Ms. Stansbury won a landslide victory in a special election to fill the seat vacated by Interior Secretary Deb Haaland. The result is likely to hearten national Democrats worried about the 2022 midterms.
As states scramble to persuade people to get coronavirus vaccines, New Mexico announces one of the biggest cash awards as an incentive.
Sensors that track the movement of athletes and the basketball were recently used at a high school championship tournament for the first time.
A rush to secure federal benefits during the coronavirus pandemic accelerated enrollment in the Navajo Nation, pushing its population past the Cherokee Nation’s to nearly 400,000.
Firefighters in New Mexico, Arizona and California are battling springtime blazes that have been fueled by a severe drought and boosted by climate change.
Firefighters in New Mexico, Arizona and California are battling springtime blazes that have been fueled by a severe drought and boosted by climate change.
The two founders of Crusoe Energy think they may have a solution to two of the largest problems facing the planet today — the increasing energy footprint of the tech industry and the greenhouse gas emissions associated with the natural gas industry.
Crusoe, which uses excess natural gas from energy operations to power data centers and cryptocurrency mining operations, has just raised $128 million in new financing from some of the top names in the venture capital industry to build out its operations — and the timing couldn’t be better.
Methane emissions are emerging as a new area of focus for researchers and policymakers focused on reducing greenhouse gas emissions and keeping global warming within the 1.5 degree targets set under the Paris Agreement. And those emissions are just what Crusoe Energy is capturing to power its data centers and bitcoin mining operations.
The reason why addressing methane emissions is so critical in the short term is because these greenhouse gases trap more heat than their carbon dioxide counterparts and also dissipate more quickly. So dramatic reductions in methane emissions can do more in the short term to alleviate the global warming pressures that human industry is putting on the environment.
And the biggest source of methane emissions is the oil and gas industry. In the U.S. alone roughly 1.4 billion cubic feet of natural gas is flared daily, said Chase Lochmiller, a co-founder of Crusoe Energy. About two thirds of that is flared in Texas with another 500 million cubic feet flared in North Dakota, where Crusoe has focused its operations to date.
For Lochmiller, a former quant trader at some of the top American financial services institutions, and Cully Cavmess, a third generation oil and gas scion, the ability to capture natural gas and harness it for computing operations is a natural combination of the two men’s interests in financial engineering and environmental preservation.
The two Denver natives met in prep-school and remained friends. When Lochmiller left for MIT and Cavness headed off to Middlebury they didn’t know that they’d eventually be launching a business together. But through Lochmiller’s exposure to large scale computing and the financial services industry, and Cavness assumption of the family business they came to the conclusion that there had to be a better way to address the massive waste associated with natural gas.
Conversation around Crusoe Energy began in 2018 when Lochmiller and Cavness went climbing in the Rockies to talk about Lochmiller’s trip to Mt. Everest.
When the two men started building their business, the initial focus was on finding an environmentally friendly way to deal with the energy footprint of bitcoin mining operations. It was this pitch that brought the company to the attention of investors at Polychain, the investment firm started by Olaf Carlson-Wee (and Lochmiller’s former employer), and investors like Bain Capital Ventures and new investor Valor Equity Partners.
(This was also the pitch that Lochmiller made to me to cover the company’s seed round. At the time I was skeptical of the company’s premise and was worried that the business would just be another way to prolong the use of hydrocarbons while propping up a cryptocurrency that had limited actual utility beyond a speculative hedge against governmental collapse. I was wrong on at least one of those assessments.)
“Regarding questions about sustainability, Crusoe has a clear standard of only pursuing projects that are net reducers of emissions. Generally the wells that Crusoe works with are already flaring and would continue to do so in the absence of Crusoe’s solution. The company has turned down numerous projects where they would be a buyer of low cost gas from a traditional pipeline because they explicitly do not want to be net adders of demand and emissions,” wrote a spokesman for Valor Equity in an email. “In addition, mining is increasingly moving to renewables and Crusoe’s approach to stranded energy can enable better economics for stranded or marginalized renewables, ultimately bringing more renewables into the mix. Mining can provide an interruptible base load demand that can be cut back when grid demand increases, so overall the effect to incentivize the addition of more renewable energy sources to the grid.”
Other investors have since piled on including: Lowercarbon Capital, DRW Ventures, Founders Fund, Coinbase Ventures, KCK Group, Upper90, Winklevoss Capital, Zigg Capital and Tesla co-founder JB Straubel.
