Author Topic: XCOR and the Lynx rocket  (Read 347731 times)

Offline Jim

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Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
« Reply #1160 on: 07/10/2017 02:55 PM »
Not really their style. ULA is very much the "outsource everything" model used by Orbital, rather than pull things in house.

No, ULA does more in-house than Orbital

Online TrevorMonty

Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
« Reply #1161 on: 07/10/2017 03:54 PM »
Would ULA buy the IP and carry on the development inhouse?.

Offline Katana

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Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
« Reply #1162 on: 07/10/2017 04:12 PM »
Would ULA buy the IP and carry on the development inhouse?.
Kill XCOR for IP?
Apart from any moral/legal considerations, ULA could save little on an engine already dirt cheap.

BTW, which engine has ULA chosen instead? BE-3U is too massive for RL-10 replacements.

Offline Lars-J

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Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
« Reply #1163 on: 07/10/2017 05:56 PM »
Would ULA buy the IP and carry on the development inhouse?.

The assumption by many seems to be that this engine technology was the "next great thing". What if it wasn't, and it just wasn't working out? If so, why should they feel compelled to buy the IP?

Offline Lars-J

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Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
« Reply #1164 on: 07/10/2017 05:58 PM »
Would ULA buy the IP and carry on the development inhouse?.
Kill XCOR for IP?
Apart from any moral/legal considerations, ULA could save little on an engine already dirt cheap.

BTW, which engine has ULA chosen instead? BE-3U is too massive for RL-10 replacements.

Not for ACES, which is what they engine choice is for. (They will be clustering many RL-10's or a single/dual BE-3U) And just because RL-10 has pretty anemic thrust doesn't mean that this is the most optimal solution. Isp is not everything.
« Last Edit: 07/10/2017 05:59 PM by Lars-J »

Offline Propylox

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Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
« Reply #1165 on: 07/12/2017 07:09 PM »
(to my question on the likelyhood of XCOR or other defunct startups consolidating)
Putting together multiple failed or failing companies almost always equals a bigger failure.
In the case of XCOR, a lot of the key people already left some time ago, and they have new things they're up to now.  It seems unlikely you'd be able to reassemble substantially the same team.
(to T.Monty's question on ULA purchasing the IP)
The assumption by many seems to be that this engine technology was the "next great thing". What if it wasn't, and it just wasn't working out? If so, why should they feel compelled to buy the IP?

As many have said, knowledgeable individuals can be more important than the IP. But XCOR did have promising IP - their composite LOX tanks and piston pumps. Similarily Armadillo (now EXOS) has no people left, but their flight control IP remains relevant and valuable. Not sure if Firefly had any worthwhile IP, just people.

Is it possible these IP offshoots could be integrated into a startup that still has personel, like Masten, rather than sit idle under investors or be bought and mothballed by larger companies? Could XCOR's IP find temporary residence as an investment portfolio (like EXOS) while awaiting development interest?
« Last Edit: 07/12/2017 07:12 PM by Propylox »

Offline Space Ghost 1962

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Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
« Reply #1166 on: 07/12/2017 09:43 PM »
(to my question on the likelyhood of XCOR or other defunct startups consolidating)
Putting together multiple failed or failing companies almost always equals a bigger failure.
In the case of XCOR, a lot of the key people already left some time ago, and they have new things they're up to now.  It seems unlikely you'd be able to reassemble substantially the same team.
(to T.Monty's question on ULA purchasing the IP)
The assumption by many seems to be that this engine technology was the "next great thing". What if it wasn't, and it just wasn't working out? If so, why should they feel compelled to buy the IP?

As many have said, knowledgeable individuals can be more important than the IP. But XCOR did have promising IP - their composite LOX tanks and piston pumps. Similarily Armadillo (now EXOS) has no people left, but their flight control IP remains relevant and valuable. Not sure if Firefly had any worthwhile IP, just people.

Is it possible these IP offshoots could be integrated into a startup that still has personel, like Masten, rather than sit idle under investors or be bought and mothballed by larger companies? Could XCOR's IP find temporary residence as an investment portfolio (like EXOS) while awaiting development interest?

Nope.

Chris Wilson's comment says it all.

None of this stuff transfers/combines well.

Offline Elmar Moelzer

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Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
« Reply #1167 on: 07/12/2017 10:01 PM »
And sometimes founders have no clue about the business, or their ideas don't work out. It's convenient to blame the XCOR problems on those darn investors, but I would suggest that the majority of the problems with XCOR came from the founders.

Every company at some points is handed off from the founders to new leadership. If that hand off is not successful, that tends to indicate that the company is run more off the force of personality of the founders rather than a sound business model.

I don't know the exact details of what happened here, but this idea that XCOR was running fine and the villainous investors sabotaged the good company that the good saint Greason founded is not a credible one. The truth is somewhere in between.
As I said, founders often are overly optimistic with their estimates for schedules and cost and that leads to conflict with investors. I am not saying that it is all the fault of the investors, just that it is (pretty much) never a good sign when founders leave a company or worse are forced to leave it. I said that when it happened at XCOR and it happened pretty much exactly as I predicted.

