Meanwhile, Over in Mojave….

With all the focus on festivities at Spaceport America, this video was overlooked. The Air Force’s Everyday Sci-Fi show visits Mojave where blogger Derek Nye gets a tour of XCOR Aerospace and watches Dave Masten launch a Xombie.

Cecil Field Could Get Additional Public Funds for Space Tourism Development

Cecil Field in Jacksonville.

The Jacksonville Daily record reports that the North Florida Transportation Planning Organization is considered a move to formally support the development of space tourism at Cecil Field in Jacksonville:

If it meets eligibility requirements, the backing would mean the transportation projects associated with the development could receive North Florida TPO allocated dollars.


XCOR-Curacao Lease Deal Worth $25 Million

XCOR's Lynx suborbital vehicle

A few additional details on the XCOR-Curacao deal, courtesy of The Wall Street Journal:

The latest such effort, slated to be announced Tuesday, is a nearly $25-million agreement between start-up space-plane maker XCOR of Mojave, Ca., a group of Dutch investors and the government of Curacao.

XCOR officials said they are currently in discussions with a number of prospective European partners. “We’ve received a lot of inquiries from around the world,” said Andrew Nelson, XCOR’s chief operating officer, including “a coupe of different locations in Europe.” The company declined to elaborate.

Read the full WSJ story.

XCOR Signs MOU to Fly Lynx Spacecraft from Dutch Antilles

The spaceport terminal in Curaçao should give the one in New Mexico a run for its money.

As first reported on Parabolic Arc back in May, XCOR has been negotiating with Space Experience Curaçao to fly its Lynx suborbital vehicle from the resort island in the Netherlands Antilles. On Monday, the company announced the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding to do exactly that beginning in January 2014, contingent upon export approval by the U.S. government.


XCOR Now Has Flyable Lynx Configuration

A schlieren image of the Lynx supersonic wind tunnel model at mach 4.0, 10 degree angle of attack at the NASA MSFC supersonic wind tunnel in Huntsville, AL.

Wind Tunnel Tests Clear Lynx Stability Mods
Aviation Week

XCOR Aerospace is finalizing the structure of the Lynx suborbital spacecraft following the completion of primary supersonic wind tunnel tests that confirmed design changes to increase stability.


XCOR Reaches Milestone With Completion of Primary Wind Tunnel Testing

A schlieren image of the Lynx supersonic wind tunnel model at mach 4.0, 10 degree angle of attack at the NASA MSFC supersonic wind tunnel in Huntsville, AL.


XCOR Aerospace, Inc. announced today they have completed the primary supersonic wind tunnel testing of the Lynx suborbital spacecraft. The tests were performed at NASA Marshall Space Flight Center (MSFC) using a precision scale model and demonstrated the integrity of the Lynx aerodynamic shape and provided data to make final refinements to the vehicle. These new data provide confidence that the Lynx aerodynamic shape will have stable and controllable flight throughout the range of Mach numbers and angles of attack needed for the Lynx mission.


Video: The Lynx Cockpit

XCOR’s Lee Valentine gave Parabolic Arc a tour of an engineering test version of the Lynx cockpit during the Plane Crazy Rockets R Us open house at the Mojave Air and Space Port on Saturday.

Space Florida to Invest $1 Million to Support Reusable Suborbital Launch Provider – Updated

Edward Ellegood of the FLORIDA SPACErePORT says that the Space Florida board has been busy this week:

The Space Florida board approved the following investments: up to $1M in financial support for a reusable launch vehicle company; up to 30% of the estimated $2.9 million cost for Starfighters Aerospace to procure multiple F-104 jet aircraft from Italy; and $2 million over three years to match the FAA’s investment in research at a proposed Center of Excellence for Commercial Space Transportation (Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University has teamed with Space Florida to establish this Center at the Cape Canaveral Spaceport).

The suborbital company was not named, but my guess is that it is XCOR Aerospace. The company is building its first Lynx vehicle at its facility in Mojave, Calif. Florida has licensed spaceports at Cape Canaveral and in Jacksonville.


XCOR, ULA Team Up to Develop New Engine Technology

XCOR's Mark Street makes an adjustment to a fitting on the pump apparatus prior to an LH2 test.


XCOR Aerospace, the developer of the Lynx, a manned suborbital spacecraft and related technologies, and United Launch Alliance (ULA), the primary launch services provider to the US Government, announced the first successful demonstration of XCOR’s long life, high performance piston pump technology with liquid hydrogen.


Armadillo’s Carmack Snipes at Rivals, Threatens to Steal Their Engineers

Fresh off a cash infusion from new partner Space Adventures, Armadillo Aerospace CEO John Carmack spent some time this weekend sniping at rivals during the NSS International Space Development Conference in Chicago. Jeff Foust reports in The Space Review:

Carmack generated a little bit of controversy when he compared Armadillo’s efforts with those by competing suborbital developers. Virgin Galactic, he suggested, would not be able to fly as cheaply as Armadillo; Virgin currently charges $200,000 for a ticket while Space Adventures is asking for about half that, $102,000. “I think they have explicitly not chosen the most cost effective solution on this,” Carmack said. “I don’t think they will be able to compete on price, eventually, but some people will prefer their experience.”


Greason: Congressional Debate on NASA’s Future Must Be Based on Facts

Delivering ISDC’s luncheon speech on Friday, XCOR CEO and Augustine Committee member Jeff Greason expressed his exasperation over the policy debate going on in Congress, his hope that Congress would kill an unaffordable Constellation program, and gave some prescriptions for how the United States should move ahead in exploring the cosmos.

A compilation of Tweets from Jeff Foust (@jeff_foust) and the FAA’s Ken Davidian (@cswicki):

Augustine Committee & Congressional Debate

  • Greason, talking about Augustine Cmte: to my surprise some people paid attention to the report this time. (@jeff_foust)
  • Greason: utterly dismayed by space policy debate so far. Need discussion based on facts, but that is not happening in Congress. (@jeff_foust)
  • The discussion to date is “baby wants his rattle back.” The budget for Constellation was just made up. (@cswiki)


XCOR on a Roll

XCOR's Lynx suborbital vehicle

XCOR CEO Jeff Greason gave two talks on Friday at the ISDC . The first, which dealt with the company’s business prospects, seems to have been quite upbeat. The other, a luncheon talk about the current debate in Congress over NASA’s human spaceflight plan, was decidedly less so.

Here, the good news…


XCOR, Masten Space Systems Form Strategic Partnership for Lander Work

Masten Space Systems' 'Xoie' lunar lander.

May 25, 2010

XCOR Aerospace and Masten Space Systems, two of the leaders in the New Space sector, have announced a strategic business and technology relationship to pursue jointly the anticipated NASA sponsored unmanned lander projects.

These automated lander programs are expected to serve as robotic test beds on Earth, on the lunar surface, Mars, near Earth objects and other interplanetary locales, helping NASA push the boundaries of technology and opening the solar system for future human exploration.