Space 2013: A Very Busy Year Lies Ahead in Mojave

old_mojave_tower_snowI had only two wishes for Christmas. Can you guess what they were?

A trip to Hawaii? Well, yes. But, that really wasn’t—

Winning a $100 million lottery jackpot? That would have been great, to0. But…any other guesses?

The Eagles winning the Super Bowl? No, I gave up on that waaay before Christmas. I mean, what the hell happened?!

OK. Since you’re way off, I’ll just tell you: My two wishes for Christmas were to see SpaceShipTwo in powered flight and the Lynx making its first runway hop from the Mojave Air and Space Port by the end of the 2012.

Neither of these wishes came true. Which means 2013 –best known thus far as the year not wiped out by the Mayan apocalypse — just got a whole lot better.

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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.











XCOR to Unveil New Partner, “Substantially Lower Price” for Space Tourism Flights

XCOR PRESS RELEASE

On Tuesday, December 2, XCOR Aerospace, builder of the 2-seat Lynx rocket-powered suborbital launch vehicle, is introducing its General Sales Agent for ticket sales and will announce a price that is substantially lower than prices quoted by leading competitors.

XCOR will introduce its new partner, a well-known and established travel entrepreneur with extensive experience in high-end adventure travel, who will outline the total Lynx flight experience, from initial screening, to training, and finally, the flight itself.

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XCOR: Space Travel to Only Cost Tens of Thousands Within 12 Years

The Bakersfield Californian interviewed XCOR COO Andrew Nelson and Business Development Manager Rich Pournelle about space tourism.

Q. How long do you think it will be before space travel is as accessible as commercial flights are to the population now?

A. Nelson: There’s various studies out there. We’ve looked at this one study, called the Futuron study, which said by 2020, there’s an expectation pricing could be down to $50,000, $55,000. I think that’s overshooting it a bit. Competition has an amazing way of driving down price. We’ve built a vehicle we feel is very low cost to operate, more so than our announced competitors.

Pournelle: When space travel gets to the price that people pay for a luxury car, that becomes reachable to a much larger audience.











Esther Dyson Backing XCOR Tourism Vehicle

The Antelope Valley Press has an interesting piece on financier and space enthusiast Esther Dyson, who is one of the angel investors backing XCOR Aerospace’s Lynx space tourism vehicle.

“This is a very real-world company. It’s not out here making wide-eyed promises,” Dyson told the Press.

Dyson, founder of EDventure Holdings, has investments in Space Adventures, Zero-G Corporation, Constellation Services International, Airship Ventures and Icon Aircraft. She also helped to fund Flickr and del.icio.us, which were both sold to Yahoo!

Dyson is organizing the fourth annual Flight School, which will be held in Boulder Colorado, on June 6-8. The website describes the confab as “an executive workshop for entrepreneurs who want to identify and address major challenges facing start-ups in private aviation and commercial space.”

David Livingston of The Space Show recently interviewed Dyson. You can listen to the podcast here.











More On XCOR’s Lynx Vehicle

Rob Coppinger has posted detailed notes of his interview with XCOR’s chief engineer Dan DeLong on his Hyperbola blog. DeLong discusses the Lynx Mk. 1’s technical details and flight profile. He also provides information about the more powerful Mk. 2 version.











Lynx vs. Virgin Galactic vs. EADS: How They Stack Up

XCOR’s announcement about its Lynx high-altitude vehicle has generated a lot of buzz about how Lynx stacks up with space tourism vehicles being developed by Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic and EADS Astrium.

Officials at the Mojave, Calif.-based XCOR say their vehicle will soar to about 200,000 feet (38 miles/61 km) beginning in 2010. Although this is below the 262,500-foot (50 mile/80 km) altitude at which the U.S. Air Force has awarded astronaut wings, the pilot and passenger would still experience about 90 seconds of weightlessness in the small cockpit of the business jet style vehicle.

The company plans to offer flights for about half the cost of Virgin Galactic, which has been selling suborbital tickets for $200,000. XCOR also plans to build a more powerful version of the Lynx that will fly to over 360,000 feet (68 miles/110 km).

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XCor Unveils the Lynx; New Vehicle Will Fly to the Edge of Space

XCOR Lynx

XCOR PRESS RELEASE

Los Angeles, March 26, 2008 – A small California aerospace company today unveiled a new suborbital spaceship that will provide affordable front-seat rides to the edge of space for the millions of people who want to buy a ticket.

The company, XCOR Aerospace, of Mojave, CA, announced that its two-seat Lynx suborbital spaceship will carry people or payloads to where they will experience weightlessness and see the stars above and the Earth and its atmosphere below. This will launch XCOR into the emerging space tourism market, estimated at over a half-billion dollars.

The Lynx will offer affordable access to space for individuals, researchers and educators,” said XCOR CEO Jeff Greason. “Future versions of Lynx will offer ever-improving capabilities for scientific and engineering research and commercial applications.

The spaceship, roughly the size of a small private airplane, will first take off in 2010 and will be capable of flying several times each day.

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Big Announcement from XCOR Next Week

XCOR Aerospace will be holding a press conference in Beverly Hills, California on Wednesday, March 26, to announce what Rand Simberg of Transterrestrial Musings will be “a significant milestone” in commercial spaceflight. Simberg says he knows what the announcement will be but has an non-disclosure agreement with the Mojave, Calif.-based rocket company. His blog is buzzing with speculation on what XCOR will announce.

Meanwhile, author Michael Belfiore has this to report over at his blog:

“A mysterious project has been underway on the XCOR shop floor behind a black curtain for some time now, and the company has been incredibly successful lately, with contracts and money rolling in faster than ever before. In fact, XCOR made Inc. magazine’s list of 500 fastest growing companies in America last year.

Are we about to witness a new private spaceship unveiled?”