Update on Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShipTwo

Virgin Galactic President Mike Moses was at the International Symposium for Personal and Commercial Spaceflight (ISPCS) conference in Las Cruces, NM, this week updating everyone on the company’s effort to fly people into suborbital space aboard SpaceShipTwo.  Meanwhile, the spacecraft’s mother ship flew in to make an appearance at it’s future home, Spaceport America (see video, above).

Unity has been performing very well, sometimes better than models predicted,” Moses said. “Things are right on track where they need to be.”

Next up will be powered flight testing. While Unity is being tested, two more vehicles are being built to increase the fleet once it’s proven in powered flight. That, Moses said, is an indication of Virgin Galactic’s commitment to have multiple vehicles ready when commercial manned flights begin at Spaceport America.

Crews are putting final touches on the propulsion system and “pretty soon” will be evaluating supersonic boost. Virgin founder Richard Branson, in Helsinki last week, told Business Insider “We are hopefully about three months before we are in space, maybe six months before I’m in space.”

When questioned about that statement by ISPCS session moderator Ariane Cornell, Moses took a more conservative tone.

“Richard always poses a challenge, he likes to push us pretty hard,” Moses said. “Sometimes I wish he wouldn’t talk so much. We hope to be in space by the end of this year. We’ll take our time with it. We’re going to fly when we are ready.”

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Virgin Galactic, ISPCS to Hold Diversity Workshop

Final LogoVirgin Galactic and the International Symposium for Personal and Commercial Spaceflight (ISPCS) are teaming to hold a diversity in the workplace workshop at Spaceport America on Oct. 14.

The SUMMIT: The Power of Inclusion “is a highly interactive workshop experience held at Virgin Galactic’s operating base at the Gateway to Space facility at Spaceport America in New Mexico on Friday, October 14th. We will be incorporating experience with short, informative, and surprising truths about why some teams thrive and others falter,” according to the ISPCS website. “The event will provide insights and tools for personal growth, learning and empowerment. The agenda will energize us as we identify and prioritize what each of us wants to bring into our workplace in the year ahead.”

Registration is $500 per person. Sign up here.

The workshop comes right after ISPCS, which is on Oct. 12-13.


Video: XCOR CEO John Gibson at ISPCS

Video Caption: Just as many companies in rapidly evolving industries, XCOR is seeking how to be market relevant and profitable in the next stages of its lifecycle. My role and challenges reflect the evolution of the company and the focus on translating current and future market opportunities into a successful, private enterprise. Experience in the civil aviation sector brings many insights and parallels to this market evolution and its future opportunities.

ISPCS Day One Review & a Mojave Engine Test

Credit: Robin Snelson
Credit: Robin Snelson

Greetings from Mojave.  I had hoped to be greeting you from Las Cruces from the International Symposium for Personal and Commercial Spaceflight (ISPCS — pronounced ‘Lĕh-‘nérd ‘Is-pic-us). But, my plans to leave one desert town to travel across vast stretches of desert to a larger desert town didn’t work out this year. (I don’t know why; it sounded like so much fun.)


This Week on The Space Show

This week on The Space Show with Dr. David Livingston:

1. Monday, Sept. 14, 2015: 2-3:30 PM PDT (5-6:30 PM EDT; 4-5:30 PM CDT): We welcome back DR. PAT HYNES to discuss the upcoming ISPCS Symposium in Las Cruces, NM Oct. 7-8, 2015. For more information, visit www.ispcs.com.

2. Tuesday, Sept. 15, 2015:,7-8:30 PM PDT (10-11:30 PM EST, 9-10:30 PM CDT): We welcome back ROBERT ZIMMERMAN for space industry news and updates. Visit his website, www.behindtheblack.com.

3. Friday, Sept. 18, 2015; 9:30 -11 AM PDT (12:30-2 PM EDT; 11:30-1 PM CDT): We welcome back JIM KERAVALA for updates with Shackleton Energy lunar updates.

4. Sunday, Sept. 20, 2015: 12-1:30 PM PDT (3-4:30 PM EDT, 2-3:30 PM CDT): We welcome back ANTHONY YOUNG who will be discussing his new book, “The Twenty-First Century Commercial Space Imperative.” See www.springer.com/us/book/9783319189284 for details.

