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XCOR Lynx spaceplane updates

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Posted

XCOR background info:

XCOR Aerospace has been in the aerospace business since 1999. They're headquartered at the Mojave Spaceport just down the tarmac from Virgin Galactic and their specialty is re-usable liquid fueled rocket engines.

A big project is a joint-venture with Boeing to develop a very low cost 30,000 lb-f/30 kilo-Newton 2nd stage liquid hydrogen engine for boosters that could easily be scaled way up. They have also developed a reciprocating piston liquid hydrogen pump that could further cut booster costs by replacing the very expensive turbo-pumps currently in use. Lots of interested parties for that one.

Then there is the project that is starting to get a lot of attention, and customers for when it flies - the Lynx suborbital spaceplane. Lynx is on one hand like SpaceShipTwo, and on the other hand very different.

SS2 - Lynx comparisons:

SS2 is 60ft/18.29m long with a 27ft/8.23m wingspan.

Lynx is 30ft/9m long with a 24ft/7.5m wingspan

SS2 is launched from the White Knight Two mothership at 50,000 feet.

Lynx takes off directly from the ground, requiring a very short runway.

SS2 uses a hybrid solid/liquid engine; rubber fuel, nitrous oxide oxidizer.

Lynx uses 4 re-usable liquid rocket engines; kerosene fuel, liquid oxygen oxidizer.

SS2 carries 6 passengers and a crew of 2.

Lynx carries 0-1 passengers and a crew of 1.

SS2 passengers will pay $200,000 at first

Lynx passengers will pay about $100,000 at first

SS2 passengers will be able to de-seat and float around and look out through portholes.

Lynx passengers will have to remain seated, but the cockpit has a panoramic view.

SS2 can only fly from spaceports with a runway capable of handling White Knight Two and refurbing its hybrid engine

Lynx can fly from short runways, and the fuel/liquid oxygen handling can be done using a portable cart.

SS2 can carry internal experiments and mount external micro-satellite size payloads.

Lynx can do the same, but it can also launch small orbital satellites from a Dorsal Pod on its back, or even carry small telescopes for missions like NASA's Sophia flying telescope - but much higher.

These missions are not theoretical - they are sold missions and Lynx is very, very real!

This is for Neoadorable: they are working on a larger, orbital, Lynx-like vehicle that will also take off from a runway, but using a fly-back booster.

Pics below with appropriate labeling -

Flight profile animation

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IoEdEgf96YY

Lynx spaceplane

lynx-1.jpg

Lynx cutaway

Lynx-cutaway.jpg

Lynx cockpit cutaway - payloads

Lynx-cockpit.jpg

Lynx with Payload Pod

Lynx-payloadpod.jpg

Lynx launching satellite (or ??) from the Dorsal Pod

Lynx-payloadlaunch.jpg

Lynx with telescope in Dorsal Pod

Lynx-telescope.jpg

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Posted

thanks a lot for this Doc, you have made my day with the Lynx Mk II. this is indeed a step in the right direction, so we can prove to you that the future is indeed the Valkyrie rather than your beloved rockets :laugh: thanks also for the highlight and personal shout-out, very much appreciated. please do keep us informed on these guys, i even love the winking lynx logo, very awesome, and looks like they have the right idea. i just hope they have the funding and resources to make it real in the next few years.

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Posted

Few years? The first bird is under construction, the engines are done and test flights are scheduled for late 2011 through early 2012. Commercial ops should start in late 2012.

Other news -

Lynx to fly Planetary Science Institute (PSI) Atsa telescope....

Lynx to fly 8 Southwest Research Institute (SwRI) missions....

http://www.swri.org/

XCOR selects world-wide payload integrators....

http://www.psi.edu/

>

The first group of XCOR Lynx payload integration specialist firms include the following (in alphabetical order): the African Space Institute of Durban, South Africa; Cosmica Spacelines of Toulouse, France; NanoRacks of Lexington, Kentucky and Washington, D.C.; the Southwest Research Institute (SwRI) in Boulder, Colorado; Space Chariots in Oxon, England; Space Experience Cura

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Posted

Aero News videos of XCOR's Jeff Greason reviewing Lynx development. Sorry about their ads, but you can fast-forward past them.

Part I covers Lynx development

Part 2 talks a bit about their plans for an orbital system

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Posted

A little older video; one of the engineers discusses the cockpit mockup

Another engineer discusses the 3,000 lb-f engine; Lynx has 4. TINY!!

Engine test

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Posted

thanks for these, but my joy is mitigated by the small scale of this ship...650Kg? my Valkyrie is supposed to heft 65 tons... :unsure:

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Posted

Evolutionary steps - prove the concept (ex: SpaceX's Falcon I) then scale it up (Falcon Heavy). In conventional aviation this would be the evolution from a DC-3 to the A380.

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Posted

as usual you are right...XCOR builds an SSTO that can lift 1200 pounds now, proves it works for a few years, then we go up to several tons...then a couple decades later we got a proper SSTO. thanks as always for the reality check!

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Posted

skydiving seems so yesterday compared to sub orbital flights lol

Few years? The first bird is under construction, the engines are done and test flights are scheduled for late 2011 through early 2012. Commercial ops should start in late 2012.