The company now operate 40 modular data centers powered by otherwise wasted and flared natural gas throughout North Dakota, Montana, Wyoming and Colorado. Next year that number should expand to 100 units as Crusoe enters new markets such as Texas and New Mexico. Since launching in 2018, Crusoe has emerged as a scalable solution to reduce flaring through energy intensive computing such as bitcoin mining, graphical rendering, artificial intelligence model training and even protein folding simulations for COVID-19 therapeutic research.
Crusoe boasts 99.9% combustion efficiency for its methane, and is also bringing additional benefits in the form of new networking buildout at its data center and mining sites. Eventually, this networking capacity could lead to increased connectivity for rural communities surrounding the Crusoe sites.
Currently, 80% of the company’s operations are being used for bitcoin mining, but there’s increasing demand for use in data center operations and some universities, including Lochmiller’s alma mater of MIT are looking at the company’s offerings for their own computing needs.
“That’s very much in an incubated phase right now,” said Lochmiller. “A private alpha where we have a few test customers… we’ll make that available for public use later this year.”
Crusoe Energy Systems should have the lowest data center operating costs in the world, according to Lochmiller and while the company will spend money to support the infrastructure buildout necessary to get the data to customers, those costs are negligible when compared to energy consumption, Lochmiller said.
The same holds true for bitcoin mining, where the company can offer an alternative to coal powered mining operations in China and the construction of new renewable capacity that wouldn’t be used to service the grid. As cryptocurrencies look for a way to blunt criticism about the energy usage involved in their creation and distribution, Crusoe becomes an elegant solution.
Institutional and regulatory tailwinds are also propelling the company forward. Recently New Mexico passed new laws limiting flaring and venting to no more than 2 percent of an operator’s production by April of next year and North Dakota is pushing for incentives to support on-site flare capture systems while Wyoming signed a law creating incentives for flare gas reduction applied to bitcoin mining. The world’s largest financial services firms are also taking a stand against flare gas with BlackRock calling for an end to routine flaring by 2025.
“Where we view our power consumption, we draw a very clear line in our project evaluation stage where we’re reducing emissions for an oil and gas projects,” Lochmiller said.
While wide-ranging in scope and style, these pieces are alike in their power and depth.
New Mexico, which has one of the highest poverty rates in the U.S., is a vaccination pacesetter thanks to decisive political decisions, homegrown technology and cooperation.
The governor is expected to sign the law, which would make New Mexico the 16th state to permit recreational use.
Commercial human spaceflight company Virgin Galactic has unveiled the first ever Spaceship III, the third major iteration of its spacecraft design. The first in this new series is called ‘VSS (Virgin SpaceShip) Imagine,’ and will start ground testing now with the aim of beginning its first glide flights starting this summer. VSS Imagine has a snazzy new external look, including a mirrored wraparound finish that’s designed to reflect the spacecraft’s changing environment as it makes its way from the ground to space — but more importantly, it moves Virgin Galactic closer to achieving the engineering goals it requires to produce a fleet of spacecraft at scale.
I spoke to Virgin Galactic CEO Michael Colglazier about VSS Imagine, and what it represents for the company.
“We can build these at a faster pace,” he explained. “These are still relatively slow, versus what we want in our next class of spaceships. But what we do expect to have here is, we’ve taken all the learnings from [VSS] Unity, and built-in what we need to do so that we can turn these ships at a faster pace, because obviously, the number of flights we can do is the product of how many ships you have, and how quickly you can turn them.”
Unlike Unity, which is the spacecraft that Virgin Galactic first flew in September 2016, and that it ‘s still using in New Mexico now for its testing and commercial launch preparation program, Imagine has a “modular design” that makes it much easier to maintain, and increases the rate at which it can fly subsequent missions. As Colglazier mentioned, there’s still more work to be done in that regard to get the Spaceship design to the point where it’s able to support the company’s target of around 400 flights per year, per individual spaceport, but it’s a big upgrade, and the company is already beginning manufacturing work on a second Spaceship III-class vehicle, ‘VSS Inspire.’
Imagine and Inspire are technical achievements, to be sure, but Colglazier, who came to Virgin Galactic from Disney Parks International in July 2020, also emphasized the importance of this spacecraft debut in terms of the company’s consumer brand.
