Our guests really enjoyed the launch pad tour this morning.
We boarded our vans at the Elephant Butte Inn around 7:30 am, and arrived at Spaceport America around 9:00. The roads at Spaceport America are much improved from our launch here a year ago. Last year we rode over bumpy, unpaved, gravel roads, creating a minor dust storm in our wake! Since then, Spaceport America has paved the roads, making for a much smoother ride through the New Mexico desert.
[caption id="attachment_171" align="alignleft" width="400" caption="Pioneer Flight family members on the launch pad tour viewing the rocket on the launch rail. Note that the Celestis logo appears to the left of the "A" in "Lockheed Martin.""]
We began by touring Mission Control, which is housed in a trailer about a mile from the launch pad. We were greeted by Tracey Larson of UP Aerospace, who gave us an informative presentation on the procedures mission controllers follow when they conduct a launch. Our guests had a number of questions, which UP Aerospace’s Bruce Lee answered.
Then, we boarded the vans again and drove to the launch pad where we were met by UP Aerospace President Jerry Larson. He, and Celestis CEO Charles Chafer, discussed the launch scheduled for tomorrow morning, and took more questions from family members and other VIPs in attendance. Then, we all had an opportunity to walk around the launch pad and take photos.
We returned to the Elephant Butte Inn around 11:00 am and rested. Then, at 4:00 pm, we conducted our Pre-Launch briefing, led by Celestis CEO Charles Chafer. Family members present spoke of their loved ones on the Pioneer Flight.
We held the Pre-Launch Briefing in a banquet room at the Elephant Butte Inn. Perhaps Mr. Chafer’s most important piece of advice was to get to bed early as we have to board the vans tomorrow morning at 3:00 am! The launch is projected to occur at 6:00 am, and we have to leave early so as to be in place in plenty of time for the launch.