A Spaceport or cosmodrome (Russian: космодром, kosmodrom) is a site for launching (or receiving) spacecraft, by analogy with seaport for ships or airport for aircraft. The word Spaceport, and even more so cosmodrome, has traditionally been used for sites capable of launching spacecraft into orbit around Earth or on interplanetary trajectories. However, the UK Spaceport will be a launch sites for purely sub-orbital flights, as in recent years new and proposed sites for suborbital human flights have been frequently referred to or named 'spaceports'. Space stations and proposed future bases on the moon are sometimes called spaceports, in particular if intended as a base for further journeys.
The term rocket launch site is used for any facility from which rockets are launched. It may contain one or more launch pads or suitable sites to mount a transportable launch pad. It is typically surrounded by a large safety area, often called a rocket range or missile range. The range includes the area over which launched rockets are expected to fly, and within which some components of the rockets may land. Tracking stations are sometimes located in the range to assess the progress of the launches.
Major spaceports often include more than one launch complex, which can be rocket launch sites adapted for different types of launch vehicles. (These sites can be well-separated for safety reasons.) For launch vehicles with liquid propellant, suitable storage facilities and, in some cases, production facilities are necessary. On-site processing facilities for solid propellants are also common.
A Spaceport may also include runways for takeoff and landing of aircraft to support spaceport operations, or to enable support of HTHL or HTVL winged launch vehicles.
The UK Spaceport will support Space tourism: space travel for recreational, leisure or business purposes. A number of startup companies have sprung up in recent years, such as Virgin Galactic and XCOR Aerospace, hoping to create a sub-orbital space tourism industry. Orbital space tourism opportunities have been limited and expensive, with only the Russian Space Agency providing transport to date.
The publicized price for flights brokered by Space Adventures to the International Space Station aboard a Russian Soyuz spacecraft have been US $20–40 million, during the period 2001–2009 when 7 space tourists made 8 space flights. Some space tourists have signed contracts with third parties to conduct certain research activities while in orbit.
Russia halted orbital space tourism in 2010 due to the increase in the International Space Station crew size, using the seats for expedition crews that would be sold to paying spaceflight participants. Orbital tourist flights are planned to resume in 2015
As an alternative term to "tourism", some organizations such as the Commercial Spaceflight Federation use the term "personal spaceflight". The Citizens in Space project uses the term "citizen space exploration".
As of September 2012, multiple companies are offering sales of orbital and suborbital flights, with varying durations and creature comforts.