CORRECTION: The original headline and story erroneously referred to the 2013 flight as a slip. XCOR has actually been talking about flying in late 2012 or early 2013 for the past six months or so. For example, Andrew Nelson had said so in a Q&A during recent Congressional testimony. The headline and the text have been altered to reflect the correction. I regret the error.
XCOR test engineer Geoffrey Licciardello made the comment in a Q&A session during the LA SpaceUp event on Saturday. He said it is taking longer to build the two-person vehicle than expected and that there have been delays in getting components from suppliers. Officials have been saying “late 2012 or early 2013” since announcing a tentative time line, with the caveat that any date is subject to change.
The first few flights will be short hops off the runway at the Mojave Air and Space Port in California. The Lynx Mark I prototype will reach an altitude of 62 kilometers (203,000 feet). Based on test flights, XCOR will build a production models called Lynx Mark II capable of reaching 100 kilometers (330,000 feet). A derivative Lynx Mark II called Lynx Mark III will have a dorsal pod that will carry outsided payloads or a rocket to launch micro-satellites.