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Space Hopping for Grown Ups

At the turn of the year our Events Design team were asked for some quick fire suggestions for destinations we’d love to pitch in 2013, and ones that could be a reality should a client have the will and resources to make it happen. My suggestion was out of this world, literally. A trip to the edge of space.

Incentive Travel in Space

Having had the idea I was promptly asked “how would that work then?”, so here is a quick run through of how your very own ultimate high-end incentive travel trip will work.

Virgin Galactic established its headquarters in New Mexico and will operate its space flights from Spaceport America, the world's first purpose built commercial spaceport.  Spaceport America provides cutting edge facilities and a wonderful location for fledgling astronauts to realise their dreams.

The Four Seasons New Mexico. 

This is our base. Set in 57 unspoiled acres tucked gently into the Sangre de Cristo foothills the Four Seasons Resort Rancho Encantado Sante Fe will immediately convey a sense of adventure, a theme underpinning this whole event. It is just ten minutes from Santa Fe’s galleries, shops and distinctive architecture, and has 65 casita style guest rooms and suites, each with its own fireplace and private terrace.

On Arrival

Day guests can enjoy a specially prepared plated dinner with wine pairing in the Resort's Terra restaurant. A guest speaker is a great enhancement to the evening, and someone from the New Mexico Spaceport Authority to talk through and engage the audience with the excitement of the spaceport and what this means for civilian space travel would be the perfect choice.  Guests can complete their evening in the Bar’s Fire Circle, enjoy a speciality nightcap inspired by the region, such as a green chili-infused margarita, or indulge in some Encantado’s s’mores featuring homemade marshmallows.  With an astronomer on hand to guide guests through the night sky, the evening is the perfect light introduction to the destination – the stunning blanket of stars above.

Day 2

Immersion into the New Mexico culture and the local area through a selection of activities such as:

  • designing your own cowboy boots
  • kayaking the Rio Grande
  • Fly fishing at Pecos Ranch
  • cooking lesson
  • Santa Fe artist studio tour
  • spa treatments
  • or a challenging round of golf. 

This evening will feature some of Santa Fe’s best and most famous establishments as guests enjoy a dine-around with a difference….a progressive evening with a course in four of the top restaurants – this is THE way to experience New Mexico’s unique tastes.

The following morning

Guests will need to be early risers!  Today is the highlight of our New Mexico adventure…and for one lucky guest it is the experience of a lifetime!  Your Spaceport America journey starts in the community of Hot Springs (a short flight from Santa Fe), or what is known today as “Truth or Consequences”, and will take in:

  • The monolithic Elephant Butte Dam built in 1916 to control the then-wild Rio Grande River.
  • the historic El Camino Real de Tierra Adentro trail that connected this region to Mexico City, and one used by Spanish Conquistadores, native Americans, and, in the 1800′s, the first U.S. explorers militias and traders. 
  • The trail’s more colourful characters, including Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid, and the stories that defined their infamy
    Media mogul Ted Turner’s vast Armendaris Ranch, which contains some of the most pristine Chihuahuan Desert grasslands in existence.

Time to check in for Spaceport America

Passing through the ghost town of Engle, and the Jornada del Muerto desert basin, or Journey of the Deadman, you’ll arrive at the 18,000 acre site of Spaceport America.

The tour will head into the spaceport and history in the making: the future of personal and commercial spaceflight. Once inside the tour highlights include:

  • the eastern range and the launch facilities and mission control building
  • dodging livestock and wild animals on the two working cattle ranches that co-exist with the spaceport
  • the new Spaceport America infrastructure, including the airfield, spaceport operations centre, fuel storage complex, and the iconic terminal hangar facility.

Guests will also get the chance to have a Q&A session with a project engineer, stand at the head of the 10,000 foot "Governor Bill Richardson Spaceway", and learn about what it takes to make a successful spaceport and why New Mexico is so ideally suited for space access, geographically and historically.

The final part for most will be an insight into the emerging commercial space industry and stories from the likes of Virgin Galactic and other pioneers.

Lift Off and Hello World

And finally for one guest the ultimate top performers upgrade and the tour of a lifetime - a seat on a Virgin Galactic flight.  After a few days of preparation and you’re off at 2,500mph to see the world and beyond from 50,000 feet, awestruck and in absolute, total silence.

It’s then back to the Rancho Encantado for some more earthly mundane activities, but with one person in possession of some astronaut wings. It’s not a question of “if” but “when”.

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