new space locations

Posted on May 29, 2013 by peter bell

Elon Musk and President Obama

The phrases “NewSpace” or “new space” are catch-all descriptors that refer to a set of ideas and a collection of companies that are revolutionizing the way humans view space travel by privatizing space exploration for entrepreneurial advancement.

The proponents of NewSpace are as varied in their ability, intention, and methods as any other nascent industry, but their companies seem to have common guiding principles: lowering the cost of space travel, driving towards specific innovation for financial gain, and focusing on increasing human presence in space.  Some major figures, like SpaceX’s Elon Musk and Planetary Resources’ Eric Anderson, are unabashedly direct when they describe their intentions to colonize Mars.

In our stockholder-appeasing corporate culture, it’s easy to forget that at one time business was the main incentive for exploration and technological advancement.  From Christopher Columbus’ spice hunts to the railroad’s insatiable appetite for timber and mining, much of human history’s quest for the great beyond was usually done to make a buck.

While the thought of bringing this track record of environmental destruction and genocide to outer space may cause a little bit of apprehension, it’s outweighed by the realization that the entirety of human civilization exists on one asteroid-prone, environmentally-precarious, WMD-laden blue marble.  It’s good to know there are actually people out there doing remarkable- nay, other-worldly– work.  Here’s a list of locations where space dreamers roam.

Thanks to elvis_crabs and corporate_sunshine for their help with this blog post.




  • Stratolaunch Systems– Microsoft billionaire Paul Allen and Scaled Composites founder Burt Rutan formed this company to create a launch vehicle for air launch-to-orbit vehicles.


  • Space X– The South African version of Iron Man, inventor Elon Musk, started Space Exploration Technologies to create a private rocket-ship company.  And it worked.
  • Jet Propulsion Laboratory– They make the most wonderful toys- JPL has been NASA’s gearhead shop since the 1960s.

New Mexico

  • Mojave Air and Spaceport-  The first facility to be licensed in the US for horizontal launches of reusable spacecraft, being certified as a spaceport by the FAA.  New Space companies with presences here include Scaled Composites, Masten Space Systems, XCOR Aerospace, Firestar Technologies, and Orbital Sciences Corporation.
  • Spaceport America– “The world’s first purpose-built commercial spaceport.”  First purposed in 1990, the X Prize was held here in 2003.  Current tenants include Virgin Galactic, Rocket Racing League and Microgravity Enterprises, Inc.


  • Space Adventures– A space tourist agency that booked the world’s first space tourist, and hopes to provide the world’s first private lunar mission.


  • Planetary Resources– An asteroid mining company headed by Eric Anderson (Space Adventures) and Dr. Peter Diamandis (X PRIZE).


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