Sarasota test pilot ready to ride into space
Miguel Iturmendi has been waiting for his “wow” moment ever since he was a teenager. So at age 38, another year or two in limbo won’t matter.
But when it does happen — when a vehicle called SpaceShip-Two fires its rocket engine and punches him through the doorway of the high frontier — the Sarasota test pilot/engineer suspects the stakes will be far more profound than a three-hour joy ride.
“I believe we’re at ground zero for something else, like the Internet was in the 1980s,” he says. “It will open up amazing possibilities. Prices will eventually come down to within a fraction of what they are now. Instead of taking a five-star cruise to Alaska, people will decide to go into space.”
Born near Madrid, Spain, enamored of “Star Wars” and NASA’s manned missions as a child, Iturmendi learned to fly scores of planes and holds flight ratings in eight. Today, his FGI Associates company works contracts with the Naval Research Laboratory, which requires his presence at its facilities in the Mojave once a month.
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