ELEPHANT BUTTE, NM - In their search for a more suitable location to further efforts related to Spaceport America, Follow the Sun Inc./FTS Tours - the official Spaceport tour operator - has relocated to a 5,800 sq. ft. building on one acre in Elephant Butte, New Mexico, where the company will launch its Spaceport America tours and rent out space to national and international space-industry companies interested in relocation.
"The New Mexico Spaceport Authority has been very pleased with the service that FTS has provided to Spaceport visitors," said Christine Anderson, Executive Director of the New Mexico Spaceport Authority. "Our visitors routinely give them high marks. In addition, I am thrilled that FTS is creating more jobs in the local area, a trend we expect to continue as Spaceport America continues to grow."
Officially opening on May 24, 2013 under the banner "Space Place," the new FTS Tours headquarters will serve as the point of origination for Spaceport America tours, with an ample retail area for space-related merchandise.
"We're proud to welcome FTS Tours to the Elephant Butte business community," said Eunice Kent, Mayor of Elephant Butte. "Elephant Butte and Sierra County are poised and ready to see additional growth overall, particularly in relation to entrepreneurial companies focused on the space industry."
"We chose this particular building in Elephant Butte for several reasons," stated Rose Bleth, President of FTS Tours. "The high-visibility location makes it easy for visitors to find, and the 5,800 square feet of multi-use space meets all of our needs. We are so happy to have brought our vision to Sierra County and see unlimited opportunities for New Mexico to develop a world class hospitality network."
According to FTS Tours Vice President, Mark Bleth, the first floor will accommodate office space and the space-merchandise retail store, which will sell space-related items that include "astronaut ice cream," "star ship gummies" and even works by Sierra County artists. "Visitors will also have an opportunity to learn more about Spaceport America through video presentations and streaming video," adds Bleth.
The lower level of the building will serve as an incubator for start-up high-tech companies, offering roughly 2,900 square feet of fabrication workspace with three-phase commercial power. In addition, there's plenty of open area on the property for staging.
From "Space Place" in Elephant Butte, Spaceport America visitors will enjoy an informative tour as they pass Elephant Butte Dam and media mogul Ted Turner's 350,000-acre Armendaris ranch, traveling the historic El Camino Real (Royal Road) to Spaceport America. The tour will venture inside the Spaceport America perimeter to see the horizontal launch area, Spaceway (runway), operations center, and the iconic Virgin Galactic Gateway to Space building. Tour guests will experience an up close and unique personal encounter available only during the pre-operational phase.
Spaceport America tours are conducted by FTS Tours on Fridays and Saturdays at 9 am and 1 pm, and Sundays at 9 am. Tour prices are $59 for adults 18 and over; $49 for teens ages 13-17; and $29 for children 12 and under. Reservations are required per tour, with a three-guest minimum. For reservations, call 575-740-6894 or visitwww.ftstours.com to book online.