XCOR PR — September 19, 2011, Mojave CA, USA and Curaçao: Space Expedition Curaçao (SXC) and XCOR Aerospace, Inc. jointly announced today the completion of a multi-million dollar transaction that secures the wet lease of production Lynx tail number two for operation on the Caribbean island of Curaçao, pending export licensing action.
“Since we signed the initial Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) in October of 2010, XCOR and SXC have worked diligently towards completing the Definitive Agreement,” explained XCOR CEO Jeff Greason. “Now that the ink is dry and the check has cleared we can proceed at full pace to begin operations in Curaçao in 2014.”
[Editor’s Note: The press release’s headline say this is an “eight figure” deal, meaning at least $10 million. To put this in perspective, Greason recently said that XCOR had spent $27 million since it was founded 12 years ago this month. XCOR’s cost for producing the first Lynx prototype is a tiny fraction of the $400 million that Virgin Galactic is spending on WhiteKnightTwo and SpaceShipTwo vehicles. XCOR will begin Lynx test flights next fall.]
In addition to securing an exclusive lease for the production Lynx tail number two, SXC has also optioned the exclusive right to lease the production Lynx tail number one for up to three months out of a given calendar year, prior to the delivery of tail number two.
“Space Expedition Curaçao is very happy to have completed this milestone agreement. In addition to securing the Lynx and naming XCOR as our exclusive vehicle provider, SXC has signed up 35 spaceflight participants since the beginning of April with a goal to sell 50 before the holiday season,” added SXC co-founder Michiel Mol.
“A number of celebrities and notables have already signed up for this amazing experience,” continued Mol, “including Victoria’s Secret model Doutzen Kroes , World Series Champion San Francisco Giants batting coach and Curaçao native Hensley Meulens, and celebrity DJ Armin van Buuren, host of weekly radio show ‘A State of Trance,’ which attracts a reported 30 million listeners in 40 countries. It’s not hard to get people excited about what will be a life changing event. The Lynx is unique in that it provides a one-on-one ‘co-pilot’ experience with an amazing panoramic view of the Earth and sky through large cockpit windows. It will be an unforgettable and very personalized experience for everyone who takes the trip.”
SXC also has a number of business channel partners lined up including KLM Royal Dutch Airlines KLM will purchase flights to offer as frequent flyer rewards, support educational initiatives in the Netherlands through the use of flights for scientific discovery by students, and include flights as part of vacation packages to Curaçao, a constituent country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands.
“We’ve been working hard on the infrastructure end of things as well,” commented Ben Droste, president and co-founder of SXC. “Our relationship with Curaçao Airport Holdings continues to be strong as they ready the facilities necessary to make this vision a reality. Things are now moving at an accelerated pace.”
Andrew Nelson, Chief Operating Officer of XCOR Aerospace concluded by saying “XCOR continues to work with the US State Department, Commerce Department and other relevant US agencies regarding the export licensing framework for the wet lease of our suborbital vehicle. XCOR takes a very pro-active role in engaging relevant government officials and agencies in advance to help facilitate the regulatory level of certainty we need to carry out business around the globe while creating high paying jobs here at home so we may help revitalize the moribund aerospace manufacturing base in the US. The wet lease model should allow us to address these issues and ensure America’s technology leadership in space continues in the best interests of our citizens, nation, and the men and women serving our country around the world.”
XCOR Aerospace of Mojave, California 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. XCOR is working with aerospace prime contractors and government customers on major propulsion systems, and concurrently building the Lynx, a piloted, two-seat, fully reusable, liquid rocket powered suborbital vehicle that takes off and lands horizontally and serves research & scientific missions and private spaceflight. The Lynx production models (designated Lynx Mark II) are designed to be robust, multi-mission commercial vehicles capable of flying to 100+ km in altitude up to four times per day and are being offered on a wet lease basis. www.xcor.com.
Space Expedition Curaçao (SXC) was founded in 2008 to lead the world in providing commercial space launch facilities and suborbital flight services from the Caribbean island of Curaçao. SXC intends to offer suborbital space tourism flights and scientific research missions out of Space Port Curaçao. SXC is led by its four founders and Managing Partners, former Royal Netherlands Air Force Chief of Staff, Ben Droste; active Royal Netherlands Air Force F-16 pilot, Harry van Hulten; and successful entrepreneurs and business partners Michiel Mol and Maarten Elshove. General Droste (retired) also led the Netherlands Agency for Aerospace Programs (NIVR), the precursor of today’s Netherlands Space Office, and NASA’s counterpart in the Netherlands and was Professor and Dean of the Aerospace Faculty at the prestigious Delft University of Technology. Major Harry van Hulten, is a graduate of the US Air Force Test Pilot School at Edwards Air Force Base, was assigned to Edwards AFB as an F-16 test pilot, and is involved in the F-35 program for the Netherlands Air Force, the lead international customer for this fifth generation US fighter aircraft. Harry is also a distinguished former Yugoslavia and Afghanistan veteran. He has a special dispensation to participate as a founding Managing Partner of SXC while performing his military duties. Michiel Mol is founder and Chairman of Lost Boys International, founder of Guerrilla Games, Media Republic, Flogs International, partner in MM Ventures, and co-owner of the Force India Formula One team. Maarten Elshove, a trained lawyer, reformed banker, and practicing entrepreneur, founded Maxcredible, a credit card management software firm that he successfully sold prior to starting MM Ventures with Mr Mol. www.spacexc.com.