Mojave Journal: Memorial to a Forgotten Astronaut

Credit: Douglas Messier
Credit: Douglas Messier

If there was a prize for the most isolated memorial to an America astronaut, the one for Maj. Michael J. Adams would win by a wide margin.

From Mojave, it’s a drive of nearly 50 miles through the sagebrush and Joshua trees, around dry Koehn Lake, and through the old mining towns of Randsburg and Johannesburg before you reach the unmarked dirt road leading to the site. A half mile of bad road later, you arrive at the modest but heartfelt memorial to one of America’s forgotten space heroes.

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Branson: I’m Flying to Space By Late Summer

Video Caption: British billionaire [Richard] Branson talks with his typical smile and ultimate optimism. But his body language tells a different story.

Seen at second Dubai Government Summit 2014, February 10.

Editor’s Note: Another sort of firm prediction from the Virgin Galactic founder, delivered in a not very reassuring manner. Branson has been flawless in making inaccurate predictions so far. At some point, he has to be right, but has that time finally arrived?

Maybe. And it depends.

Confused? No problem. I’ll explain. Let’s first look at where things stand here in mid-February to see if this latest schedule makes any sense.

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New Video Series on Commercial Space Activities

Video Caption: We follow certain entrepreneurs, public officials, and private citizens that are actively shaping a new kind of space race, and in the process, redefining what it means to explore the cosmos. This pilot episode of the new monthly web series Private Space, features an interview with California State Sen. Steve Knight, the lead author of California’s Space Flight Liability and Immunity Act.

Learn more about the series on our blog: www.LifeAssembledStudios.com/Blog/
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Virgin Galactic Suddenly Very Chatty About Engine Progress

Newton engine (Credi: Virgin Galactic)
Newton engine (Credi: Virgin Galactic)

The exclusive, multi-platform partnership that Virgin Galactic has forged with NBCUniversal has begun to bear fruit over the past two months. The media giant has signed on to chronicle Sir Richard Branson’s flight aboard SpaceShipTwo and all the events leading up to it.

In November, Sir Richard Branson phoned into CNBC from his Necker Island retreat in the Caribbean to announce that Virgin Galactic would begin accepting the virtual currency Bitcoin for SpaceShipTwo reservations.

A month later, NBC News got into the act, with Science Editor Alan Boyle and a film crew trekking out to Mojave for a powered flight of SpaceShipTwo. They went away disappointed when the test was scrubbed due to a rare patch of bad weather in the High Desert.

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Remembering Neil Armstrong

Neil Armstrong passed away yesterday at 82. The tributes have been pouring in since the sad news broke. My own encounter with him was brief, but I feel it’s worth sharing.

The only time I saw Neil in person was in February at the Next Generation Suborbital Researchers Conference in Palo Alto. His appearance there was a surprise. Neil was a very private person who rarely appeared in public. But, there he was, having postponed a European trip to talk about scientific research that he and other pilots had done while flying the X-15 in the 1960’s.

I remember how honored we all felt to be in his presence. Everyone knows Neil as the first man who walked on the moon. But, the X-15 research was another one of his legacies to the world, one that very few people know about. Neil talked about it with evident pride to a new generation of researchers that is taking up where he left off.

It was just a thrill to have him there. I recall that we gave Neil a standing ovation when his talk was over. It is one that the world is repeating this weekend.

Well done, Mr. Armstrong. Rest in peace. And Godspeed.

Edwards AFB Air Show Set for Oct. 17

edwardsftn09EDWARDS AFB PRESS RELEASE

“Flight Test Nation” will make its inaugural flight Oct. 17 as Edwards Air Force Base heralds its test legacy and the 50th anniversary of the X-15 during its open house and air show.

Edwards is unveiling the new air show slogan to honor its long-standing pursuit of performance excellence and the rich aviation heritage it shares with neighbors in Antelope Valley.

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