Mojave Becomes the Global Expert in Spaceports


By Douglas Messier
Parabolic Arc Managing Editor

The Mojave Air and Space Port has developed a profitable consulting business: advising other groups about how to build and operate their spaceports.

Officials from the California spaceport have provided advice to spaceport operators in New Mexico, Oklahoma, Sweden and the Caribbean island of Curacao, said Mojave CEO Stuart Witt.

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Mojave Air and Space Port Gets a Little Love From the State

To boldly go.... (Credit: Douglas Messier)

By Douglas Messier
Parabolic Arc Managing Editor

“California can have either all the regulation or all the business, but it can’t have both.”

That was the message delivered to a high-level state official who visited the Mojave Air and Space Port last week to see what Sacramento can do to help keep the burgeoning commercial space industry from moving to other states with fewer regulations, lower taxes and financial incentives.

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Virgin Group’s Alex Tai to Set Up Shop in Mojave

The hangar where Alex Tai's company will house its jets was the site of a robotics competition last Saturday. (Credit: Douglas Messier)

By Douglas Messier
Parabolic Arc Managing Editor

A company led by the Virgin Group’s Director of Special Projects Alex Tai is the Mojave Air and Space Port’s newest tenant.

Last week, the East Kern Airport District Board of Directors authorized Mojave Air & Space Port CEO Stu Witt to finalize a lease for Tai’s company, Super Sonic Jet, Inc., of Nevada. Tai plans to house a small fleet of Eastern Bloc fighters in Building 70, a hangar adjacent to the airport’s Administration building.

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Mr. Witt Goes to Sacramento as Mojave Begins Revitalization Effort

Mojave's runways. (Credit: Mojave Air and Space Port)

Mojave Air and Space Port CEO and General Manager Stu Witt will be visiting Sacramento next week to lobby California lawmakers to provide regulatory relief and the types of incentives that other states have been providing to space companies.

Although Mojave is thriving as a aerospace research and development center, it has done so despite California ranking last among the states in terms of business friendliness, Witt said during a meeting of the East Kern Airport District Board of Directors on Tuesday. Obstacles include high taxes and a substantial regulatory burden.

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Video: Mojave Air and Space Port on the Move

Mojave Air and Space Port General Manager Stu Witt describes the accomplishments from the past year and looks ahead. Some interesting bits of news: an initiative to open up more of the facility for rocket testing; an effort to revitalize the town of Mojave; and collaborative work with spaceports in Sweden and Curacao.

“In 2011 we began the process of designing a new rocket test facility on the east side of the airport that would require the movement of water, power, sewer and natural gas under our primary runway, which in itself will now open thousands of acres for development on the east side….

“At a very local level, one thing that several of our tenants have identified as a critical need in Mojave is revitalization of the town of Mojave. So we have partnered now on starting an initiative with the Chamber of Commerce to begin a revitalization plan, no different than what the community did in Tehachapi and just made a remarkable difference in the lifestyle in Tehachapi. It helps so many ways. It helps with recruitment of the talent and workforce required to carry out your mission. It helps with retaining those people by providing a livable lifestyle in their own community.”

Witt: Privatization “Absolutely Required” to Progress in Space

Gear down. (Photo: Mark Greenberg)

Mojave Air and Space Port General Manager Stuart O. Witt is the general manger of the Mojave Air and Space Port is co-author of a nice op-ed in the San Francisco Chronicle about NASA’s new direction:

The Obama administration, Congress, NASA and the private sector are finally voyaging toward a market-based space industry. Admittedly, the new policy’s vision is not bold enough nor its exploration schedule aggressive enough, but it does – as the Great One advised – “skate to where the puck is going, not to where it’s been.”

It dismantles a cost-plus quagmire that has left Americans traveling in space far less often, far less safely, at far greater expense and, most ironically, not so very far at all. Much must be done to maintain U.S. space leadership, but privatization is absolutely required.

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