NewSpace 2013: A Day of Secrets, Mysterious Foreign Beers and the Bieb

Well, the first day of NewSpace 2013 is mostly over. I will shortly be heading upstairs for the traditional first night party, which will take place in a suite that is too small, too hot, too crowded, and too loud to really have anything resembling a coherent conversation.

But, there will be free beer. And what are conferences without free beer?

What, indeed?

But, I digress. As usual.

Before heading off to party, I did want to leave you fine readers with a few things I have learned during Day 1 her in San Jose:

  • After nearly nine years of development, the full duration burn time on RocketMotorTwo, which powers SpaceShipTwo, is a proprietary secret that can only be divulged by Virgin Galactic. So says Mark Sirangelo, whose company, Sierra Nevada Space Systems, built RocketMotorTwo. Why that is proprietary is a mystery. But, I’ve got a pretty good idea. (Of which, more later….I mean, at a later date. When I know more.)
  • I should not leave Mojave because as soon as I do, something actually happens. Early today, after nearly 13 weeks of non-flight test program related activities, SpaceShipTwo made a successful glide flight. Officials reported that the flight accomplished all its goals, whatever they were. Why this was a glide and not another powered flight remains a mystery at this hour. As much of a mystery as RocketMotorTwo’s full duration burn time.
  • Sam Adams beer is apparently a foreign brew. At least it was during the even reception. Apparently, this allowed the hotel to charge a full $7.25 instead of the advertised rate of $6.25 for a domestic beer. Why this qualifies as foreign is…you guessed it…a mystery. Either Boston has succeeded from the nation it did so much to found, historians have discovered that Sam Adams was secretly a Tory, or the hotel here is just really greedy. Perhaps all three.
  • Justin Bieber’s life isn’t worth a whole lot. At least according to Howard McCurdy, that is. That was his response when I suggested that some adventurer nobody’s ever heard of dying on Mount Everest is a much less significant event publicity wise than if the Bieb blew up over New Mexico.  And that his fellow celebrities might react by cancelling their reservations. McCurdy responded that I had surprised him with the question (apparently he hadn’t thought of the impact of such an event), and that he didn’t place much value on Bieber’s life anyway.  Hear that, rich celebrities with more money than you can spend? If you get blowed up, and blowed up real good, there will be a portion of the space community that won’t much care. Good luck with that.

Well, that’s about it from here. I’m off to the party. ‘Til tomorrow, hasta la vista, ad astra and down the hatch.





  • Dennis Stolwijk

    I bet a lot of folks would be happy to use Kickstarter or something to buy SS2 tickets for Bieber, over and over untill he does blow up 😛

  • Hug Doug

    i’m sure that Virgin Galactic would be happy about that, too 🙂

  • Nickolai

    *seceded, not succeeded. Of course, they may have succeeded in seceding. Who knows?

  • Tim Jefferies

    I’d blame the beer for that one…

  • Douglas Messier


    “To alcohol! The cause of… and solution to… all of life’s problems.”

    — Homer Simpson