Coatings Project Profile

Virgin Galactic Gateway to

Las Cruces, NM

Completion Date: October 2011

“We were very pleased with how the spray technique worked. We achieved the desired mottle and four-colored appearance by using different nozzles so we didn’t get 100 percent coverage, and it allowed us to do final touch ups to take out some of the high and low spots so there wasn’t as much contrast.”

Steve Elsley, project manager, Progressive Roofing 

Job Details

Las Cruces, NM
Job Size
90,000 square feet
Foster + Partners, URS Corp., and New Mexico’s SMPC Architects
Roofing Contractor

Progressive Roofing

6320 2nd St. NW Albuquerque, NM 87107

(505) 341-3800

Building Overview 

  • In the rolling hills of the desert of New Mexico lies the world’s first commercial spaceport to take travelers to space. A collaboration with the New Mexico Space Authority, “Spaceport America” is the home of Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic spaceflight program.

The Challenge

  • The design is based upon Foster + Partners, URS Corp., and New Mexico’s SMPC Architects’ vision of creating minimal impact on the landscape. The building glides like a manta ray, blending in color and shape to the desert. Like space flight itself, the design is futuristic and mysterious, all while being environmentally conscious and keeping sustainability in mind. 


  • To add longevity to the EPDM and achieve the desired “desert blend” finish, the design team called upon United Coatings’ unique and unparalleled line of products. Immediately following the installation of the EPDM membrane, the roof surface was cleaned with United Coatings’ UCC (United Cleaning Concentrate), a biodegradable cleaner, and ADHERE-IT II rinse primer for EPDM. Once the roof was clean and primed, United Coatings™ Roof Mate Base Coating was sprayed at 100% coverage and back rolled for quick adhesion of the subsequent United Coatings™ Kymax™ Coatings. Three layers of United Coatings™ Kymax™ Coating were applied to achieve a mottled finish and mimic the color of the surrounding landscape.
  • Foster + Partners provided computer-generated drawings of the entire roof showing the desired percentages of colors to be sprayed. The first coat of tan-colored United Coatings™ Kymax™ Coating was applied at 75 percent, the second, reddish brown coat at 65 percent, and the third, a mocha color, was sprayed at 35 percent. 

Key Facts

  • United Coatings™ Kymax™ Coating was chosen not only for its ability to be tinted to any color imaginable, but also for its extreme weatherability. It is a fluoropolymer, thin-build elastomeric coating that provides long-term color stability, resistance to dirt buildup, and protection against severe weather conditions. It cures at ambient temperatures, meaning it can be field-applied to a variety of substrates and be used as a finish coat over acrylic base coats.
  • Another benefit of the coating is the potential energy savings created by United Coatings™ Kymax™ Coating’s ability to resist biological growth and other external factors that reduce the reflectivity of more traditional roofing materials. 

Materials Used

GAF Cleaning Concentrate


GAF Acrylic Base Coat

GAF Kymax Coating

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