The Lynx technology development has advanced to the pointthat there is sufficient confidence in the system been built to enter into afirst service delivery contract.
Note the rapid turn around built into the design. This bird is truly airworthy.
Note earlier posts on the engine tests last year. Google XCOR for these posts.
These guys are developing suborbital capabilities notpresently available and necessary for a fly into space technology package whichis today much closer.
Southwest ResearchInstitute and XCOR Sign First Ever Commercial Reusable Suborbital VehicleScientific Flight Contract
February 24th, 2011, Mojave,CA, USA: In a first for the reusable suborbital launchvehicle industry, XCOR Aerospace announced today that the Southwest ResearchInstitute (SwRI), a commercial entity, has purchased six suborbital flights tocarry SwRI experiments as pathfinder missions for other SwRI suborbitalclients. This is the first such contract SwRI has issued, and XCORis proud to be chosen for this opportunity.
"When someoneissues a commercial contract with their own money, this means something,"said XCOR Chief Operating Officer Andrew Nelson. "XCOR feels SwRI signingtheir first contract with us demonstrates the superiority of the Lynx platformover others in the field. We have the ability to fly up to fourtimes a day, quickly perform an experiment and then return it to thecustomer. In addition, we offer the best price in class versus thecompetition."
Each of the sixflights will include a SwRI trained principal investigator / payloadspecialist. This group of talented individuals includes Dr.Alan Stern, former NASA Associate Administrator for Science, Dr. Dan Durda, whohas campaigned in F-18s and Dr. Cathy Olkin, an experienced SwRI researcher. Onthese flights, the SwRI principal investigators will perform researchusing biomedical, microgravity, and astronomy imaging experiments conceived andprepared for flight at SwRI. SwRI has an option to purchase three additionalflights at any time, providing more value for the money spent and greaterflexibility for experimental research.
"These areexciting times for the suborbital research field," said Dr. Stern."XCOR and SwRI are blazing new trails with this engagement and setting thestage for others to follow with their experiments."
The capabilities ofthe Lynx, in particular its responsiveness and low cost of operation provideSwRI and other clients with an unprecedented ability for quick turnaround ofkey experiments or precious and sensitive samples. Lynx operations will allowcustomer experiments to go from a runway-side storage facility to the vehicle,then fly to space on a customized flight trajectory and back to an airport-sidelaboratory in under 30 minutes. The Lynx offers a level of samplesecurity and assurance not found in other suborbital systems today, while thecost of a Lynx operation is an order of magnitude less than traditionalsystems.
The Lynx suborbitalvehicle is also a robust data collection system with four distinctpayload carrying opportunities as either primary or secondary payloads, withlocations within the pressurized Lynx cabin or externally exposed to the vacuumof space and the thin air of the upper atmosphere. Payload mass canrange from under 1 kg to over 650 kg.
"SwRI is arecognized leader in the field," said Jeff Greason, XCOR ChiefExecutive Officer. "They are one of the best research firms in the worldfor space science and engineering, and their researchers have a phenomenalability to explore innovative concepts. I look forward to the pioneering workthis partnership will achieve."
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XCOR Aerospace isa California corporation located in Mojave,
. The company is in the businessof developing and producing safe, reliable and reusable rocket poweredvehicles, propulsion systems, advanced non-flammable composites and otherenabling technologies. XCOR is working with aerospace prime contractors andgovernment customers on major propulsion systems, and concurrently building theLynx, a piloted, two-seat, fully reusable, liquid rocket poweredvehicle that takes off and lands horizontally, and serves three primarymissions: nano-satellite launch, research & scientific missions, andprivate spaceflight. The Lynx production models (designated LynxMark II) are designed to be robust, multi-mission commercial vehicles capableof flying to 100+ km in altitude up to four times per day and are being offeredon a wet lease basis. (www.xcor.com). California