Haphazard Observations of the Everyday

And a little fiction by Miguela Holt y Roybal

Miguela Holt y Roybal

Miguela Holt y Roybal
New Mexico, USA
March 10
Monarch of All She Surveys
Miguela Holt y Roybal is my maiden name en Espanol. I am a retired schoolteacher and aspiring author looking for crumbs of beauty among the ruins. My novel has been a work in progress for longer than I care to admit. It is a postmodern pastiche of magical realism and about a young woman from New Mexico who goes to work in Washington, DC during the 1980s. She has been a longtime witness to the secret rituals of the Penitente culture in her home state and learns about herself and redemption as she sallies forth on her quest for novelty and adventure. I claim fair useage of images found on the internet that illustrate some of my posts. All contents copyrighted by the author unless otherwise noted. All rights reserved.


OCTOBER 18, 2011 5:11PM

Spaceport America Now Open

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 branson vms

(Photo of Richard Branson courtesy of AP)

The Future is Now

Sir Richard Branson was in New Mexico yesterday to celebrate the official opening of Spaceport America, the world's first purpose-built commercial spaceport.  Located 30 miles east of Truth or Consequences, eight suborbital missions have already been successfully launched from the site.

History of the Project

Dr. Burton Lee of Stanford University developed the idea for the commerical space transport station with $1.4 million seed money from a congressional earmark marshalled by my longtime ago boss, U. S. Senator Pete Domenici.  Former New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson came on board with the project and in 2008, voters in two out of three adjoining counties were in favor of the space station releasing federal money for its constuction that is now completed.  Virgin Galactic signed a 20-year lease as the anchor tenant for use of the hangar facilities and runways of the spaceport. The company will pay $1 million per year for the first five years in addition to  payments on a tiered scale based on the number of launches.

Forward Thinking Construction


The $209 million dollar futuristic-looking terminal was one year behind schedule because of its unprecedented nature and remote location. Gerald Martin Construction Management from Albuquerque was chosen to oversee the building of the spaceport and it was designed with environmental sustainability in mind incorporating "Earth Tubes" to cool the building, solar thermal panels, underfloor radiant cooling and heating, as well as natural ventilation.

Opening Celebration

branson and champagne

The governor of New Mexico, Susana Martinez, was on hand to give Branson the keys to the building.  In this photo, Branson pops open the traditional bottle of champagne to celebrate as he rapells down the side of the building joining other performers for the festivities.

 branson dedication 

Still Delays

According to London's The Daily Mail, tickets to ride the White Knight Two will cost $200,000 and the two and a half hour flights will include a five minute segment of weightlessness as well as views of our planet formerly only enjoyed by astronauts.  Branson and his two children will be on its maiden voyage that he wrongly predicted would take place in 2007.  He says about the delay that he wants to make sure that he and his children will be brought home safely.

"We want to be sure we've really tested the craft through and through before turning it over to the astronauts who bought tickets to go up," he said, "If it takes a bit longer, we'll take a little bit longer."

The Mail reports that commercial service will start up after the company gets a license from the Federal Aviation Administration and that NASA has already signed a $4.5 million contract with the company for three chartered research flights.



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Who the heck would want to go into outer space?
To me, that is like offering a trip to the bottom of the Sea.
Hell, I shall not go! i will, though,
look at computer pictures, video, maybe virtual
reality of it all.

I think it's maybe a step in the right direction to
getting off this planet, some of us,
hopefully alot of us, someday. To reduce the strain on Mom.the Earth.
Leaving home aint easy.

Not me tho, thank God.

Like my mom used to say, Thank god i'll be dead
by the time that happens...........................
ya think they could find shit here to fix - before they started mucking up the rest of the universe - ! unless they intend to fly mother natures silver seed to a new home in the sun (all aboard!)
I don't even want to leave home let alone the earth's atmosphere!
Amazing what a millionaire can do it he sets his mind to it. How about a cheaper fuel for this planet?
This is great! I'm IN ! r.
I find this prospect exciting. "Up up and away!"
Cool post! It's always great to see a good news piece on OS I would have missed otherwise. Well done.
I wonder how much of the $200,000 cost is due to fuel costs? Can't wait to see the films of the interiors and amenities of the crafts.
I think this is insane.. Can they not spend their money on good things??
This may well be inevitable. But I hate the logo.
How crazy - we are in the future! I am sad, though, that there has to be that pin-up girl on the side of the rocket, instead of something a little more gender-equality-forward, but well...I guess those are the times we live in. And she does look sexy. As for a trip, I'm glad those who dream of doing it (and have the money) can. But it's definitely not for me! Thanks for your excellent coverage of this major event.
Totally rad, and I am psyched it is in New Mexico. Of course, T or C is not exactly thrilling terrain, but it does give the affect of already being marooned on a desert planet. It would have been awesomest if the port was in the middle of White Sands, but we can't have it all, can we?
I am excited for the Spaceport.
JamesE--I learned my lesson from Christa McAuliffe, the teacher in space. No, thanks. I am firmly grounded right here on Earth.

