Prepared Statement of Stuart O. Witt
CEO and General Manager
Mojave Air and Space Port
Hearing on “Commercial Space”
Wednesday, November 20, 2013
Subcommittee on Space Committee on Science, Space, and Technology
U.S. House of Representatives
Chairman Palazzo, Ranking Member Edwards, Chairman Smith, and members of the subcommittee, thank you for giving me the opportunity to address the subcommittee this morning. My name is Stuart Witt, and I am the CEO and General Manager of the Mojave Air and Space Port, which is located in southeast Kern County, California.
Many of my tenants call Mojave the Silicon Valley of Commercial Spaceflight. I’m just proud to lead the nation’s only private experimental flight test center, a place where Innovation Takes Flight.
Our topic today is America’s commercial space industry, and my message to you from the high desert is that American engineers and entrepreneurs in Mojave and other places across the country are successfully revolutionizing America’s future in space. This is a 100% good news story. What my Mojave tenants require from elected representatives in Washington is continued permission, and modest encouragement, rather than obstacles.
On Thursday, NASA announced the selection of 39 proposals for Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase II awards. Parabolic Arc will be looking at several of the proposals being undertaken by companies we have been following. This post looks at Firestar Engineering, a company based in Mojave, Calif., that is developing non-toxic propellant that will be tested at the International Space Station next year.
Firestar Engineering, LLC
PROPOSAL TITLE: Low Energy Electronic Ignition System for NOFBX Thrusters
SUBTOPIC TITLE: Propulsion Technologies
Estimated Technology Readiness Level (TRL) at beginning and end of contract:
HOUSTON (ISPS PR) – Innovative Space Propulsion Systems (ISPS) has passed another critical milestone in their progress toward the launch of their NOFBX™ green propulsion demonstration to the International Space Station (ISS). ISPS is working toward demonstrating their high-performance, non-toxic and environmentally-benign propulsion technology on the ISS under an award from the NASA ISS National Laboratory program. In April, ISPS passed NASA’s ISS Payload Safety Review Panel phase 1 review.
NASA has selected Firestar for an award under the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program. The Mojave-based company will use the funding to improve its NOFBX propulsion system, a green engine which is set for testing aboard the International Space Station late next year.
NASA announced the selection on Tuesday. No amount was provided, but SBIR agreements are usually made over a six-month period for amounts of up to $125,000. The award is contingent successful negotiation of terms.
A full description of Firestar’s proposal follows after the break.