* adds sub orbital flights to - to do before i die list

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Posted

Proper term is Bucket List - as in before you kick said bucket ;)

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Posted

XCOR is finally done designing and getting a bird ready to fly later this year.

Flight Global....

reveals Lynx test schedule

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Posted

heh heh how come you didn't conveniently highlight the best parts, as always? so when is she flying up? give me the bottom line here Doc!

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Posted

Test flights this fall, operational late this year or early next. (best guess barring problems)

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Posted

good news, i hope the schedule works out and we get another viable spaceplane platform. the more the merrier as i always say!

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Posted

Link....

XCOR Aerospace Closes $5 Million Round of Investment Capital

XCOR Aerospace reports that it recently closed a $5 million round of equity funding. The round, combined with cash on hand plus anticipated and existing contracts should fund the company through production of its Lynx Mark I Suborbital vehicle.

The financing included participation of new and previous investors. Among them are Esther Dyson, Pete Ricketts (co-owner of the Chicago Cubs) and several top Silicon Valley entrepreneurs and former venture capitalists.

"We have chosen to announce this wonderful news at the Next Generation Suborbital Researchers Conference here in Silicon Valley because we believe the future of commercial space access will be driven by enterprise customers like the attendees here [today]," said Andrew Nelson, XCOR's Chief Operating Officer.

He added, "This investment represents a vote of trust and confidence in the markets represented by NSRC participants."

Jeff Greason, Founder and CEO of XCOR noted, "I believe we were able to raise funds in these trying economic times because XCOR has demonstrated compelling value to investors and customers. Our $60-plus Million backlog of orders for Lynx suborbital vehicles, flights on Lynx, and our unique reusable non-toxic rocket engines gives the investor community reason to take notice."

As part of this financing, XCOR is also happy to announce a reformulated Board of Directors. The directors include newcomer Esther Dyson, former venture capitalist Stephen Fleming, Chairman of the Space Studies Institute Dr. Lee Valentine, and company founders Jeff Greason and Dan DeLong.

Ms Dyson is well known for her perceptive early investments in the Internet, software and social media industries, her service on private and public corporate boards and foundations, and for leading NASA's Technology and Innovation Advisory Council.

Mr Fleming is a former general partner at the venture capital firm of ATV Partners and is now Vice President at Georgia Tech where he leads the Enterprise Innovation Institute. Dr Valentine is well known in the commercial space community for his leadership of the Space Studies Institute and his work with many early stage startup companies.

Work proceeds on the Lynx suborbital vehicle at XCOR. With the recent receipt of the Lynx Mark I fuselage, the continued testing of the liquid oxygen and kerosene propulsion system, the fielding of the non-toxic high performance bi-propellant reaction control system, and the recent release of request for quotes for the cockpit pressure vessel and wing strakes, XCOR is getting ever closer to first flight.

"While the recent and unprecedented disruptions in the capital markets have impacted every fledgling aerospace company, XCOR has weathered the storm and in 2011 we had our best year ever from a revenue and profitability perspective. And while the difficulties of the last few years have delayed the Lynx, we're excited about the challenges ahead.

"There is a lot of work and sizable risk in front of us, but XCOR continues its uncompromising commitment to safety and excellence. We remain focused on delivering our customers the coolest rocket plane on the planet," said Nelson.

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Posted

this is the way suborbital should get done, not by space agencies. But that doesn't sound like a lot of money.

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Posted

XCOR's system is being designed to be economical to build and fly, and it's all they figured they needed. Jeff Greason is no amateur - he speaks & everyone listens..

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Posted

I know he's very much respected. I hope we can see more results from them soon, they are he right people for this job, not NASA.

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Posted

From the Spacecraft Technology Expo

- Mk. I fuselage delivered

- Planning first flight at end of 2012 or early 2013

- Mk. II has composite LOX tanks, which enables apogee increase to >100 km

- Mk. III can support external payloads, such as telescopes or nanosatellite launchers

Cockpit simulator for Lynx Mk. I -

post-347280-0-86532800-1336524986.jpg

post-347280-0-30775600-1336524996.jpg

post-347280-0-56879800-1336525016.jpg

post-347280-0-85779000-1336525025.jpg

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Posted

Again from Space Technology Expo. Looks like the wind tunnel work Greason talked about made for major changes -

lynxmk1-1.jpg

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Posted

Aviation Week....

XCOR Lynx Mark I Taking Shape In Mojave

Four years after the rocket-powered Lynx project was unveiled at the Los Angeles Convention Center, the presence here of a full-scale vehicle mockup at the Spacecraft Technology Expo reveals two fundamental truths about the

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Posted

An interview with Jeff Greason, XCOR boss and a Burt Rutan style aeronautical genius. A lot of people would love it if he were appointed King of NASA.

In it he discusses how XCOR got started, and at the end some tidbits about their project after Lynx: a runway launch/landing 2 stage winged launcher with stages that would fly back to the launch site, and fly multiple missions a day.

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Posted

Glad to be watching the birth of the commercial space industry, but I can't help but wish I was born a hundred years into the future. Being 38, I doubt space flight will become affordable/viable for the middle-class within my lifetime.

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Posted

You may well be very wrong.

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Posted

You may well be very wrong.

I hope you're right. I would love a tour around the moon :)

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