On the western edge of the Mojave desert in Kern County, California, there is a place like nowhere else on Earth.

In the skies over Mojave airport the first private enterprise space ship showed the world that a small, talented team could put a man into space.

Amazing things happen here. (Carl Ingram, Mojave Tower)

It’s really an entrepreneurial go-getting kind of place. One of the nice things is, you taxi out in the morning and there’s guys flying space ships, small aircraft, homebuilt aircraft. (Nigel Speedy, National Test Pilot School)

I fly WhiteKnightTwo and SpaceShipTwo. ( David Mackay, Virgin Galactic)

I built it right here in this hangar. (Ralph Wise, Gt Aero)

I’m in Mojave because number 1, I work at Scaled Composites, and number 2, it’s the epicenter of homebuilt aircraft, with Burt Rutan, obviously, the history there. (Justin Gillen, Scaled Composites)

There’s not a better place anyplace to do what we love to do most. And that is, have an idea, have the ability to go out in a shop like this and actually build it, and then find some trusting soul to get in it and see if it flies. (Dick Rutan)

It’s not of interest to the people who hang out at Mojave if you can’t build it. (Elliot Seguin, Scaled Composites)

I’m on the board here at Mojave Makers and I just love making stuff. (Matthew Wright, Scaled Composites & Mojave Makers)

There really are just tons and tons of cool weird things being built here. (Scott Nietfeld, Masten Space Systems & Mojave Makers)

Mojave is very unassuming. This is the kind of place where you would never know the types of activities that are going on here actually happen. (Karina Drees, Mojave Air & Space Port)

Space has been my passion since I was really little. Here I found a way to do that and I get to build the thing that’s taking me there. (Jeremy Voigt, XCOR Aerospace)

We are Wasabi Air Racing. (Jennifer Whaley, Scaled Composites & Wasabi Air Racing)

We got involved in air racing because it’s a fantastic challenge. As engineers, as pilots and as builders. (Elliot Seguin, Wasabi Air Racing)

This is the Mecca of aviation right here. (Melissa Vannoy, Virgin Galactic)

The National Test Pilot School is the preeminent civilian flight test training center in the world.

Flight test is going out and evaluating either an aircraft or an aviation system to determine whether it’s safe and whether it meets certain requirements. (Dr. Allen Peterson, National Test Pilot School)

Mojave is just a naturally good place for flight test. (Wes Persall, Virgin Galactic)

In the first place, you’re in the middle of nowhere. Being out in the middle of nowhere gives you enormous freedoms to take risks. (Stuart Witt, Mojave Air & Space Port)

It’s wide open. (Melissa Vannoy)

What we’re working on is new rocket propellants and new thrusters. And whenever you develop something new it’s a challenge. And there are successes and failures and you learn from both. You want to be somewhere where you can test. Mojave provides that. (Suparna Mukherjee, Firestar Technologies)

The companies operating out here are incredibly innovative. We encourage these companies to challenge on a daily basis. (Karina Drees)

It’s one of the few places in the world where we can freely test our rockets. (David Masten, Masten Space Systems)

We go out and we test three, four, five days a week. (Alexander Hreiz, Masten Space Systems)

Mojave is a great place because it allows us the freedom to do this, as well as the space. (Khaki Rodway, XCOR Aerospace)

Don’t be afraid to fail. You learn more through failure than you do from success. Every single time. (Dick Rutan)

The folks at the spaceport want to help you. They’re not here to impede you. (Greg Peters, Firestar Technologies)

It’s always easy to say no. If you say yes, you have to be willing to back it up and actually do something that is business-friendly. So our job is getting to Yes. (Stuart Witt)

Stu’s there when you need him. Something goes wrong or you need some help here on the airfield, you pick up the phone and you call Stu, and he usually can solve your problem in a very short period of time, or will turn you on to somebody who can help solve your problem. (Dr. Allen Peterson)

The airport operators understand what our mission is. They understand that what we do is experimental in nature. (Wes Persall)

My job is to give people permission. Every day in the skies over Mojave and on the ground at Mojave Air & Space Port, people take enormous risks, which someday will yield great things for all humanity. (Stuart Witt)

We have the freedom to do a lot of those crazy things that people wouldn’t allow you to do at a normal airport. (Wes Persall)

We’ve got years of infrastructure. This is what we do out here. We’re standing out on our Taxiway B, it’s kind of our Taxiway of Dreams. (Kevin Wojtkiewicz, Mojave Air & Space Port)

I’m currently working on the Stratolaunch program, which is building a huge hangar down the flightline there, and it’s going to be a lot of fun. (Matthew Wright)

Mojave’s a really unique place if you look at what’s being developed here. It’s a proven incubator for innovative design. (Enrico Palermo, Virgin Galactic)

It has a whole huge quotient of freedom and flexibility. And if you have some clever and innovative people who like to do neat things and you put them in an environment of almost total freedom and flexibility, what comes out of that is incredible. Those people may even build an airplane to fly around the world. Or maybe even fly one that would go into space. Who knows what’s going to happen? (Dick Rutan)

There is no place like this anywhere on the Earth. (Jon Turnipseed, Virgin Galactic)

It’s a pioneer spirit. (Khaki Rodway)

It’s frontier land. (David Mackay)

Making the impossible happen (Wes Persall)

Kind of a Right Stuff atmosphere (Jeremy Voigt)

Pretty much can-do and entrepreneurial type of place (Dr. Allen Peterson)

The Mojave spirit – it’s pioneering (Greg Peters)

Imagination and creativity and there’s no limit (Andrew Bingham, Firestar Technologies)

It’s a group of people coming out here to get things done, very hands-on and we’re trying to make the commercial space thing really happen. (Travis O’Neal, Masten Space Systems)

There’s a spirit of innovation here and it’s been here for a long time. I think that’s why companies come here and why you continue to see new companies coming here and trying out new ideas. (Suparna Mukherjee)

With true freedom and flexibility – what you can accomplish is only limited by what you can dream. Incredible what can happen. Hey wait a minute – it did happen, right here. Cool. (Dick Rutan)

Mojave Air & Space Port 2012
East Kern Airport District
Mojave, California

Producer, Writer – Robin Snelson
Director, Cinematographer, Editor – Christopher Angel
Original music – Myles A. Young
Aerial photography – Kenneth Brown

With grateful acknowledgement for video provided by amazing people and companies at Mojave Air & Space Port

Dick Rutan
Firestar Technologies
Masten Space Systems
Mojave Aerospace Ventures
National Test Pilot School
Northrop Grumman Corporation
Scaled Composites
Stratolaunch Systems, A Paul G. Allen Project
Virgin Galactic
Wasabi Air Racing
XCOR Aerospace