“What you’re seeing in the images, the choice of the livery, the film that we’ve put out, is a very clear step, as a consumer brand launch, and as we’re stepping in and building that, that will build over the course of the summer as we build up towards Richard [Branson]’s flight,” he said. “Very purposefully, we’ve used these lofty words of ‘democratizing space’ — but space is meant for everyone. It may take a while, just for everyone to get there, but it’s coming. And so this was leading with a very consumer facing, ‘Why are we doing this?’”
In fact, that focus on the consumer side of the business has been a lot of Colglazier’s work over the past eight months since joining the company. He said that the Virgin Galactic he joined had a “world-class team” that had the aerospace pieces completely locked in, but that his particular contribution has been in building up the commercial side of the business to match.
“We’re now bringing some talent in that is used to scaling this kind of a business, so Swami Iyer actually started Monday of last week,” he said. “And when you see a guy like Joe Rohde, who came in on the experience side, there’s no replacement — that’s additive to building out now the shoulders around this experience.”
Iyer joined as President of Aerospace Systems, and brings years of experience in the commercial space and defense industry, across GKN Advanced Defernce Systems, Honeywell Aerospace and more. Rohde, on the other hand, boasts a very different background, as a longtime Disney Imagineer, who joins the company as its first ‘Experience Architect,’ focused squarely on defining what the Virgin Galactic experience is for its astronaut customers, their friends and family, and the broader public, too.
Colglazier said that their vision for what the experience will look like will also be different depending on what part of the world you’re flying from, noting that weather you fly from a spaceport in Europe, Asia, India or Australia should result in something “dramatically different,” even if the spacecraft themselves are all used in the same way as they are in New Mexico. That definitely seems like a logical approach from an executive whose prior experience includes leading Disney’s parks in Burbank, Paris, Hong Kong, Shanghai and Tokyo.
In the end, Colglazier said that the core philosophy Virgin Galactic will pursue in terms of consumer brand will be one focused on inclusion, even if the actual ‘going to space’ part of its offering remains out of reach for most in the short term.
“This is for everyone, it has to be for everyone,” he said. That aspiration may take some number of years to actually be realized, but in the meantime, we have to find a way that our brand and our company can be accessed, that what we do can be accessed by all sorts of people at all different layers of engagement, so we’re going to be very purposeful about that. You’re going to hear us talking mostly about, effectively the apex experience — actually taking the new ships to space. But the ability to tier down out of that is really, really important, and the ability for us to be a brand that’s reaching out to everyone is incredibly important.”
That begins with the approach to this spacecraft debut today, Colglazier says, and is apparent in the tone of the video the company debuted (embedded above) to mark the reveal. And Virgin Galactic also still has 600 passengers booked and waiting for their own flights, so that’s obviously a key focus after Branson’s flight targeted for later this year.
Finally, I asked Colglazier when he himself intends to go up, since he said he definitely plans to when joining the company. Mostly, he said, he doesn’t want to cut in front of any paying customers.
“Okay, there are 600 or so people that are going to be a little ticked at me, if I jumped the line, so I’m going to keep focused at the consumer level,” he said. “But nobody else is in line yet, so I’m gonna get in before anybody else comes in line.”
Ms. McHorse used micaceous clay, a tensile material flecked with mica, to make sensual, mysterious work that called to mind the shapes of Brancusi. She died of the coronavirus.
Several other officers were injured in a shooting on Interstate 10 between Deming and Las Cruces, the State Police said.
Rodrick Dow Craythorn, 52, pleaded guilty to causing more than $1,000 worth of damages in his quest to find Forrest Fenn’s treasure, prosecutors said.
The expected nomination of Deb Haaland.
Scenes from a holiday season that shone bright in dark times.
When an accident on a building site resulted in the death of their friend, the founders of Safesight were inspired to launch the platform to digitize safety programs for construction. The data from that gave birth to a new InsurTech startup this year, Foresight, which covers workers’ compensation. The startup has now released, for the first time, news that it raised a $15 million funding round back in May this year, with participation from Blackhorn Ventures and Transverse Insurance Group. To date, it has raised $20.5 million from industrial technology venture capital firms, led by Brick and Mortar Ventures and Builders VC.
Foresight launched in August of this year but has already covered $30M in risks. The company says it is now on pace to reach $50M in underwritten premium in 2021. By leveraging the data from sister company Safesite, the platform says it has been able to reduce workers comp incidents by up to 57% in a study conducted by actuarial consulting firm Perr & Knight.
