Richard Branson's Spaceport Is Actually Being Built

Later today, flamboyant British multi-millionaire Richard Branson will commemorate the completion of the main runway of Spaceport America, near the town of Las Cruces, New Mexico, where the Virgin Galactic project is based. Here's a look before Branson's big bash.

SpaceShipTwo, which could carry paying customers into suborbital space by early 2012, had its maiden flight in the California desert in March.

Later today, the aircraft — re-christened the VSS Enterprise — will stage a fly-by pass high above the new two-mile long, 200-foot (60-meter) wide runway in tandem with its mothership, known as WhiteKightTwo or "Eve."

These photos, taken earlier this week, show the runway's taking shape quite nicely. Even construction on the main terminal and hangers appear to be coming along in time for a 2012 opening.

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Below, the final rendering of what the spaceport should look like upon completion.

Richard Branson's Spaceport Is Actually Being Built

Maybe the dream of private spaceflight isn't as far off as we once thought.

Photo Credit: astirn / Flickr; Virgin Galactic; nmcowboy / Flickr