When you think of Kern County’s economy, you probably think of two things – oil and ag. But there’s another big player in the county’s economy – aerospace. County economic development officials estimate that around 20,000 people are employed in the sector – and one of the fastest growing areas has been in the field of commercial spaceflight.
The Mojave Air and Space Port in eastern Kern County is home to a number of startups specializing in the field. But last year that tight knit community was rocked by tragedy when Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShipTwo crashed, killing co-pilot Mike Alsbury and seriously injuring the other co-pilot. Now three months after that accident, where does the world of commercial spaceflight go from here?
We talked to two experts:
Leonard David with Space.com – He’s covered the space industry for more than five decades, and is the former director of research for the National Commission on Space. He’s also co-author of Buzz Aldrin's 2013 book "Mission to Mars – My Vision for Space Exploration" published by National Geographic.
Stuart Witt – the CEO of the Mojave Air and Spaceport, the nation’s first inland spaceport and home to Scaled Composites, which has conducted tests of Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShipTwo.