It’s incredible to think that within 50 years of the first moon landing, space flight might be accessible to the (deep-pocketed) masses. It’s even more incredible to think that if that happens, it will largely be thanks to some big-dreaming entrepreneurs and rocket scientists in the town of Mojave, 90 miles northeast of Los Angeles.
Jennifer Alsever reports in the March 2017 issue of Fortune Magazine on the burgeoning “NewSpace” industry, which includes 17 companies at the Mojave Air and Space Port. Mojave’s location—remote, yet still easily accessible from Los Angeles—and military history make it ideal for companies that are doing everything from building tiny “nanosatellites” to rockets for human spaceflight.
Why are NewSpace startups taking off? It’s partly because of advances that make it cheaper and easier to build satellites and rockets. It’s also thanks to massive investments from billionaires like Jeff Bezos, Richard Branson, and Elon Musk, all of whom are working towards missions to the moon or Mars. Alsever notes “Mojave has become an oasis of billionaires, scientists, vendors, and service providers.”
Check out some of the current plans and projects happening at Mojave Air and Space Port:
• Virgin Galactic: building and testing propulsion systems and a suborbital spaceship
• Vulcan Aerospace: completing its Stratolaunch airplane
• XCOR and Masten Space Systems: assembling light, reusable, cost-effective launch vehicles
• Moon Express: planning its maiden (unmanned) moon voyage this year
• Interorbital Systems: launching over 100 satellites this year with its modular rocket and using that rocket to get to the moon
The Greater Antelope Valley Economic Alliance Recent News & Findings
The Greater Antelope Valley Economic Alliance recently released its 2017 Roundtable Report on economic growth and trends in the region. Here are some of the highlights.
Los Angeles County
• The Palmdale Animal Care Center won a Building Excellence Shaping Tomorrow Award from the Southern California Chapter of the American Public Works Association.
• Antelope Valley Transit Authority launched an app (myStop) to provide customers with real-time bus location information.
• The Board of Supervisors approved the Tejon Ranch development, a new city at the foot of the Grapevine, expected to create 10,000 jobs.
• A Visitor’s Center was created to cater to the outdoor enthusiasts who flock to the area.
• The city was awarded an $846,000 planning grant for developing the Fremont Valley Integrated Water Management Plan.
• Lancaster is seeing a surge in commercial and residential development, with five housing tracts in development and several new commercial and business projects.
• Industries of all kinds are expanding and hiring in Lancaster—everything from manufacturing and aerospace to medical and restaurants.
• The California High Speed Rail Project is moving forward and getting closer to connecting Palmdale to Burbank Airport.
• Northrop Grumman Corporation is expanding at the Air Force Plant 42 and adding 700 jobs.
• Virgin Galactic is continuing with plans for “space tourism” with an updated rocket and its first taxi test.
• Work to modernize K Street into a second Main Street is beginning, with new solar-powered streetlights and other improvements.
• Stratolaunch Systems at the Mojave Air and Space Port is building an aircraft to launch vehicles into low-earth orbit.
• Rosamond Community Services District is going beyond providing clean water to the community; it’s working on several other improvement projects and community services
Whether you want all the adrenaline or some peace and quiet outdoors, Kern County is the ultimate destination, as outlined in the recent Market Overview report released by Kern EDC. There’s a reason it’s known as a mecca for outdoor enthusiasts, with activities from sky-diving and rock climbing to golfing and bird watching. The Wind Wolves Preserve offers birding hikes and outdoor movie watching. Kern County takes advantage of its great weather with festivals for every taste: bluegrass to Celtic music, craft beer to wine.
…And Much More in Kern County
Kern County has a lot of things going for it and it’s poised to grow, with strong public/private partnerships, strong community colleges, and collective dream to keep the region moving forward. Its aerospace programs are leading the industry from military developments to civilian spaceflight.
It’s also a leader in both oil and renewable energy—Kern is the second-highest oil-producing county in the nation and the petroleum industry is a significant economic driver. But it’s also one of the best places for the renewable energy sector, including wind, sun, geothermal heat, hydroelectric power, and biomass. Companies like BHE Renewables and Terra-Gen are leading the way in renewable energy production.