Foresight’s algorithm leverages Safesight data to predict incidents, highlight risks, and informs underwriting. By wrapping Safesite risk management technology and services into every policy, Foresight provides a path to lower incident rates and lower premiums for customers.
Of the $57Bn national workers compensation market, Foresight focuses on policies ranging from $150K to $1M+ in annual premiums. The company says this segment has been largely overlooked by well-funded InsurTech startups such as Next Insurance and Pie, which provide small business policies under $50K in annual premiums.
Foresight and Safesite were developed by longtime friends and co-founders David Fontain, Peter Grant, and Leigh Appel.
Fontain said: “Foresight strengthens the correlation between safety and savings while providing the fast and easy user experience InsurTechs are known for. We leverage purpose-built technology to drive behavioral shifts and provide an irresistible alternative to traditional workers compensation coverage.”
Darren Bechtel, the founder and managing director at Brick & Mortar Ventures commented: “We first invested in 2016 and have known the founders since 2015 when it was just the two of them, squatting at a couple of empty desks inside another portfolio company’s office. Their initial vision was both elegant and powerful, and the demonstrated impact of their solution on safety performance, even in early interactions with the product, was impossible to ignore.”
Foresight now covers Nevada, Oklahoma, Arizona, Arkansas, Louisiana, and New Mexico. The company expects to launch workers compensation in the eastern US and a general liability line in early 2021.
The appointment would make history if confirmed by the Senate, placing a Native American in a cabinet secretary position for the first time.
Virgin Galactic attempted a test flight of its SpaceShipTwo Unity spaceplane on Saturday, but the flight was cut short after the spacecraft detached from its carrier aircraft. A failsafe prevented Unity’s rocket engines from firing up, because the computer that monitors the rockets somehow lost their connection to the rocket engines themselves, Virgin Galactic revealed on Monday.
The failsafe cut-off meant that both SpaceShipTwo Unity, and the carrier aircraft, along with all pilots on board, returned safely to Earth for a successful landing without incident. But the test flight was meant to go all the way to space, and this would’ve been a key stage-setting event to clear the way for flying the first actual paying passengers from the company’s New Mexico spaceport.
Virgin Galactic has flown to space on two prior occasions, including first in 2018, and then again in 2019. This would’ve been its first suborbital spaceflight from New Mexico, however, which is a required preparatory step before it can serve commercial customers from it’s operational base there.
“Virgin Galactic is now conducting post flight analysis and can so far report that the onboard computer which monitors the propulsion system lost connection, triggering a fail-safe scenario that intentionally halted ignition of the rocket motor,” Virgin shared in a blog post detailing what happened during the test. “This system, like others on the spaceship, is designed such that it defaults to a safe state whenever power or communication with sensors is lost. The pilots in the spaceship, as well as the engineers and pilots in mission control, are well prepared for any off-nominal results, as they plan and rehearse many potential scenarios during pre-flight simulation practice sessions, including a scenario where the rocket motor does not ignite after release from the mothership.”
This is obviously not an ideal outcome for the publicly-traded space tourism company, and the market’s response reflects public investor disappointment. Virgin Galactic’s CEO Michael Colglazer explained that this test’s conclusion, while far from nominal, shows that its safety measures are working as designed. He added that they’ll be continuing to progress with their test flight program, albeit with a re-do of this one before continuing on.
Netflix is committing $1 billion in production spend at its ABQ Studios in Albuquerque, New Mexico along with plans to expand those studios, the company said.
In an announcement alongside New Mexico’s Governor, Michelle Lujan Grisham, and Albuquerque Mayor, Tim Keller, Netflix’s chief executive Ted Sarandos said the company would add 300 acres to its existing space in ABQ Studios, creating one of the largest film production facilities in North America.
That means roughly 1,000 new production jobs in New Mexico over the next ten years, the company predicted and an additional 1,467 construction jobs to complete the expansion.
“My administration has expanded our state’s competitive film incentives, facilitating higher-wage employment for New Mexicans all across the state, and increased opportunities for rural communities,” said Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham.
The proposed expansion and $150 million in capital expenditures will add ten new stages, post-production services, mills, backlots, and training facilities, wardrobe suites, a commissary, and other flexible buildings.
New Mexico’s government is providing $17 million in funding and the city of Albuquerque is providing another $7 million in financing, including $6 million in infrastructure in-kind financing.
The city is also issuing bonds to abate property and other taxes over a 20-year term to cover the first $500 million investment by Netflix to build out the production facility.
