Los Angeles, California – 29 September 2014 – Earlier this month Space Angels Network hosted an exclusive Expedition to Southern California space companies, offering unique insights inside the private space industry. The companies, located in Los Angeles and at the Mojave Air & Spaceport, included SpaceX, Virgin Galactic, Masten Aerospace, XCOR Aerospace, Whittinghill Aerospace, and Firestar Technologies.
The Expedition included discussions with numerous NewSpace leaders including Ian Whittinghill of Whittinghill Aerospace, Doug Shane, President of The Spaceship Company (builders for Virgin Galactic), Sean Mahoney of Masten Aerospace, Jeff Greason and Lee Valentine of XCOR Aerospace, Greg Mungas of Firestar Technologies and Gary Hudson, founder of the Rotary Rocket Company and the Space Studies Institute.
Expedition participants experienced the progress of NewSpace first-hand by touring SpaceX’ facilities, including those of the Falcon 9 rocket and Dragon capsule, sitting in the XCOR Lynx trainer, and even firing a Lynx reaction thruster! The enthralled participants visited Virgin Galactic’s hangars to see White Knight Two and Space Ship Series 2 (the next gen following SpaceShipTwo), and they were up close and personal with XCOR’s family of lander test platform rockets. The group drove north to the ‘business end’ of the Mojave Spaceport and were captivated by a tour of Whittinghill Aerospace’s rocket test pad and control bunker. As an added bonus, the Expedition group also made a side-stop at the California Science Center for a curated tour of Space Shuttle Endeavor, and enjoyed a morning hike in the hills overlooking Mojave.
While kicking the companies’ tires (thrusters, that is) participants had meaningful discussions with high-level representatives regarding each companies’ business models, milestones, growth path, and strategies going forward. Chad Anderson, Managing Director of the Space Angels Network, made a presentation about trends in aerospace, and facilitated a roundtable discussion about how those trends affect investment decisions. The Expedition culminated with a pitch from four aerospace startups and a working dinner during, in which the investment readiness of each of those companies was considered.
Amir Blachman, Principal of the Space Angels Network and quarterback of the Members’ Expedition, said participant feedback was incredibly rewarding:
The agenda was exceptional. From futuristic glamour to sheer grit, the Space Angels Network Members’ Expedition offered participants an informed and uncommon view of the desert frontier. – Gaia Borgias Brown, UW William E. Boeing Dept. of Aeronautics & Astronautics
Great trip, did a terrific job of showcasing the range of new space activities. This should become an annual event and must do for anyone seriously wanting to invest as an angel in this sector. -Bret Engelkemier, Space Angels Network Member, and International Treasurer and Board Member of Doctors without Borders
The contrast of space companies we saw was incredible. On one end of the spectrum, we saw a state-of-the-art manufacturing floor with custom-built robotics and the latest 3D printers. On the other end were warehouses, like hobby shops, with the only goal being unique spacecraft design. We may see several of these garage startups become billion dollar companies within the next decade. – Don Weidner, Space Angels Network Member, and Owner of Formidable Ventures
The hotels, meals, transport and hike were all enjoyable and well chosen…Excellent conversations on the bus too, particularly on the way back from Mojave when we began sharing management stories and advice. – Liz Kennick, President of Teachers in Space
Thank you for such a transformative experience. – Tim Parsons, Founding Executive of Australia’s Delta-V Accelerator
A full photo documentary of the 2014 Members’ Expedition can be found at:
About Space Angels Network
Space Angels Network is a professionally managed global network of seed‐ and early‐stage investors focused specifically on aerospace ventures. Space Angels Network members share a common passion for promoting the development of the aerospace industry and related technologies while also earning attractive returns on private investments. For more information or to apply for membership, please visit: spaceangelsnetwork.com