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Spaceport Roofing Assembly

Most people believe that College Station roofing only revolves around residential roofing. While that is true for the great portion of the industry, College Station, TX also is home to several challenging commercial projects, like the Athletic Complex and Corps Dorms at the Texas A&M University campus. And while these structures are huge and can be seen from miles in any direction, they don’t connect us to the final frontier, space.

One very interesting large-scale project that was just recently completed was for space travel company, Spaceport America. The space race has finally reached industry and industry has responded in New Mexico with the New Mexico Space Authority (NMSA). NMSA is a state agency formed to develop commercial space exploration. Centered on a partnership between NMSA and Virgin, New Mexico will become the home of the Virgin Galactic space program. The structure built to cover space vehicles, equipment, personnel, etc., is massive, covering over 110,000 square feet. With a unique building design, the $35 million facility has been designed to minimally impact the environment and natural surroundings.

Schutle Roofing breaks down the Roofing Assembly of the Spaceport Hangar

The Structure Itself

The entire facility was termed the “Virgin Galactic Gateway to Space” in 2011. Covering three stories, the structure has been built into a slight slope and has an earth-toned exterior, matching that of the New Mexico landscape. The structure itself has a roof height of 60 feet and wide hanger doors over 160 feet. As the building has been designed to meet Gold LEED level certification, the building also features passive heating and cooling as well as natural lighting. These green upgrades carry on to the roofing system as well.

The Roofing System

The commercial roofing assembly of the hanger, itself, composed of twelve steel trusses (covering 180 total feet), stainless steel nose edges, and over 40 skylights in the roof. Over 90,000 square feet of EPDM membrane was attached to ISOGuard foam boards. Beneath that was 6 inches of ISO, giving a thermal insulation value of R-38. Below the deck is a series of roofing components that resist fire, as it is one of the bigger hazards in the dry New Mexico region.

Spaceport roofing assembly under construction.

Waterproofing of the entire structure was done using a Roof Mate coating. The local roofer also used a Kymax basecoat with Kymax topcoats.

Designed to Withstand Weathering

In the New Mexico region, the main concern is heat gain and roofing product lifespan because of the extreme conditions. The structure is located at 4600 feet (above sea level). At that altitude temperature differences of 30 degrees in a day are actually common. Because of a tendency of cracking, due to extreme sun exposure, cover coatings with warranties longer than 10 years were used as a preventative measure.

Schulte Roofing breaks down the Spaceport Roofing Assembly

Coatings used were chosen because they can cure at ambient temperatures. This feature allows the coatings to be used on a variety of different surfaces. The coatings also prevent biological growth as well as reflect more of the sun’s rays, reducing the energy consumption of the entire facility. Special application techniques were used to recreate a faux-like finish that matches and blends into the surrounding environment.