ISPCS Panel Discussion on IP, Export Controls and Insurance

ispcs_logoHot Topics:
Intellectual Property, Export Controls & Insurance

Chair: Franceska Schroeder, Principal, Fish & Richardson, P.C., Washington, DC Office


  • Grant Anderson, Senior Vice President and Chief Engineer, Paragon Space Development Corporation
  • James W. Babineau, Principal, Fish & Richardson P.C., Austin Office – Intellectual Property
  • Christopher T.W. Kunstadter, Senior Vice President Aerospace Insurance, XL Group


Now on the stage: panel discussion on export control and intellectual property protection related to the commercial space industry. (ISPCS ‏@ISPCS)

Now up at #ISPCS, additional duscussion on risks and insurance. Moderator @FOSchroeder (Alan Ladwig ‏@SpaceArtAl)

Chris Kunstadter, XL Insurance on “Hot Topics” panel: lot of capital in space insurance market right now, pushing down rates. (Jeff Foust ‏@jeff_foust)


ISPCS: Alan Ladwig Talk

ispcs_logoKeynote Address
Alan Ladwig
Chief, To Orbit Productions


Back from lunch at #ISPCS with @SpaceArtAl talking about risks and rewards of commercial spaceflight industry. (Jeff Foust ‏@jeff_foust)

Alan Ladwig says he’s consulting with a new, as yet unannounced group that plans to do comm’l spaceflight participant training. (Jeff Foust ‏@jeff_foust)

#ISPCS – Alan Ladwig – is he holding back? No, Alan has been set free to tell us what he really thinks!  (Wayne Hale ‏@waynehale )


ISPCS Panel Discussion: Platforms for Innovation

ispcs_logoPlatforms for Innovation

Chair: Jeff Foust, Editor, The Space Review


  • Steve Isakowitz, President,Virgin Galactic
  • Brett Alexander, Director, Business Development and Strategy at Blue Origin
  • Khaki Rodway, Director, Payload Sales and Operations, XCOR Aerospace


  • LA [Michael Lopez-Alegria] says @jeff_foust is a certified “Smart Guy” – and he’s ready to roll at #ISPCS (Kay Anderson ‏@SpaceRiter)
  • Reply to @SpaceRiter @jeff_foust — So the vehicles they are flying will be licensed but not certified, but there’s a certification for Smart Guys. Huh! (Parabolicarc.com)
  • Watching @jeff_foust on the podium at #ISPCS talk about the various types of innovation quoting from Jon Gertner’s book (Wayne Hale ‏@waynehale)


ISPCS Panel Discussion: The Marketplace

ispcs_logoPanel Discussion: The Marketplace


Raymond Vogel,  Business Development Principal Jacobs Technology, Inc.


  • Monique Jacobson, Secretary of Tourism, State of New Mexico
  • Andrew Nelson, Chief Operating Officer, XCOR Aerospace
  • Sean Mahoney, Chief Executive Officer, Masten Space Systems
  • Bob Allen, Executive Director, Innovation, Design, Entertainment, Art, and Storytelling (IDEAS)



ISPCS Kicks Off in Las Cruces

ISPCS Chair Pat Hynes (Credit: ISPCS)
ISPCS Chair Pat Hynes (Credit: ISPCS)

LAS CRUCES, N.M. (ISPCS PR) – International Symposium for Personal and Commercial Spaceflight (ISPCS) 2013 chair, Patricia Hynes, Ph.D., kicked off the symposium today noting that, despite the government shutdown, the work on commercial space continues.

“This is one of the goals of our industry, to develop commercial capability that is not subject to only government support for its existence,” Hynes said during her opening remarks. “Better yet, the win-win is a robust industry with healthy partners, including but not limited to the government. A strong reflection of the progress we’ve made as an industry is that our attendance numbers this year have not been significantly affected by the shutdown. We have work to do and it is work that matters.”


Luxury Hotel, Services Needed to Support Spaceport America

ispcs_logoThe International Symposium for Personal and Commercial Spaceflight (ISPCS) is now underway in Las Cruces, NM.

