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Virgin Galactic says its new spaceport is ‘operationally functional’

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Virgin Galactic has said the world's first specifically designed commercial spaceport is "operationally functional".

The company, owned by Sir Richard Branson, is transferring all its spaceflight operations to Spaceport America in New Mexico.

Image: The start of the interactive Astronaut Walk at the Gateway to Space

Until now, test flights – including the first successful launch of its tourism rocket plane into space last December – had been carried out in California.

More than 600 people have already paid £64.2m to secure their tickets on Virgin Galactic's maiden voyages.

Virgin Galactic has now unveiled the interior of its Gateway to Space building at Spaceport America, which features communal spaces for future customers.

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Spaceport America will 'create an unparalleled experience as its customers'
Image: Spaceport America will 'create an unparalleled experience as its customers'

The company said it has sought to choose "an elegant, experience-focused concept", adding: "It was also specifically designed to enable Virgin Galactic to create an unparalleled experience as its customers prepare for journeys of a lifetime before graduating as astronauts."

Chief pilot Dave Mackay has said Virgin Galactic is closer to starting its long-delayed commercial service following the arrival of VMS Eve, the company's launch vehicle, earlier this week.

The firm merged with Social Capital Hedosophia to set itself up to become the first and only publicly traded commercial human spaceflight last month.

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