Space fever hit the United States in the late 1950s, following the launch of Sputnik in 1957 and opening up a world of wonder, opportunity and fear. From TV shows like The Jetsons to Stanley Kubrick's 2001: A Space Odyssey to Arthur C. Clarke's science fiction novels, the Space Age brought with it much anticipation for what was to come.
With the early successes in space exploration, many members of the general public in the 1960s and 1970s thought space travel would be inevitable leading into the 21st century. The Hilton Hotels on the Moon concept was teased in 1958 by the Chicago newspaper, Suburbanite Economist, following a black tie affair at the city's downtown Hilton Hotel, the Boulevard Room. (Source: BBC.com) In a Wall Street Journal interview nine years later, Barron Hilton announced that he planned to attend an opening ceremony for a Lunar Hilton Hotel in his lifetime. Whether he actually planned to do that or not, the general public took feverish interest.
While commercial travel to space did not happen at the pace that futurologists predicted it would in the mid-20th century, it has come a long way since then. In 2005, the State of New Mexico and Virgin Galactic reached an agreement to see the building of the world's first purpose built commercial spaceport, Spaceport America right here in New Mexico. So far, more than 700 people have signed on to pay the quarter million-dollar price tag to take a commercial trip into space. (The first tickets were offered at a discounted $200,000.00).
Learn more about Spaceport America.
Whether you are a future astronaut or someone who has a general interest in space, New Mexico is a great place to explore. The itineraries below will help guide you to some space-focused stops from Taos to Albuquerque and then down to Spaceport America near Truth or Consequences. There's plenty to explore in the The Land of Enchantment, we hope you'll stay for a while and enjoy our star-filled skies.