XCOR Releases Statement About Layoffs

Lynx engine hot fire. (Credit: XCOR)
Lynx engine hot fire. (Credit: XCOR)


Midland, May 31, 2016

Following recent breakthroughs in the effort of developing safer, cost-effective, sustainable, reliable and instantly reusable rocket engines for XCOR’s Lynx and other launchers, XCOR Aerospace announced earlier today that it has decided to focus the majority of its resources on the final development of the revolutionary liquid oxygen and liquid hydrogen (LH2) program. This innovative propulsion technology has applications to upper stage liquid hydrogen engines suitable for the Atlas V, Delta IV, and the planned NASA Space Launch System (SLS) and further underscores the partnership between XCOR and ULA, USA’s premier launch services provider that was announced March 9 this year.

“Based on the immediate engine opportunities presented to us, we decided we needed to fully focus on the LH2 program for the forthcoming period”, said Jay Gibson, President and CEO of XCOR Aerospace. .“Given that we remain a small-scale company, we are planning to place more emphasis on fine-tuning the hydrogen engine program to achieve an optimal closed loop system for cryogenic rocket engines. We are convinced that this effort will ensure that XCOR is better positioned to finish the Lynx Project in a more efficient, reliable and safer manner. Instantly Reusable Launch Vehicles will make the edge of space accessible for everyone and our efforts with ULA on the LH2 propulsion systems will do the same for deep space.”

XCOR will continue to keep working from both the Mojave and Midland locations.

Editor’s Note: XCOR just laid off about two dozen people. It is customary in these kinds of statements to acknowledge the cuts, express regret that they were required, and thank the departing employees for their service.

XCOR’s problem is — and has always been — funding. There wasn’t enough of it to keep the Lynx staff intact, which is why most of them were laid off.

There are enough people left with Lynx knowledge to restart the program at a future time. However, XCOR would need to raise money to do so, and then hire new engineers and get them up to speed on an unique vehicle. From that perspective, XCOR won’t really be in a better position as a result of this decision.



  • ToOrbit


  • ThomasLMatula

    They probably wouldn’t have even release this if you hadn’t broken the story Friday. Good work!

  • P.K. Sink

    “XCOR won’t really be in a better position as a result of this decision.”

    A positive cash flow wouldn’t hurt.

  • Douglas Messier

    Sure. And more time to perfect the engine would be great. Putting together a team and getting it up to speed….not so much. They lost people with many human years of experience in building the vehicle.

  • P.K. Sink

    I wonder how Jeff and the gang’s new gig is working out? XCOR may be able to lure them back at some point.

  • Stu

    Wow, that press release managed to omit all the pertinent facts. I think that it probably pushed the boundary between omission and dishonesty.

  • Christoph Michael Webb

    Lots of talent from the Lynx program left for various reasons before this happened

  • mzungu

    One reason could be that they found out the vehicle is grossly over-weighted, and won’t go as high as planned with that engine. It would not be the 1st plane to gain weight during the 1st build… specially for guys that are building their 1st plane.

    Or something else… It was strange to see that they are still doing their aero testing with that modified truck, this late in the construction….

  • duheagle

    Well, they’re nothing if not confident SOB’s. The new business plan seems to be to join ULA in sticking a fork into AJR. Undercut AJR’s pricing on the RL-10 (not much of a problem) and go for something drop-in replacement-ish. The bit about SLS was particularly fun. Between this shot across AJR’s bow and Orbital’s toying with the idea of developing a vehicle to compete with SpaceX and ULA for national security launches it looks as though everyone’s rice bowls are now up for grabs.

  • Obediah Headstrong

    And so exit XCORs Lynx. Private funding remains a hazardous thing.

  • Steve Ksiazek

    Lynx needs funding, and there are only 2 ways to get there. Find a billionaire to gift them funding, or find an extremely profitable line of business that funds the rest of the company. Let’s hope their engine works out.

  • ThomasLMatula

    I don’t think its a question of luring them back. This has all the appearance of them, and their supporters, be shown the door by investors who have their own ideas of where the firm should be going.

    I am sure Jeff Greason and the others would like to take their company back, but lacking a deep pocket investors to support them that is unlikely.

  • P.K. Sink

    Or do both, like SpaceX is doing. Planetary Resources and DSI have figured that out too.

  • ThomasLMatula

    Not surprising given the background of the new management. Jay Gibson is a former Undersecretary of Defense who used to hand out big contracts to those Old Space firms, and who may be doing so again under another Republican Administration. Add in they also have the former President/CEO of ULA (Michael Gass) on their board and they clearly have strong connections, so their confidence is understandable.


    Indeed, I wouldn’t be surprise to see XCOR become part of ULA, Boeing or Lockheed in the near future. They have a lot of IP in engines for those firms to mine out.

  • P.K. Sink

    Yeah, I was kinda joking. It’s ironic that Jeff and the gang have started a business as expert consultants in fast development. I have great respect for them, and I wish them the best of luck. But I’m afraid that they may be seeking employment down the road.

  • HyperJ

    Yes, the irony is pretty thick there.

  • Stu

    Sad that new space is really just the same old greedy pork-barelling bastards as old space.

  • savuporo

    Actually .. there is plenty of funding for all kinds of stuff to go around, including space. But investors actually do evaluate their prospects and tend to put money where they believe a chance of success with the given team and a chance of good payoff.

  • duheagle

    I think one can safely say that XCOR ceased being NewSpace when the new regime consolidated its takeover.