MOJAVE, Calif. – This dusty aerospace outpost on the northern edge of Edwards Air Force Base, the home of the mythical “right stuff,” aspires to be the next big thing in commercial space transportation.
The Mojave Air and Space Port, a converted U.S. Marine Corps air station, is quickly becoming a hot bed for aerospace and energy R&D. It also holds the distinction of being the first U.S. facility to be licensed by the Federal Aviation Administration for horizontal launches of reusable spacecraft. Among the aerospace firsts here was the 2004 flight of SpaceShipOne, the suborbital air-launched space plane.
Over 40 enterprises operate out of the space port, including commercial space transportation, flight research and renewable energy companies focusing on solar and wind technologies. The mountains ringing the area are filled with wind turbines. The space port is also the home of the nation’s only civilian test pilot school.
The slide show that follows includes a tour of the space port and nearby Edwards Air Force Base located northeast of Los Angeles in the great California desert.
The entrance to the Mojave Space Port showing what is so far its biggest contributions to commercial space transportation, SpaceShipOne. Development by the company Scaled Composites was funded mostly by Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen.