Hey all, I know that I’ve been hinting about this to a lot of people for a long time, but I now have permission to blog about Masten Space Systems moving to Mojave.
The problem with being a Silicon Valley based rocket company is that while there are tons of good suppliers, many potential investors, and lots of potential customers (not to mention good educational institutions) nearby, there are very few places where you can do something as anti-social as firing big noisy rocket engines. There are some places, and we have been able to use a remote test site out near the junction of No and Where for a lot of our engine development (including about 250 hot firings to-date), but the logistics of testing out of somewhere that far from your shop is just truly daunting. I can say that had we been in a position where our test facilities were within 15 minutes of our shop, we probably could have developed our first engine in half the time or less. Plus, in spite of how helpful the owners of our current site have been, the site isn’t really set up for flight testing, so we needed to find somewhere new anyhow.
So, over the past year or so, we’ve been investigating other places we could test. One of the places that almost beat out Mojave, and which deserves a good deal of praise for all the help and hard work they put into getting things set up for us to do flight testing there is NASA Ames and the airfield guys at Moffett Field. Having met several of the people who are in charge of operations there at the airfield, and there at NASA, I can say that it would’ve been a very good experience working with them. Unfortunately, we finally decided against doing flight testing at Ames because we wanted to avoid any appearance of impropriety that could arise from testing at a NASA facility in preparation for competing in a NASA sponsored prize. As much as we would have liked to do flight testing there, we didn’t want to give any potential critic ammo with which to smear the Centennial Challenges office or the guys at ARC.
So, shortly after Space Access, we refinalized the decision to move down to the Mojave Spaceport, and it looks like things are set for us moving into our shop there at the spaceport sometime around the 20th. Tiff and I went down to Tehachapi with little Jonny last weekend and found an apartment to move into a week from today, and the others should be moving down around the same time, and as soon as I get over this stupid flu and am able to think straight, I’ll get back to packing.
It should be a long hot summer with occasional hot flamey stuff. Just the kind of forecast to look forward to.