With only two more years of construction to go, the New Mexico Spaceport is slowly starting to look like the crazy renderings we've been salivating over since Foster & Partners won the design competition to build it. The 10,000 foot runway dedicated earlier this year has already hosted twelve vertical liftoffs, and now the terminal hangar is also well under way. Located 4,600 feet above sea level near the White Sands Desert in New Mexico, the Spaceport will eventually take up 100,000 square feet, a footprint that will be offset with such techniques as daylighting, optimum thermal massing, natural ventilation, heat rejection, and more. Demonstrative of the overall care that has been taken to achieve energy efficiency and sustainability, the hangar is starting to take shape with both exterior and interior interventions that will keep the building cool in the hot summers and warm during winter. Step on in for a look at the latest construction images courtesy of Spaceport America.
Part of the $209 million Spaceport building project funded by New Mexico’s taxpayers, the terminal hangar is getting closer to liftoff. What will eventually become a government owned hangar like any other commercial airport in the United States, the Spaceport terminal will nonetheless have many more sustainable features than the standard airport. So far, pre-weathered THF panels and THF energy glass have been put up, along with interior infrastructure such as the soffit that will eventually play host to chilled beams, all of which will ensure maximum energy efficiency when outdoor temperatures soar. Still to come are photovoltaic panels, a thin shell concrete roof that will ensure optimum thermal massing, and a heat rejection system that involves closed loop geothermal piping buried underground.
Although we worry that space travel will increase already dangerously high levels of carbon emissions in our atmosphere, we admire Foster & Partners’ longstanding commitment to creating beautiful projects that exceed the energy performance of their rather humdrum counterparts!