- Mojave Air and Space Port CEO/General Manager Stu Witt has been told that the company is planning to maintain a presence at the California test center. Precisely what that presence would involve is unclear at the moment. [Read my Q&A with Witt]
- The move won’t be immediate because XCOR is in the process of building the first Lynx space plane at its hangar in Mojave. Flight testing is set to begin at the end of this year or in early 2013.
- XCOR CEO Jeff Greason and other company officials will be in Midland for a teleconference on Monday at 3 p.m. EDT/12 p.m. PDT. Officials from local government and the Midland Development Corporation will participate.
- I saw Greason earlier today here in Mojave. He is not commenting publicly at this time.
UPDATE No. 1: XCOR has released a short statement to the Antelope Valley Press:
“XCOR’s business model is to have operational bases at spaceports through the U.S. and, if allowed by the U.S. government, around the world. In the near future, we look forward to retaining a West Coast operational presence and establishing an East Coast presence.”
XCOR has been in talks with officials in Florida about building Lynx suborbital vehicles on and flying them from the Space Coast. Discussions were held last year; it’s not clear where those talks are at the moment. Greason has been very clear that he wants to place the research and development and production arms of company to avoid R&D engineers from trying to solve production problems. The overall goal is to tightly control changes to production models and to ensure that the two parts of the company have distinct cultures.
Florida is seen as an attractive location because of its skilled workforce and the state’s willingness to financially assist companies looking to locate there. The state also has licensed spaceports at the Kennedy Space Center and at Cecil Field in Jacksonville.
UPDATE No. 2: The text in the first update has been changed and a link has been added to an earlier PA post to clarify that XCOR was in discussions with officials in Florida in 2011. Those efforts included an appearance by XCOR Chief Operating Officer Andrew Nelson before the Space Florida Board of Directors on Feb. 18, 2011, as mentioned in the original blog post. As mentioned, it’s not clear what the current status of discussions, if there are any, is at the moment.