As part of the deal, Netflix has also agreed to lease 130 acres from the State Land Office in addition to the private purchase of another 170 acres.
New Mexico’s Economic Development Department Cabinet Secretary, Alicia J. Keyes, said the deal could ultimately result in $2.5 billion worth of spending in the state.
Netflix also committed to supporting the state’s indigenous, latino, Black and other underrepresented content creators and filmmakers.
Productions filming in New Mexico currently include “The Harder They Fall” and “Intrusion” — and the company expects to begin shooting the next season of “Stranger Things” in the state.
Journeys through two states found Americans leading starkly different lives in the pandemic. New Mexico feels at a standstill. In South Dakota, life is going right on.
The Republican former state legislator succeeded in picking off the first-term Democrat in a rural district where President Trump is popular.
Mammoths and giant ground sloths roamed the same terrain that a young adult swiftly moved through while toting a young child.
Virgin Galactic is getting ready to fly its first mission to space from its Spaceport America facility in New Mexico. This is the site that the company will use to host all of its commercial flights, and making it to space from this launch locale is crucial to getting to that point.
Earlier this year, Virgin Galactic successfully flew a number of tests of its SpaceShipTwo launch craft from New Mexico, but these didn’t include a trip to space. That launch, which will be performed by two of the company’s test pilots (while also carrying a number of experiments for the passenger hatch) should happen before the year is out, hopefully putting Virgin Galactic on pace to begin offering its commercial services next year to paying passengers.
Those private astronauts will include one newly announced individual: Dr. Alan Stern, a noted and well-regarded planetary scientist who has held a number of positions, and is most recently the associate Vice President of South West Research Institute’s Space Science and Engineering Division. Dr. Stern is the first researcher named to be flying on board Virgin Galactic’s commercial spacecraft on a NASA-funded science mission.
This won’t be the first of SpaceShipTwo’s commercial flights, it seems. Stern’s trip will take place on a “yet unscheduled” suborbital flight from Spaceport America in the future. Stern will be conducting two key pieces of science aboard the spacecraft, including actually wearing instrumentation that monitors his vial signs throughout, as well as using a low light camera to see how well observing space from the vantage point of inside the SpaceShipTwo cabin works.
Few hospital beds, lack of equipment, a shipment of body bags in response to a request for coronavirus tests: The agency providing health care to tribal communities struggled to meet the challenge.
Indigenous groups in the Southwest are imbuing their activism this year with commemorations of the 340-year-old Pueblo Revolt, one of Spain’s bloodiest defeats in its colonial empire.
Scientists say that the wildfires in the West combined with drought and record heat waves could be triggering one of the Southwest’s largest migratory bird die-offs in recent decades.
In a New Mexico long-term care facility, residents rely on care providers for medical care and moments of connection.
An architect proposed a seven-sided tower called the “Water Garden Keep.” Neighbors feared it would attract Mr. Martin’s fans, and a review board said it did not fit Santa Fe’s Southwestern style.
Mr. Fenn announced in a 2010 book that he had hidden a chest of gold nuggets, diamonds and other jewels somewhere in the Rocky Mountains. People reacted.
Driven by an early fascination with the American West, a photographer set off to travel part of America’s most celebrated highway.
One of the areas of autonomous driving technology with the most potential to have a near-term and dramatic impact remains trucking: There’s a growing lack of drivers for long-haul routes, and highway trucking remains a relatively uncomplicated (though still very challenging) type of driving for AV systems to tackle.
Many companies are pursuing the challenge of autonomous trucking, but TuSimple and Waymo are leading the pack. TuSimple CTO Dr. Xiaodi You, who co-founded the company in 2015, and Waymo’s Boris Sofman, who leads the company’s autonomous trucking engineering efforts, will both join us at TC Sessions: Mobility on our virtual stage. The event takes place October 6-7, and we’re excited to hear from these two technology leaders working at the forefront of the industry.
TuSimple has accomplished a lot since its debut five years ago, including recently laying the groundwork for a U.S.-wide network of shipping routes in partnership with UPS, Xpress, food service supply company McLane and Penske Truck Leasing. The company is also seeking a sizable new funding round to help it scale, while actively testing with regular routes between Arizona and Texas.
