Latest Images of XCOR’s Lynx Under Assembly

Chine panels being fitted to the side of the Lynx. (Credit: XCOR)
Chine panels being fitted to the side of the Lynx. (Credit: XCOR)

“You’re looking at our first fit-up of the chine panels to the sides of Lynx,” says XCOR Engineering Manager Brandon Litt.

These images are from XCOR’s September Lynx report.

Chines fitted against the side of the Lynx. (Credit: XCOR Aerospace)
Chines fitted against the side of the Lynx. (Credit: XCOR Aerospace)

The chines are pieces of aerodynamic faring that fill in the spaces between the aft side of the nose and the forward side of the strake. Inside the chines are the life support system and some of the manual controls from the rudder pedals and the stick.

“Up next, we are installing these on Lynx so that they are screwed onto the vehicle.” They will be removable in their final configuration.

Lynx nose structure. (Credit: XCOR)
Lynx nose structure. (Credit: XCOR)

The primary nose structure is now mounted to the Lynx cockpit. The nose houses several reaction control thrusters and the nose gear assembly for Lynx. Up next, we will attach the nose gear and install several of the nose gear actuation subsystems.

 Lynx cowling (Credit: XCOR)
Lynx cowling (Credit: XCOR)

The Lynx cowling has just undergone its first fit check with the rest of Lynx. The cowling will soon be trimmed to final shape and installed on the back of Lynx. The cowling covers the engine truss, pumps and helium tanks. When finished, it will be installed in a top and bottom half, each independently removable. Access doors on both the port and starboard sides (or the left- and right-hand side) allow for routine maintenance.

XCOR mechanical engineer Tony Busalacchi works on qualifying the nose gear. (Credit: XCOR)
XCOR mechanical engineer Tony Busalacchi works on qualifying the nose gear. (Credit: XCOR)

“We have to qualify the nose gear before we fly, and one of the ways we do it is with our drop test rig,” says XCOR mechanical engineer Tony Busalacchi. By applying different weights on top of the landing gear the strut is being tested for its strength and stiffness. The strut, outlined in orange, is the framework that is designed to resist compression. The different forces working on the strut are analyzed with diverse sensors.

The next step is to modify the drop test rig to allow a full up test with flight loads, and then a little beyond flight loads so that XCOR achieves its margin of safety.

Eber West works on the landing gear drop tester. (Credit: XCOR)
Eber West works on the landing gear drop tester. (Credit: XCOR)

XCOR’s Eber West sets up the spindles, where weights will be placed on top of the gear drop tester.