Mojave. Best Private/Public Spaceport?

XCOR Was Here...

0 Employees

XCOR recently closed operations. The failed rocket plane company was originally headquartered at Mojave before moving its Lynx operations to Midland, Texas Spaceport. At the time of the final layoffs, XCOR had about 10 employees at Mojave.

 

The Lynx was never completed.

Scaled Composites

200 Employees

This company is the source of the original design for Virgin Galactic's White Knight Two launch platform and SpaceShip Two. Now wholly owned by Northrop Grumman, Scaled focuses on designing and developing concept craft and prototype fabrication processes for aircraft and other vehicles. It is known for unconventional designs and for its use of non-metal,composite materials.

 

Scaled Composites was the operator of the Virgin Galactic Spaceship Two vehicle that suffered an inflight breakup and total destruction during a test flight in October 2014, killing a test pilot, and setting the program back while the rocket plane was redesigned. Three other employees were killed in an explosion during testing in 2007.

 

The Spaceship Company

250 Employees

The Spaceship Company is a manufacturing operation of Virgin Galactic and now builds the spaceplanes that will eventually provide space tourist flights for Virgin Galactic. Flying from a conventional, long runway, White Knight Two carries SpaceShip Two to 50,000 feet where it is released to continue powered flight to the edge of space before returning to the original launch runway. TSC was originally a joint venture with Scaled Composites and now occupies a hanger next door at Mojave.

 

Virgin Galactic has subsequently started its own manufacturing facility at a former Lockheed factory in Long Beach California to build Launcher One, a spaceplane that will carry satellites to orbit.

 

It is important for Camden County to recall that Spaceport America in New Mexico was built as the operations base for Virgin Galactic. The Economic Plan for Spaceport America predicted that manufacturing factories would also be built near the spaceport. Local residents taxed themselves, even to this day, for the Spaceport but the factories were built in other states. Virgin Galactic has still not launched its first space tourist flight.

Masten Aerospace

25 employees

Masten is focused on winning the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency XS-1 competition. The XS-1 is an experimental unmanned space plane that can fly ten times in ten days, reaching a speed of Mach 10–plus and lifting payloads greater than three thousand pounds to orbit, at a cost of no more than $5 million per flight. Masten’s direct competition is Boeing/Blue Origin and Northrop Grumman but surprisingly, Masten is closer to this goal than its competitors.

 

In August it opened an office at Cape Canaveral, the Florida space center that is reinventing itself as a crucial hub for commercial launch companies. There Masten resides in the same strip-mall business park as SpaceX, not far from one of the key gates into Kennedy Space Center.

 

Still, Masten Space Systems is undermanned and underfunded, a ragtag bunch out in the desert, drilling and hammering and soldering in their small badlands garage down the block from the rich folk.

StratoLaunch Systems

40 Employees - Mojave and Seattle

Stratolaunch is constructing a massive airplane-like launcher with the greatest wingspan of any aircraft ever flown. It is designed as a rocket launch platform that will take off and land from very long runways. Years behind schedule, it is uncertain that this project will take flight. 

 

The Stratolaunch will fly from Mojave but can be relocated. The plane will fly to an over-ocean location before releasing from one to three Orbital ATK Pegasus solid fuel rockets with their payloads from high altitude allowing the smaller rocket reach greater altitudes than otherwise possible.

 

Currently, Pegasus rocket launches are conducted from L-1011 carrier aircraft. The plane takes off from a runway with support and check out facilities. Such locations have included Kennedy Space Center / Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida; Vandenberg Air Force Base and Dryden Flight Research Center, California; Wallops Flight Facility, Virginia; Kwajalein Range in the Pacific Ocean, and the Canary Islands in the Atlantic.

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