Waymo, which originated at Google as that company’s self-driving car project before spinning out under parent entity Alphabet, adding self-driving trucks to the list of technologies it’s developing in 2017. Sofman joined in 2019, when Waymo hired on much of the engineering talent from his prior company, smart toy robotics maker Anki. Sofman’s resume also includes developing off-road autonomous vehicles, which likely comes in handy as Waymo seeks to roll out testing of its autonomous long-haul trucks across Texas and New Mexico.
In case you’re wondering, this won’t just be one long webinar. We have some technical tricks up our sleeves that will bring all of what you’d expect from our in-person events, from the informative panels and provocative one-on-one interviews to the networking and even a pitch-off session. While virtual isn’t the same as our events in the past, it has provided one massive benefit: democratizing access.
If you’re a startup or investor based in Europe, Africa, Australia, South America or another region in the U.S., you can listen in, network and connect with other participants here in Silicon Valley.
Get your tickets for TC Sessions: Mobility to hear from Bryan Salesky, along with several other fantastic speakers from Porsche, Waymo, Lyft and more. Tickets are just $145 for a limited time, with discounts for groups, students and exhibiting startups. We hope to see you there!
A district flipped by Democrats is suddenly in play again as Republicans mobilize opposition to pandemic measures, signaling the tenuous hold Democrats have on some seats they picked up in 2018.
SpaceX has big plans for its Boca Chica, Texas site – where it’s currently building and testing Starship, the company’s next-generation passenger and cargo spacecraft. A new job posting spotted by CNBC’s Micheal Sheetz seeks a “Resort Development Manager” to be based out of Brownsville, the nearest neighboring town to the small Boca Chica area where SpaceX has built out its existing test and development site.
The job posting seeks a manger to “oversee the development of SpaceX’s first resort from inception to completion,” with the ultimate aim of turning Boca Chica into a “21st century Spaceport.” That would include overseeing the entire design and construction process, as well as getting all necessary work permits and regulatory approvals, and completing the ultimate build of the facility.
SpaceX has provided some concept designs of what its ideal spaceports might look like, and CEO Elon Musk shared his intent to build floating spaceports for both interstellar and point-to-point Earth travel back in June, when the company announced it was seeking Offshore Operations Engineers, also to be located in Brownsville.
This new posting suggests that SpaceX will seek to create an end-to-end experience out of spaceflight, perhaps more in line with what Virgin Galactic is building at its Spaceport America site in New Mexico. Virgin has placed a lot of emphasis on the customer experience it is providing for its private space tourists, both in terms of its passenger space vehicle cabin, and the amenities available on the ground at the launch site.
SpaceX is readying its own vehicles for private astronaut launches, with announced plans to offer orbital return flights to paying customers using Dragon, which is now closer than ever to human flight certification thanks to having completed a return trip to Earth with NASA astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley on board. That demonstration mission is the final requirement in its certification process, and SpaceX now looks on track to potentially fly private spacefarers as early as its target window of sometime next year.
Four people died and nearly a dozen others were poisoned after swallowing alcohol-based hand sanitizer, federal health officials said.
As the pandemic has brought home the importance of the global movement for food sovereignty, members are planting and sharing.
Nearly 50 years after Charles Ross began working on “Star Axis,” the artist’s gargantuan work in the New Mexico desert is nearing completion.
The justices will hear arguments in October over whether excessive force claims against the police are barred when the people they shoot get away.
It’s been 75 years since we blew radioactive ash over New Mexico. Now the Trump administration is talking about testing bombs again.
Virgin Galactic is shuffling its uppermost leadership ahead of the private space tourism company’s commercial service launch: It just announced Michael Colglazier, who had been president and managing director of Disney Parks International, will join as the new Virgin Galactic CEO, replacing George Whitesides, who will assume the newly created position of chief space officer.
Whitesides said on Twitter that the move is in anticipation of the company’s move to debut its commercial service. Virgin Galactic is in the final test flight stages at its operational spaceport in New Mexico. It has already flown unpowered test flights of its launch vehicle carrier aircraft and the SpaceShipTwo suborbital spaceplane, and will next move to powered flight tests prior to kicking off flights for its paying ticket-holders.
Whitesides was the first CEO of both Virgin Galactic and The Spaceship Company (a subsidiary formed specifically to focus on Virgin spacecraft manufacture). Virgin Galactic was originally founded by Richard Branson, who also provided significant funding to the company ahead of its public debut last year via a special purpose acquisition company (SPAC) created by Chamath Palihapitiya specifically for the purpose.
