A small California aerospace company has just 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.
“We have designed this vehicle to operate much like a commercial aircraft. Its liquid fuel engines will provide the enhanced safety, durability, reliability and maintainability that keep operating costs low,” Greason said. “These engines will also minimize the impact of these flights on the environment,” Greason added. “They are fully reusable, burn cleanly, and release fewer particulates than solid fuel or hybrid rocket motors.”
“Lynx will be the ‘Greatest Ride Off Earth,’” said XCOR test pilot, former pilot astronaut and Space Shuttle commander, Col. Rick Searfoss (USAF-Ret.). “The acceleration, the weightlessness, and the view will provide you with an experience that is out of this world. And the best part of it all is that you’ll ride right up front, like a co-pilot, instead of in back, like cargo.”
XCOR has nine years’ experience developing reliable, reusable and non-toxic rocket propulsion systems and has already built and flown two different rocket-powered vehicles. The firm designed, built and flew a rocket propulsion system on its record-setting EZ-Rocket aircraft. The XCOR team then developed a more powerful engine with an advanced pump-fed fuel system for a larger aircraft now being flight-tested for a commercial customer.
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