Snowden--I love that song you quoted from but never wanted to follow the others there.

Sir Robert--Let's just stay at home!
JamesP--Branson is a billionaire. I agree he should try and do something more practical for the world than to create a Disneyuniverse.

JonW--You daredevil! But I know a lot of people who would also go despite the danger.

SarahC--The Balloon Fiesta was held in Albuquerque a couple of weeks ago. Hot air balloons are more my speed. Thanks for reading and for commenting.
LindaS--I have two friends who are actual rocket scientists and they get angry when I tell them we could have done without Teflon and Tang. We have so many problems on this planet--especially the means to feed us all.

Mimetalker--As long as men are dreaming and building ships to space or otherwise, beautiful women will be part of the decor. I have seen better. Thanks for pointing out the sexist logo.

Alysa--I would much rather go to Paris than outerspace. I wonder why a man could not have served as a model for the plane's decor. Branson isn't half bad.
OryokiBowl--As it happens, the White Sands Missle range personnel were instrumental in the building of the Spaceport. I should have mentioned that. T or C? Not my kind of town. They will be building a welcome center there. Thanks for adding to the story.

VictoriaH--Would YOU go???
Sorry, effect. I would totally go, in a heartbeat.
I'm in too!! wait, $200.000??? EEK!!!

~goes off to build his own rocket~
OryokiBowl--Why am I not surprised that you would go? A woman physician can do anything.

Tink in a rocket--A real space oddity!
Another great story and photos. Somehow, I felt the spirit of Commander Ohura come over me.
Toys for the one percenters.
MaryS--Ohura was a gorgeous astronaut and I am dorky major
Star Trek fan who once worked at a convention held in Albuquerque. Thanks for making me smile to remember that :D.
I'm not a big travel fan, let alone to space. But, very cool post.
Christina--Like you, I am not a fan of travel nor of the space industry but it seems like a little bit of the Jetson future is coming into existence--and that's kind of nice. Thanks for stopping by.
Miguela, thanks for the interesting story on the Spaceport! I think the flights will appeal to some climbers who have already scaled the summit of Mt. Everest and are looking for a new adventure.
Interesting question, Miguela. IF I had $200,000 to spare, and I knew that I didn't have much time left.... Think bucket list.... then I might do it. The practical me says no. But I wouldn't rule it out.
Choosing between spending money on the insanity of more Middle Eastern wars and popping few of the over rich into space for a few minutes, I'm with the space program. It's a rather expensive version of Coney Island but basically harmless and it might lead to something more practical.
Designanator--I think you are right but they must be very wealthy climbers. ;D.

Victoria--You are not the only one who would consider this for their bucket list. It's not on mine!

Jan--There are more than a few wealthy you-know-whats that could use the Major Tom treatment. Thanks for reading and commenting.
I've been there, when there was nothing there "there". It's interesting to see it finally taking place.
Very similar response as Matt. Toys for the super rich. Very intersting article, but made me feel uneasy.
I've always found it very cool that New Mexico has a town called "Truth or Consequences."
Miguela, I hope this spaceport is some distance from Roswell. It is, isn't it? It might attract the 'wrong crowd' if it's too nearby, if you know what I mean. That could be pretty scarey....
MattP--Please forgive me for skipping your comment. I sure didn't mean to! I have a feeling this venture may never really take off, if you know what I mean. It may just be Branson's dream to have space travel for individuals and the reality will just be commercial launchings of satellites for various purposes.
occularnervosa--There still is pretty much nothing there. I am surprised that something like the spaceport was built here in NM. Usually we get stuck with nuclear waste!

Fernsy--The people of Tor C are not particularly moral. They voted to change the city's name from Hot Springs for the television show hosted by Ralph Edwards. He sponsored a contest and hosted an episode from a town that would name itself after his program. I wonder if there were any hot springs there.
Donegal Descendant--Roswell is hundreds of miles away from
T or C but that's nothing to extraterrestrial aircraft. Two of my children were born in Roswell. They are teenagers and a little alien to their old mom these days. ;D.
Mike Lord via Facebook: Good job, Michelle. In spite of the perception of excess, I think that this is the next technological leap that mankind will take. When the automobile was new, it was a plaything of the rich and the horse and buggy economy said as much. ...At the risk of sounding impossibly futuristic, mankind has always moved to occupy empty territory as it grows. We're running out of empty territory on the planet and we're still growing our numbers. Where will we go when we're out of space here?
Amazing! It gives "come fly with me," new meaning!
Well done as usual and puzzling. But I guess it is ok. We have no choice. Humans do amazing things for a variety of reasons. That feeling of weightlessness must be really something.
Oh man, would I love to do this. Only two problems: $200,000, and prone to seasickness - I don't think I would last 30 seconds, in 5 minutes of weightlessness.