Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Antelope Valley High Desert Oasis Launches Space Tourism at Mojave Air and Space Port

Antelope Valley is adding more high tech to its Solar and Wind technology, and Stealth Bomber Testing. Virgin Galactic unveils Enterprise-SpaceShipTwo as its first of five potential suborbital planes. SpaceShipTwo measures 60 feet long and it is intended to carry two pilots and six passengers, who will pay for a 2 1/2 hour flight into suborbital space, to experience weightlessness and see the curvature of the Earth.

The unveiling is a first look at space tourism and was attended by some of the 300 or so potential passengers who have already put down a deposit of $20,000 toward the $200,000 outlay. It took place in California's Mojave Desert at the Mojave Air and Space Port in the center of Mojave, Ca. between Hwy 14 and Hwy 58 and just north of Edward Airforce Base. It is a test site for new aircraft technology, and near an array of mothballed aircraft seen on the horizon. The audience included Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, Princess Beatrice, and Sir Richard Branson "This will be the start of commercial space travel."You become the astronaut." Branson said.

SpaceShipTwo uses all the same basic technology, carbon composite construction and design as the first version SpaceShipOne, but it is around twice as large as that vehicle. Each passenger gets the same seating position with two large windows, one side window and one overhead, so that, if you don't want to float free in space, and you'd rather just remain in your seat, you still get a great chance to see the view.

According to Virgin Galactics website the mothership WhiteKnightTwo-Eve and SpaceShipTwo were designed by Burt Rutan, since SpaceShipTwo is larger then the mothership which was also enlarged with two fuselages with a long undercarriage. Both of WhiteKnightTwo's fuselages have a dihedral wing and the spaceship will be placed centrally between them, where the wing tips are joined at the highest point of the elongated 'W-shape' wing. With its fuselages some 50ft apart, WhiteKnightTwo's payload area is large and readily accessible from the ground.

News sources indicate that flight testing is expected to begin early next year. First flights will be captive carry flights with SpaceShipTwo staying attached to WhiteKnightTwo. After that the flight test team will begin glide flights in SpaceShipTwo and eventually powered flights with the rocket motor. Once flight testing is complete and the government regulations have been met, Virgin Galactic plans to regularly fly passengers into space from the company’s New Mexico space port. The $450 million project will eventually see six commercial vessels shuttling into space. The Enterprise-SpaceShipTwo will be carried to an altitude of 11 miles by a twin-hulled Mothership called WhiteKnightTwo-Eve, named after Sir Richard's mother. It will then release and fire its own hybrid rocket to propel it into space, accelerating to 2,500mph and soaring to 65 miles above the Earth. After hitting the top of its trajectory, the 22-yard-long ship will fall back to Earth, gliding the last part of the way before landing much like a plane.
Sir Richard indicated that by 2020 he hoped there would be as many as five competing spaceship companies and the price of a ticket could be driven down enough for hundreds of thousands of passengers to go into space. Experts say that by traveling into near-Earth orbit, the length of inter-continental flights could be cut dramatically, so a flight from London to Sydney could last just two hours. It is exciting high technology news for this high desert oasis.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Edison Proposes Solar Power Plant outside of Lake Los Angeles

The Antelope Valley Press has reported that Southern California Edison under its power generation division Edison Mission Energy is planning a150 megawatt photovoltaic plant in Antelope Valley, Ca. Edison Mission Energy has solar power operations in Mojave Ca. in Kern County presently. They are looking to expand south into the eastern edge of Los Angeles County at the San Bernardino County line. The proposed site is currently on presently or previously farmed agricultural land near 240th street East at Ave S.

Edison Mission Energy looks like they have targeted previously disturbed land, which should enable them to leap major environmental issues. The request for development has already begun earlier this summer, and they hope for final approval by late 2010. This project also uses photovoltaic technology which doesn’t require water, and the solar panels will only rise a few feet above the ground. It is a strategy that other solar power companies have used that can fast track the process, and limits the environmental impact.

The Wind Farms of Tehachapi and Solar Plants of Mojave, and Lancaster have become a green zone in the new energy economy. These areas were primarily vacant pre-developed land and have increased in value with the housing boom earlier this decade and now a green energy renaissance has begun. Just a decade ago you could buy raw land in these areas for as low as $500 to $1000 an acre, and now even in this current down real estate market the prices have increased a minimum of one hundred percent. Most of this land has been undesirable land for building or development with the rolling hills of Tehachapi and arid desert land in Lancaster far from current development, but now these Alternative Energy Companies and Edison have taken root. These companies are taking advantage of low priced land and looking toward the future. With the potential population growth and the alternative energy development the Antelope Valley’s future is taking shape. We have invested in pre-developed land in these areas and we have taken advantage of the news and development of the area these past five years. We also encourage our investors to take a closer view at similar prudent opportunities.