Greetings from Las Cruces

Hi everyone.

I’m in Las Cruces, New Mexico for the International Symposium for Personal and Commercial Spaceflight. (Try to say that tongue twister 10 times. Or twice even.)

Go ahead. I dare you! C’mon. You can do it!

OK, never mind.

Despite the complexity of its name, this should be a very cool conference that will run on Wednesday and Thursday. Lots of interesting speakers and discussions. Rumors are that there will be several announcements this week. And on Friday, I’ll be covering the dedication of the runway at Spaceport America and the planned flyover of WhiteKnightTwo and SpaceShipTwo.

So, how is my adventure going so far? I’m glad you asked.

Well, let’s see….got delayed out of San Jose due to weather (rain has arrived back in Silicon Valley after a months-long absence). Arrived in a rainy LA to find my connection was delayed (again due to weather). Took off on an half empty commuter jet that include Rand Simberg and hit a bit of turbulence (weather? You betcha!). That cleared up once we approached cruising altitude and the rest of the flight was fine, although only with beverage service and no food. (Peanuts! I can’t even get peanuts anymore?) Saw large portions of the barren Southwest that made me wonder why anyone wants to go settle Mars, which is many times more barren, a whole lot colder, and lacks any sort of breathable atmosphere. (If you guys have any ideas, let me know. This is more baffling to me than Buzz’s position on lunar vs. rest of the Solar System.)

Anyhoo, landed safely in El Paso, drove through the city at rush hour (which is about the same as rush hour traffic everywhere, which is to say, completely sucky). Proceeded to New Mexico, where I promptly get lost in Las Cruces, due in part to thinking it was simply a slightly larger version of Mojave, which has like two streets of any significance. WRONG!. It’s a much larger version of Mojave, only with tiny little street name signs that are virtually unreadable in any light.

Got to the reception about 5 minutes after they took all the press passes to Don’s car (who’s Don? I DON’T KNOW! But he has my press pass). Reception food was terrific, networked with various people, free drinks. Not bad at all. Then a bunch of us ended up drinking at the bar where the singer was WAAAAAYYYY too loud so we went out to the patio and talked and drank for a while and talked space stuff. Now back at my hotel posting this note for you fine folks.

That’s a pretty long day. So I’m going to say goodnight for now. Much speechifying and discussifaction to report on tomorrow. I mean later today. Mountain Time. Although I’m still on Pacific Time. So it’s still Tuesday. For another five minutes.