Spaceport America held its first ever free Open House on October 3, 2015, and Sierra County weather was in full cooperation, meaning not too breezy, with temperatures in the 70s.
Registration was open to the first 200 vehicles to sign up. Guests were able to drive to the facility, park outside the gate, and shuttle onto the property.
The Gateway to Space hangar was wide open, with the WhiteKnight2 replica inside. Richard Branson stood next to the ship, in cardboard cutout form, welcoming everyone to partake in a photo opp. (Of course we did! See the evidence below.)
Presentations played on video screens, and FTS Tours was there to answer questions and vend a few Spaceport wares. Also on hand were Spaceport America team members (like super-personable Director of Operations Chris Lopez) and reps from Virgin Galactic.
A dozen or so private planes, including one piloted by representatives from Civil Air Patrol Albuquerque, flew in for free. A couple of pilots were even willing to take passengers up for a birds eye view of the facility.
Fire crews were showing off their vehicles. After climbing around on the ARFF—which stands for Aircraft Rescue & Fire Fighting vehicle, and by the way ARFFs are made by OshKosh, b’gosh—we chatted for a while with the fire department guys, who filled us in on a few of the details from last week’s movie shoot. Filming for “The Space Between Us,” starring Gary Oldman with Carla Gugino and BD Wong, happened inside the hangar. The scene was a black tie gala fundraiser, so extras were decked out in evening gowns and tuxes.