MOJAVE MAY HOST SPACEPORT FAA CLOSE TO APPROVING NEW DESIGNATION FOR AIRPORT.
Byline: Jim Skeen Staff Writer
MOJAVE - Mojave Airport is close to being recognized by the federal government as a spaceport space·port
An installation for sheltering, testing, maintaining, and launching spacecraft. .
With both Burt Rutan's Scaled Composites and rocket maker XCOR XCOR Cross-Correlation trying to develop spacecraft, Mojave Airport is seeking a Federal Aviation Administration Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), component of the U.S. Department of Transportation that sets standards for the air-worthiness of all civilian aircraft, inspects and licenses them, and regulates civilian and military air traffic through its air traffic control license that will let them fly into space from Mojave's runways.
``I believe we are poised and ready for either one of the tenants who arrive at the starting point first,'' said Stuart Witt, the airport's manager.
The license, good for five years, will allow any company with an FAA space launch license and an agreement with Edwards Air Force Base Edwards Air Force Base, U.S. military installation, 301,000 acres (121,805 hectares), S Calif., NE of Lancaster; est. 1933. It is one of the largest air force bases in the United States and has the world's longest runway. to use the airport for its space flights. FAA officials indicated that Mojave would be getting its license toward the end of January, Witt said.
Commercially licensed spaceports already exist at Vandenberg Air Force Base Vandenberg Air Force Base, U.S. military installation, 3,456 acres (1,399 hectares), SW Calif., near Lompoc; chief Pacific coast launch site for military satellites. on the California coast, in Florida adjoining Kennedy Space Center Kennedy Space Center (Cape Canaveral) U.S.
launch site for manned space missions. [U.S. Hist.: WB, So:562]
See : Astronautics , in Virginia and in Alaska. Mojave is one of 13 other sites that are working on gaining licenses, according to the FAA.
The license would cover two launch concepts: one for a rocket-powered aircraft - XCOR's design - and the other for a spacecraft launched in the air from a mother ship, like Rutan's SpaceShipOne, which made its first supersonic flight this month.
Both companies are working on spacecraft intended to fly more than 62 miles above Earth - 12 miles above the point where space is considered to begin.
Scaled Composites is one of two dozen contenders for the X Prize - a $20 million bounty offered by a St. Louis-based foundation to the first privately developed spacecraft that carries three people to 62.5 miles up, then does so again within two weeks.
Another Mojave-based firm, Interorbital Systems, is also an entry for the X Prize competition, but it has said it hopes to launch a rocket called Solaris X from a ship in the Pacific Ocean or from the island nation of Tonga.
Scaled Composites' 25-foot-long SpaceShipOne is carried aloft by a twin-engine jet called the White Knight White Knight
falls off his horse every time it stops. [Br. Lit.: Lewis Carroll Through the Looking-Glass]
See : Awkwardness
invents clever objects that never work. [Br. Lit. , then let go to ignite its rocket engine.
To reach space, SpaceShipOne is to fly nearly straight up at a speed of about 2,400 mph, more than three times the speed of sound.
During re-entry RE-ENTRY, estates. The resuming or retaking possession of land which the party lately had.
2. Ground rent deeds and leases frequently contain a clause authorizing the landlord to reenter on the non-payment of rent, or the breach of some covenant, when the , the spaceship's twin booms will pivot up to act as a speed brake. The twin booms then pivot back down during the final glide flight to a landing.
The project is being backed financially by Paul Allen, co-founder of Microsoft Corp. and owner of the Seattle Seahawks football team and the Portland Trail Blazers The Portland Trail Blazers are a professional basketball team based in Portland, Oregon. They play in the National Basketball Association (NBA). The franchise, based in Portland throughout its existence, entered the league in 1970 and has won the NBA Championship once, in 1977. basketball team. Allen has not disclosed the amount he is investing in the project, but a spokesman for the billionaire described it as a significant, multimillion-dollar investment.
``SpaceShipOne is a tangible example of continuing humankind's efforts to travel into space and effectively demonstrating that private, nongovernment resources can make a big difference in this field of discovery and invention,'' Allen said in a statement disclosing his involvement in the project.
XCOR is working on a rocket-powered aircraft called Xerus. The spacecraft would take off and land like a regular aircraft but would use a liquid fuel rocket engine to propel it to speeds of more than Mach 4, roughly 3,000 mph.
XCOR envisions the vehicle being used for taking small payloads into space and for taking space tourists aloft.
The project is in the preliminary design stage. The project is not funded at this time.
As a steppingstone step·ping·stone
1. A stone that provides a place to step, as in crossing a stream.
2. An advantageous position for advancement toward a goal. , XCOR has been testing an aircraft called the EZ- Rocket, a modified Long-EZ home-built aircraft, to demonstrate the company can design and routinely operate a rocket-powered vehicle.
Jim Skeen, (661) 267-5743