Greetings from the Mojave!

Well, it’s been a tough week here in my new home of Mojave. I’ve been battling a miserable head cold, struggling to finish a freelance assignment, working with one laptop that’s dying and another one born in the Peleoprocessilithic era, struggling with Internet connectivity problems, desperately trying to keep the post-holiday blues at bay, and uh….well, that’s about it. Actually, that’s just about enough.

Fortunately, things improved as the days passed. By week’s end, I had finished my assignment, reached some degree of equilibrium with my various technology malfunctions, and was feeling well enough to make it outside to enjoy some of the spring-like weather we were having in the desert before it disappears.

What? you ask. Spring-like weather in the desert? Isn’t it was always sunny and warm out there?


It’s the HIGH desert. We’re up over half a mile here (and God knows how many meters…maybe thousands!). It’s the dead of winter and, let me tell you something, winter’s been open for business. We’re talking subfreezing temps at night, snow in the mountains, gale force winds that knock over trucks, dogs and cats living together (’cause it’s too cold for them to roam free), and all sorts of other stuff I don’t even want to get into. This is the first real winter I’ve had since moving to California from Back East 9 years ago, and I’m experiencing it in the middle of the desert. What are the odds?

One positive thing: the snakes are all hibernating. Unless the sudden warm weather has….

No. Happy thoughts, Doug. Happy, happy thoughts….Safe place…

In any event, I was able to make over the Voyager restaurant on Friday, where I dined on a chicken sandwich with some friends. I also wandered over to the XCOR hanger, where they are ramping up to assemble their first Lynx prototype. Since most of that is secret, this will have to suffice…

XCOR received several of these highly accurate models from their partner, Space Expedition Curacoa, that now adorn various locations around the shop floor.

Flight-ready hardware is taking up more and more space in the 1940’s era hangar. But, it’s really just a prelude to the big event, the arrival in early February of the composite fuselage. At that point, the whole project will likely begin to seem real. The vehicle will finally have a real shape to it.

By the end of this year, XCOR expects to have a full-scale Lynx assembled and flying. The first flight will be extremely brief, a short hop off the runway, but it will be more than enough. XCOR officials remain optimistic about meeting the deadline of flying this year, although they admit there is a large amount of work to do between now and then. We’ll see. Whenever it takes off, it will be a pretty awesome thing to see.

And, just to show that Mojave is not all high tech in low-tech hangars and snakes and coyotes and really scary things, I’ve added a few snapshots I took over the last few days. Enjoy!

  • Anonymous

    good luck with the new life in Mojave

    Thanks for a great website. For us spacecadets your news is the first port of call.

    Happy new year and a new start

    Feel misrable try the UK in winter. Not cold just overcast soggy and wet wet wet

  • Anonymous

    Dear Doug,

    What are you doing out there in the desert ! Coming from England I thought Santa Cruz was remote enough, but the Mohave is almost another world. So beautiful though, I went to Death Valley and saw the Joshua Trees and the salt flats and the walking rocks. There were masses of photographers on the hillsides photographing the wild flowers.

    I will let you know if anything interesting happens over this way, thanks for everything and whatever happens please just keep blogging, we all need your information.

    Best Wishes