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Commercial and US Government Launch Vehicles => Commercial Space Flight General => Topic started by: cgrunska on 10/07/2009 07:32 pm

Title: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: cgrunska on 10/07/2009 07:32 pm
Anyone hear heard of this company? They claim to be nearing completion of a rocket that will fly like a jet to the upper bounds of the atmosphere and then launch into space, and have a methane based engine.

Just curious if they are viable
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: Robotbeat on 10/07/2009 07:50 pm
Anyone hear heard of this company? They claim to be nearing completion of a rocket that will fly like a jet to the upper bounds of the atmosphere and then launch into space, and have a methane based engine.

Just curious if they are viable

XCOR has made real rockets. I believe they made one for the Rocket Racing League (although Armadillo Aerospace has the latest one). They are using their own chassis (not a converted Gulfstream, like rocketplane kistler) as the basis for their suborbital craft. They're a real company, and they aren't a bunch of jokers. They can make rockets.

EDIT: Here's another rocket plane they made, called the EZ-Rocket:

http://www.xcor.com/products/vehicles/ez-rocket.html

As far as if their business plan is viable, well, that's certainly up to debate! Just like every business venture, no one really knows until they've been operating for a couple years with paying customers and making a profit after all is said and done. (BTW, they can have a pretty short and inexpensive turnaround time since all they have to do is refuel and change passengers, so if they had enough customers, I think they could cut their price per flight to around $10,000-$20,000)

EDIT: Someone pointed out that I was confusing Rocketplane Kistler with XCor. I changed this post to reflect reality. I blame it on an errant cosmic ray hitting my gray matter ;).
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: cgrunska on 10/07/2009 08:20 pm
ah, so they are another suborbital company like Virgin Galactic then?

The person speaking about them stated they were an alternative to NASA, and was a proponent to taking away all funding, stating commericial space access is coming along swimmingly.
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: Robotbeat on 10/07/2009 08:35 pm
ah, so they are another suborbital company like Virgin Galactic then?

The person speaking about them stated they were an alternative to NASA, and was a proponent to taking away all funding, stating commericial space access is coming along swimmingly.

As far as commercial manned space access like NASA, the only 2 companies that are really doing that are SpaceX and Orbital. (I've heard some argue that Orbital is pretty close to a typical aerospace prime like Boeing or Lockheed-Martin instead of "New Space", but that's another discussion.)  But NASA does a heck of a lot more than launch vehicles into orbit (in fact, it barely does that at all!), and SpaceX's biggest customer right now by far is NASA itself, so SpaceX really relies on NASA for funding right now.

XCor isn't doing an orbital vehicle right now. Your "friend" must either be confused or thinking of SpaceX (or possibly Orbital).
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: Antares on 10/07/2009 08:52 pm
Heard of them?  The greatest member of the Augustine Commission is the president of this company.
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: meiza on 10/07/2009 08:59 pm
Jeff Greason, who probably to the members of this forum is most familiar as a member of the Augustine panel, is the CEO of XCOR.

Since XCOR has already produced and flown two rocket powered vehicles, it's probable that the Lynx will soon fly as well.

At the moment it seems it will use kerosene, not methane as fuel.
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: savuporo on 10/08/2009 07:16 am
But NASA does a heck of a lot more than launch vehicles into orbit (in fact, it barely does that at all!),
Uh, ahem, just a little fact check here. Lions share of NASA budget goes to launching stuff, or building new launchers for future.
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: mlorrey on 10/08/2009 09:40 am
Anyone hear heard of this company? They claim to be nearing completion of a rocket that will fly like a jet to the upper bounds of the atmosphere and then launch into space, and have a methane based engine.

Just curious if they are viable

XCOR has made real rockets. I believe they made one for the Rocket Racing League (although Armadillo Aerospace has the latest one). They are using a very heavily modified Gulfstream business jet as the basis for their suborbital craft. They're a real company, and they aren't a bunch of jokers. They can make rockets.

EDIT: Here's another rocket plane they made, called the EZ-Rocket:

http://www.xcor.com/products/vehicles/ez-rocket.html

As far as if their business plan is viable, well, that's certainly up to debate! Just like every business venture, no one really knows until they've been operating for a couple years with paying customers and making a profit after all is said and done. (BTW, they can have a pretty short and inexpensive turnaround time since all they have to do is refuel and change passengers, so if they had enough customers, I think they could cut their price per flight to around $10,000-$20,000)

Sorry, your a little off base here. You dont know much about them and are making stuff up.

I've known the company since it formed in the wake of the Rotary Rocket Company collapse, their main rocket engineer is a friend of mine. I made the X-Plane simulation of their EZ-Rocket vehicle.