The annual conference kicked off yesterday with a keynote address by one of Virgin Galactic’s future spaceflight participants about a pressing need: luxury accommodations and services for wealthy fliers like himself.

Michael Blum, founder and president of investment research and media firm Hedgeye Risk Management and former senior manager at PayPal, kicked off the annual symposium at the New Mexico Farm & Ranch Heritage Museum on Tuesday.

Southern New Mexico needs six-star hotels, restaurants and other upscale amenities to serve the wealthy ticket-holders who will take suborbital spaceflights from Spaceport America, Blum said. A southern road from Hatch to the complex, just north of Doña Ana County, is also needed to more easily access the spaceport, he said….


ISPCS Early Bird Registration Expires Tonight

ispcs_logoEarly Bird registration ends TODAY, September 13, 2013, Midnight, MDT.

Momentum is building. Now is the time to address strategies for managing the risks and reaping the rewards of our rapidly evolving commercial space industry. Join us.

Register Here

ISPCS to Examine Risks, Rewards of Private Spaceflight

ispcs_logoLAS CRUCES, N.M. (ISPCS PR) – Officials with the 2013 International Symposium for Personal and Commercial Spaceflight (ISPCS), today announced that the second day of the symposium continues with examining risks and rewards for existing platforms for innovation in the space industry like the International Space Station (ISS), the emerging new platforms for innovation like Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShipTwo and SpaceX’s Grasshopper.


This Week on The Space Show

This week on The Space Show with Dr. David Livingston…

1. Monday, August 27, 2012, 2-3:30 PM PDT (5-6:30 PM EDT, 4-5:30 PM CDT): We welcome back DR. PAT HYNES to discuss the upcoming International Symposium For Personal and Commercial Spaceflight, Oct. 17-18, 2012 in Las Cruces, NM. Please visit www.ispcs.com for more detailed information & registration.

2. Tuesday, August 28, 2012, 7-8:30 PM PDT (10-11:30 PM EDT, 9-10:30 PM CDT): We welcome JPL’s DR. ANITA SENGUPTA to the program to discuss electric propulsion, Entry Descent and Landing, Mars, Venus, Europa, landers, and general spacecraft design. Dr. Sengupta is a systems engineer & also doing some teaching at USC.

3. Friday, August 31, 2012, 9:30-11 AM PDT (11:30- 1 PM CDT, 12:30PM-2:00 PM EDT) : We welcome BAS LANSDORP of Mars One to the program. Mr. Lansdorp will be joining us from Europe. This program will be co-hosted with Dr. John Jurist on some of the technical, medical and human factors issues for long duration spaceflight and a humans to Mars mission. You can learn more about Mars One by visiting their website, http://mars-one.com/en.

4. Sunday, Sept. 2, 2012, 12-1:30 PM PDT (3-4:30 PM EDT, 2-3:30 PM CDT). We welcome DR. SCOTT HUBBARD to discuss his new book, “Exploring Mars.” Dr. Hubbard is a former NASA Ames Director, has been referred to by the press as the MARS CZAR, and is now a professor at Stanford University.

ISPCS Conference: Past is Prologue Discussion

The Lynx Supersonic Wind Tunnel Model Positioned In the MSFC wind tunnel


“Past is Prologue: The Future of the Space Industry from the Perspective of the Those Who Helped Get it Started”

Jeff Greason —
Bill Campbell — Aerojet Chief Engineer (retired)
Guruswami Ravichandran –Director, Graduate Aeronautics Lab at California Institute of Technology
Rick Sturdevant — Deputy Director of History, USAF Space Command
Frederick Bachtel — Director of Strategic Planning & Initiatives, Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne

Bill Campbell: Aerojet

— company history by the von Kamen in 1942
— how to expand a new industry —
— started on Titan, barely had any employees….634 employees…he was only 28…
— very little experience, no major facilities, no tooling, little materials….
— there was a strong national commitment….had an unlimited budget….didn’t know a budget restraint if we saw one…
— very little oversight, decisions were delegated and made quickly…products were shipped with flaws…
— try it, fix it, try it again, fix it again…
— were able to fly without fear of failure….
— first Titan flew in 49 months…
— rapid production and testing is different from how the government works today…

General Discussion

Need to balance risk and safety….