SubOrbital Day went off pretty smoothly today. We basically walked around in teams briefing Senate staffers on issues of importance to the emerging suborbital launch services industry (see below for our talking points, which pretty much cover everything we talked about). The message was well received for the most part.
We were a little disorganized due to the fact that the principal players are busy building hardware (woohoo!), but everything came together in the end. One kind of cool thing that happened while I was briefing Landon Fulmer, a legislative correspondent for Sam Brownback – the door to the conference room opened up and in walks General Pete Worden, who is working as a Congressional Fellow in Brownback’s office. While I was recovering from my surprise, Pat Bahn (who was my teammate) showed up from his previous appointment (we’d split up to make up some lost time). Fortunately Worden and Pat know each other, as evidenced by the fact that Worden offered to deliver Pat’s canned SubOrbital background briefing. He did an excellent job of it, too. It’s nice to have people who really get it in positions of influence.
I had a similar surge of hope when Steve Parker, a Legislative Fellow in Bill Nelson’s office, started asking about the Black Armadillo. Very encouraging, especially considering we were meeting in a room covered with Space Shuttle pictures – I thought making the SubOrbital pitch would be like trying to sell Linux to Bill Gates. A pleasant surprise indeed.
It was nice to catch up with the SubOrbital Institute usual suspects, though Neil Milburne of Armadillo wasn’t there, most likely since they are building and testing hardware at a furious rate. There’s going to be some interesting news in the coming months, not just related to the X Prize. Unfortunately I can’t divulge everything, but stay tuned.