Offline john smith 19

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Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
« Reply #1168 on: 07/15/2017 09:10 AM »
As many have said, knowledgeable individuals can be more important than the IP. But XCOR did have promising IP - their composite LOX tanks and piston pumps. Similarily Armadillo (now EXOS) has no people left, but their flight control IP remains relevant and valuable. Not sure if Firefly had any worthwhile IP, just people.
I'd forgotten about their composite LOX tank tech.

They didn't go into too many details publicly but it sounded pretty good.  I was a bit more doubtful on large piston pumps as John Whiteheads team reckoned above 5000lb turbines were better, and of course 5 axis CNC is now much more widely available than it used to be. 
"Solids are a branch of fireworks, not rocketry. :-) :-) ", Henry Spencer 1/28/11  Averse to bold? You must be in marketing."It's all in the sequencing" K. Mattingly.  STS-Keeping most of the stakeholders happy most of the time.

Online FutureSpaceTourist

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Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
« Reply #1169 on: 07/19/2017 11:49 AM »
Quote
Former XCOR CEO blames company problems on lost contract
by Jeff Foust — July 19, 2017

WASHINGTON — The former chief executive of XCOR Aerospace told a Senate committee July 18 that the company’s recent financial problems, which led to a layoff of all of its employees last month, could be blamed on a terminated engine development contract. [...]

spacenews.com/former-xcor-ceo-blames-company-problems-on-lost-contract/

Online TrevorMonty

Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
« Reply #1170 on: 07/19/2017 03:37 PM »
With all their eggs in one basket they were vunerable. As CEO for two years he had plenty of time to find other revenue streams using his company's skilled workforce.


Online QuantumG

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Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
« Reply #1171 on: 07/20/2017 12:13 AM »
With all their eggs in one basket they were vunerable. As CEO for two years he had plenty of time to find other revenue streams using his company's skilled workforce.

Heh, they laid off everyone except the team working on that one project.
Jeff Bezos has billions to spend on rockets and can go at whatever pace he likes! Wow! What pace is he going at? The slowest possible.

Offline Space Ghost 1962

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Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
« Reply #1172 on: 07/20/2017 01:39 AM »
A typical "place holder" CEO role. Focus on the one contract, do nothing else. Insanely reductionist.

Except that the one contract's customer quickly discovers that also, and is acutely aware of the vulnerability.

Wouldn't matter the collateral/technology/costing of the contract deliverable, its that you're now dependent on a subcontractor/supplier that has one foot in the grave, the other on a banana peel. Whoops!

No one would invest in such. No one would partner with such. No one would want such a supplier.

Back in the 80's, Lockheed asked one of my firms to do a unique job supporting a unique platform. Had considerable concerns about it (the numbers didn't add), but another firm that worked with them (Martin) separately asked me to look it over, so I agreed to, but got behind on signing the agreements with another significant deal to close.

Got a call abruptly from their legal side attempting to compel action on the deal, as they'd assumed the contract was signed. Then sent back the unsigned documents to the executive in charge, and never took their calls (including the Martin one).

Learned the story later - they'd "consumed" multiple firms serially in attempting to supplement in house development by relying on such a "single product" from a supplier, where "product support" was really "repair my bad judgement in selecting a too good deal from a too small firm". They ended up swallowing it as a dead loss.

Business is business. You have to have the resources and other firms to play with the big guys. When you don't, you can't.

Offline Propylox

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Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
« Reply #1173 on: 07/20/2017 07:37 AM »
Former XCOR CEO blames company problems on lost contract
by Jeff Foust — July 19, 2017
spacenews.com/former-xcor-ceo-blames-company-problems-on-lost-contract/
His response seemed a lot of CYA by blaming the company rather than admit his failed leadership of it.
Quote
Sen. Jack Reed (D-R.I.), the ranking member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, asked Gibson about the “financial difficulties” experienced by past companies he was involved with and the lessons he took from them ...”
Gibson, at his confirmation hearing, said he knew going into the job more than two years ago, at the request of XCOR’s board of directors, that it would be a challenging job, calling the company “messy” and “high-risk.” He said he was warned by some of his friends when he took the job that the company “may not make it six months.”

With all their eggs in one basket they were vunerable. As CEO for two years he had plenty of time to find other revenue streams using his company's skilled workforce.
And yet he killed the Racers, counted beans and folded the company once another job became available.

... I was a bit more doubtful on large piston pumps as John Whiteheads team reckoned above 5000lb turbines were better...
Per their website; "The (pump's) components are all rated to run at 6,000 rpm, but (the 1,500 lb thrust XR-4K14 engine) does not come near to reaching that potential. Instead the pump speed is less than 900 rpm.  Therefore, this pump can be turned faster to supply propellants to a much larger rocket engine."
https://xcor.com/propulsion/piston-pumps/
I can't claim the pump's ceiling, but 6,000 lb thrust doesn't seem extraordinary.
« Last Edit: 07/20/2017 07:39 AM by Propylox »

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