When traveling along the lonely desert highways of New Mexico, as you approach Los Cruces something begins to change. You first come across white sands missile range or "wis-mis" as the locals like to call it. Then you come upon an all too promising sign advocating the future home of the New Mexico Space Port. You then begin to enter Los Cruces, which is essentially becoming the hub of the future space industry.
For one weekend a year the Los Cruces international airport closes down in order to host the Wirefly Xprize Cup. An outdoors, hands-on, awe inspiring convention where young and old a like can get a glimpse of what the near future holds. The Xcup is a mixture of science fair, worlds fair, and good old fashion optimistic dreams of years gone by. What sets this convention apart from other science conventions is that this is not merely what could be, but what will soon be. The first day was swamped as 5,000 school kids gathered here from neighboring cities and states to learn about past space flight and watch the future unfold. From static fire rocket tests, to EEE rockets that go over 3 miles up and over the speed of sound; from the vendors of different space companies, to NASA's centennial challengesand the lunar lander challenge there was something for all enthusists.
The second day unfolded with more for the lunar lander challenge and the power beam challenge, to Q&A with NASA astronauts and space tourist Anousheh Ansari. As a special treat we got to see what is in store for next year’s Xcup the rocket plane races.
Beginning next year the rocket racing league will be starting their racing season. The Nascar of the skies, as its being called, and the finals will be held during next years convention where the winner will be taking home the Xcup. With ticket prices just $15 its fun for the whole family, hope you see you there next year.
Images can be found here.