion of the runway at the world’s first purpose-built commercial spaceport.
Spaceport America is the world’s first facility designed specifically to launch commercial spacecraft. The celebration of its nearly-two-mile-long runway comes less than two weeks after another major step for Virgin Galactic: the first solo glide flight of its space tourism rocket ship.
Branson called it an emotional and historic day. The British billionaire said he expects flights for space tourists to begin in nine to 18 months, and he will be among the first passengers…
“The simple truth is that we have already been to the Moon – some 40 years ago. What this nation needs in order to maintain its position as the 21st century leader in space exploration is a near-term focus on lowering the cost of access to space and on developing key, cutting-edge technologies that will take us further and faster…” – Buzz via MSNBC