Colglazier’s experience at Disney in the Parks department should be a clear signal about the direction Virgin Galactic is headed with its human spaceflight business. The company has always put a lot of emphasis on the overall “experience” it provides its private space tourists, including ground activities and training, and installing an executive who was responsible for one of the world’s foremost “experience”-based tourism operations is a smart move.
The background of departing CEO Whitesides is very different: He was chief of staff at NASA prior to joining Virgin Galactic in 2010, and his new position as chief space officer, as well as chair of the company’s Space Advisory Board, does seem to make a lot more sense, given his experience, relative to the company’s goals as an ongoing, revenue-generating business. Whitesides will also step down from the Virgin Galactic board of directors as part of this shift, and Colglazier will join that guidance body.
The executive changes take effect on July 20, the company says. It reports its next results on August 3, and while it now looks like we’ll probably have to wait until next year to see it begin its first commercial tourist flights, it’s likely that the status of its program and progress will be in focus.
The 75th anniversary of what’s known as the Trinity explosion, the world’s first nuclear weapon test, comes as tensions over nuclear devices intensify.
A spokesman for the state’s Health Department said the cases were related to alcoholism.
The government, after years of delays, is finally clarifying rules on tax breaks for companies that use carbon capture to fight climate change.
Space tourism company Virgin Galactic has just revealed a novel extension of their business mode, through a new agreement signed with NASA enabled by the Space Act Agreement. The arrangement will see Virgin Galactic purchase seats on spacecraft bound for the orbiting International Space Station, as well as provide training and supplies and resources for those individuals. Virgin Galactic is in the process of developing its own, sub-orbital space tourism program using its own spacecraft that will launch from a carrier airplane, but this deal would involve use of other spacecraft that have the capacity to reach orbit and the ISS – which Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShipTwo can’t do.
The most likely candidate for where Virgin will be procuring those seats right now is SpaceX, although Virgin’s press release announcing the news does not mention the Elon Musk-led company. SpaceX’s Crew Dragon, which is currently docked at the ISS after its first ever successful astronaut-carrying launch last month, is likely to become the first human-rated private spacecraft certified by NASA upon its return to Earth, likely happening sometime around August. Crew Dragon can hold as many as seven people per launch, and NASA is only ever going to use a maximum of four seats, the agency has said, with hopes that private individuals, including researchers and tourists, will buy up remaining tickets to help offset the costs of launch.
Virgin Galactic will essentially be operating a launch services business for private astronauts, similar to the one set up by Space Adventures, which has an agreement in place with SpaceX, and which previously brokered trips to the ISS for private astronauts including Anousheh Ansari aboard Russia’s Soyuz spacecraft. Again, SpaceX hasn’t been mentioned here specifically, and Virgin Galactic will likely also be seeking access to Boeing’s Starliner crew spacecraft once it’s operational and certified to transport human to the ISS, too. It is interesting to note that SpaceX’s arrangement with Space Adventures thus far focuses only on orbital fly-and-return missions for Crew Dragon, and not on any flights that would involve actually docking at the ISS.
Also worth noting is that Virgin Galactic will be procuring and training private astronauts including individual citizens, as well as government-sponsored scientific research missions. So publicly-funded scientists that aren’t specifically NASA astronauts will likely also go through Virgin. The private spaceflight company says it will use its Spaceport America facility in New Mexico for “some elements of the training program.”
Virgin Galactic’s move from being a private spaceflight launch provider, to a services and procurement company working between NASA and private spaceflight launch companies, is definitely a large and significant shift in its business. It should definitely decrease the company’s time to revenue as it continues to develop and test its own human launch capabilities, a process which obviously carries a lot more overhead than working with existing, already certified launch providers as an intermediary provider.
The agitation against honoring Juan de Oñate reflects a tension that has long festered between Native Americans and Hispanics over Spain’s conquest of New Mexico more than four centuries ago.
Ms. Leger Fernandez, a progressive who emphasized her long history in the district, overcame a well-funded challenge from Ms. Plame and defeated several other Democratic rivals.
Voters cast ballots, many by mail, in eight states and the District of Columbia, with limited polling stations open and concerns about the virus and civil unrest looming over the process.
Living conditions make it difficult to contain the virus’s spread.
This virus is deadly, long-lived and highly contagious, but it doesn’t affect people or other animals.
In Farmington, N.M., the economy was already struggling. Now everyone knows someone who is out of work because of the coronavirus. Very few say they know anyone who got sick.