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Mojave Air & Space Port – The Modern Day Kitty Hawk

Mojave Air & Space Port – The Modern Day Kitty Hawk


To most people, Kitty Hawk, NC, was just a
wasteland But to two brothers who were bicycle mechanics
from Dayton, OH, it was perfect Absolutely perfect
The steady breeze The shortened runway
They had soft sand for landing Those same elements are alive and well in
Mojave today We have access to a piece of airspace that’s
a national treasure That’s about 200 nautical miles by 200 nautical
miles and it goes from the surface essentially to
the moon I don’t know of another place that has that
type of geography in this industry anywhere on earth
We have a decided advantage just because of our location right here in Mojave, plus we
have the right attitude in the aerospace valley that this is just what we do
In Mojave, we have this cluster of highly talented, innovative people
They’re still fifth graders in a lot of ways They don’t know what they can’t do
And so they’re not afraid to try things And they try things everyday that don’t work
in hopes that they’ll try something that does work
It’s more of a mindset, it’s more of a what’s inside that’s driving these people
Jeff Greason, he was co-patentholder of the Intel Pentium III chip. What credentials does
he have to come to Mojave, set up shop, and become a rocket scientist of a leading sub-orbital
and orbital systems developer? Well, the same argument could be made of Orville
and Wilbur. What on earth did two bicycle builders have
in terms of credentials to build the first vehicle to engage in flight, and then powered
flight? The goal of XCOR is to try to bring the cost
and frequency of space transportation to a point where we can make economic use of space.
Lynx is our name of the suborbital spacecraft that we’re developing and have been for a
number of years It’s a small ship that takes the pilot and
one person or the pilot and a payload from the runway
up into the space environment and back down to land again
Our work is inspired by the same ethos that fueled Silicon Valley in its early days and
that competitive but also collaborative atmosphere drives us all to move more swiftly
That is that “Wright Brothers Effect” carried into several different organizations on the
flight-line And when you look in the eyes of people like
George Whitesides George could have probably been successful
in any one of fifty industries just like Jeff Greason
But they chose this one The mission of Virgin Galactic is to open
space for the rest of us So our aspiration is to bring the price down
of space access and to open up the space experience to dramatically more people around the world
Right now our company is doing two different things
One is we’re trying to finish flight tests for our SpaceShipTwo vehicle which will bring
thousands and eventually hundreds of thousands of people into space
And we’re also building a new small satellite launch vehicle called LauncherOne which will
take small satellites up into orbit Mojave is the perfect place for us because
it is the center of aerospace entrepreneurial development
If you go around the world, there’s really nowhere else you can design, build, install,
and test space equipment all in the same place Literally Mojave is the only place in the
world that I think you can do all of those things at once
It’s very simple We now have seventeen companies
We have nineteen rocket test sites We have a hundred and fifty five basic contracts
with different firms This is the first time in the history of this
airport in forty years that the space industry now generates fifty percent of our total revenue
And that’s a big deal Kevin Mickey grew up in this town and now
he’s back as the President and CEO of Scaled Composites
He carries on that legacy and, if you will, was passed a baton by Burt Rutan and now look
what’s going on at Scaled. We excel at rapid prototyping and flight tests
What we pursue is major milestone breakthrough projects and that can be in aviation or now
in space Our most recent program is the program that
you see behind us called Stratolaunch And the program is to create the world’s largest
wingspan airplane that would carry a booster to roughly 30,000
feet Drop that off and then the booster would take
payloads or passengers on to space The enemy of innovation is the intolerance
for risk and some failure And the Mojave Air & Space Port with our partner
Stu Witt, the general manager of the airport He’s created an environment out here where
we can do things in a way that you couldn’t do them anywhere else in the country There’s only one way to be totally safe And that’s stop
But where does that put humanity? There’s something in the human spirit that
wants to be a part of something bigger than themselves
We can’t lose sight of that And that’s where this industry is
It would be very easy to just accept the fact that we went to the moon, in my lifetime
and in my lifetime, we abandoned the moon I’m not willing to accept that
Something is happening here You can feel it
There’s just a crackle There’s something in the air
I want to be able to look people in the eye and say
“I was there, were you?”

4 thoughts on “Mojave Air & Space Port – The Modern Day Kitty Hawk

  • I hope someone there reads this….. and Yes sir I was there, for every space shuttle launch and processing at Kennedy, I too saw us land on the moon as a kid and have seen our manned programs cut and gutted out of the budget… I wanted that feeling again of being apart of something special like we had on Shuttle.. So in 2011 We moved out here to Lancaster California to see if our talent, experiences, knowhow and learned Curve could be of value to Scaled Composites and learn new ways…

    I've been here almost 3 years, all applications have been turned away thus far… I'm feeling like some of those lf wide body airliners out there in the middle of the Airport, just waiting to be discarded.. I sure thought my life would end up differently..

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