XCOR PRESS RELEASE
Airgas, Inc. (NYSE: ARG), the largest U.S. distributor of gases, welding and safety products, and XCOR Aerospace, which develops and produces reusable rocket-powered vehicles and propulsion systems, today jointly announced a 15-year product sales agreement and a sponsorship agreement. Airgas will provide liquid oxygen, helium, and nitrogen for XCORâ€™s reusable, non-toxic propulsion systems, including the propulsion system on the XCOR Lynx reusable suborbital spacecraft. Airgas and XCOR will also participate in joint marketing programs to promote XCOR propulsion systems and suborbital space launch services.
Having developed and flight-demonstrated fully reusable and environmentally sensitive rocket systems, XCOR is now building the Lynx suborbital spacecraft. The production Lynx will be able to fly safely to altitudes of over 62 miles (100 kilometers) four or more times per day. Consuming liquid oxygen and helium from Airgas, and a very clean, highly processed special grade of kerosene, XCORâ€™s engines are among the cleanest high-performance rocket propulsion systems ever designed. Additionally, Airgas will supply propellants for the unique non-toxic thrusters used for the Lynx reaction control system (RCS) to safely guide the Lynx while in space and then back into the Earthâ€™s atmosphere during re-entry.
â€œThis is an exciting new industry in which we are pleased to be involved,â€ said Peter McCausland, Airgas chairman and chief executive officer. â€œIn addition to working with the great people and technology at XCOR, it is rewarding to participate in an endeavor that inspires our nationâ€™s youth to pursue Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) education.â€
â€œTo witness the power of a XCOR rocket engine test or see their vehicles fly, like at the Oshkosh air show in 2008, and to know they are using environmentally safe Airgas products, makes us proud to be a part of the XCOR-Airgas team,â€ added Tom Thoman, Airgas senior vice president â€“ tonnage and merchant gases.
Expanding on the team sentiment, Jeff Greason, XCOR chief executive officer noted, â€œHaving Airgas on board as a national sponsor and gas supplier allows XCOR the peace of mind that we will have a committed partner as our business grows.â€
Driving XCORâ€™s target markets is their ability to provide low-cost, safe, and repetitive daily access to space for small satellite launch to low Earth orbit (LEO) for research and educational missions (REM), as well as for training and personal space flight.
â€œThe Internet and integrated wireless communications devices like the Blackberry or Apple iPhone were â€˜the next big thingâ€™ in the 1990s and the first decade of the millennium,â€ said Andrew Nelson, XCOR chief operating officer. â€œNow, new multi-billion dollar space-related markets are being enabled by low-cost and safer access to space, and we need leading and reliable suppliers like Airgas to ensure our success.â€
About XCOR Aerospace, Inc.
XCOR Aerospace is a California corporation located in Mojave, California. The company is in the business of developing and producing safe, reliable and reusable rocket powered vehicles, propulsion systems, advanced non-flammable composites and other enabling technologies for responsive small satellite launch to low earth orbit, scientific missions, upper atmospheric research, and private space flight. The Lynx is a piloted, two seat, fully reusable, liquid rocket powered vehicle that takes off and lands horizontally. The Lynx production models (designated Lynx Mark II) are designed to be robust, multi-commercial mission vehicles capable of flying to 100+ km in altitude up to four times per day. XCORâ€™s web address is: www.xcor.com.
About Airgas, Inc.
Based in Radnor, Pennsylvania, Airgas, Inc. (NYSE: ARG), through its subsidiaries, is the largest U.S. distributor of industrial, medical, and specialty gases, and hardgoods, such as welding equipment and supplies. Airgas is also one of the largest U.S. distributors of safety products, the largest U.S. producer of nitrous oxide and dry ice, the largest liquid carbon dioxide producer in the Southeast, and a leading distributor of process chemicals, refrigerants, and ammonia products. More than 14,000 employees work in over 1,100 locations, including branches, retail stores, gas fill plants, specialty gas labs, production facilities, and distribution centers. Airgas also distributes its products and services through eBusiness, catalog, and telesales channels. Its national scale and strong local presence offer a competitive edge to its diversified customer base. For more information, please visit www.airgas.com.