They've made a good amount of money over the years building engines and thruster systems for others: NASA, ATK, the Rocket Racing League, etc. They have pioneered the development of modern rocket fuel piston pumps, and their engine technology is was well demonstrated for many duty cycles of operation per day, long before Armadillo came on the scene.

Their Lynx is NOT based on a Gulfstream, you are confusing them with Kistler-Rocketplane Ltd. The Lynx is a two seat delta winged vehicle of their own design that will take off from a runway with four 2,700 lb thrust rocket engines burning LOX and Kerosene (not methane, you are confusing the Lynx engine with the XR-5M15 engine they have built for a Lunar Lander contract as part of the ATK contractor team in the NASA Constellation program (and you said they weren't making money, pfft)).

They will be competing against Virgin Galactic, but providing a lower cost AND more authentic space experience: the lone paying passenger will sit up front next to the pilot, every passenger is getting a front seat, full windshield view of space and will get to experience the full cockpit experience of launch and reentry/landing. At $98,000 a ticket, I think its a much better value than flying on Branson's flying tire fire, and more environmentally clean too, putting far less particulates in the atmosphere.

The Lynx will be able to operate from a much wider variety of airfields, enabling space tourism ventures to operate anyplace on the globe.

Based at Mojave Airfield, the Lynx development operation seems to be well along. I can't say more for confidentiality reasons.

All the above can be derived from actually going to their website and actually reading it...
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: mlorrey on 10/08/2009 09:59 am
ah, so they are another suborbital company like Virgin Galactic then?

The person speaking about them stated they were an alternative to NASA, and was a proponent to taking away all funding, stating commericial space access is coming along swimmingly.

They were probably talking about SpaceX, which has been developing its Dragon capsule for use as an unmanned space laboratory and manned vehicle long before NASA started offering COTS funding. Chairman Elon Musk is a dyed in the wool manned space fanatic. That he is eagerly obtaining NASA contracts to help multiply the leveraging of his company is simply good business sense, but unlike the prime contractors, he is in business in order to put men on mars, not to keep wall street happy.

However XCOR itself has plans beyond Lynx for its own manned space and orbital launch services, but they are taking an incrementalist approach like a flight testing program.

The EZ-Rocket was about proving operational responsiveness in a rocket plane and developing the tools and methods to achieve such reliably, not so much about the rocket engines themselves. Lynx is about putting the lessons learned into a slightly higher performance vehicle that can make it to space at supersonic speeds at a much lower cost than even Virgin Galactic can.

After that, well, their Xerus vehicle proposal includes plans for an upper stage to put nanosats in orbit. I dont' know if their next step will be Xerus or something slightly higher performance or larger, we'll see.

The head of the company, Jeff Greason, comes to the space business from Intel, so he knows about putting together and executing multi-generational, incrementalist, long term development plans and sticking to them.

I would not be surprised if they get the Lynx in operation shortly after (6-12 months) Virgin Galactic goes into operations. All those screaming fans who wanted to fly SS2 but have lost their shirts in the markets and their home values are going to line up to buy Lynx tickets at less than half the cost of an SS2 flight. Sir Richard has a short window to make back his investment before Greason kneecaps him financially.
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: Garrett on 10/08/2009 09:59 am
I see that they will "only" be flying to an altitude of 61 km, unlike Branson's SpaceShipTwo which will cross the 100 km mark. 61 km is still in space as far as I'm concerned, but the 100 km line (Kármán line) has a lot of marketing value.

I think it's great that there are two decent companies proposing suborbital flights. Although competitors, it seems both will be targeting somewhat different customers. All good news in my books :)
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: Nomadd on 10/08/2009 01:13 pm
 You can call a volleyball suborbital if you want. The fact is, XCOR is offereing an airplane ride. VG is offering a spaceship ride. 100km might be kind of arbitrary, but there's a big difference in people bragging that they've been to space, and that they've "almost" been to space. Not to mention the experience of six minutes of floating around in a relatively spacious cabin compared to two? minutes of zero g while fastened to a seat.
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: jongoff on 10/08/2009 04:21 pm
I can't say I'm an unbiased observer, because I'm good friends with the XCOR guys/gals, and have been following them since they started the company back in 99.  I have nothing but praise and respect for the XCOR team.  They've built and fired something like a dozen different rocket designs over the past 10 years, ranging from tiny Nitrous/Ethane RCS engines all the way up to 7.5klbf LOX/Methane engines.  They've built and flown two generations of rocket-powered aircraft, and are working on their third one right now (I've seen some of the pieces on my occasional walks over to their shop).  Jeff runs a tight ship, so-to-speak, and I was really pleased that he got selected for the Augustine Committee.  They've had their ups-and-downs, just as everyone else in the industry has, but they've stuck through it, and I expect to see more good things from them in the future. 

Also, while Lynx Mk I is not full 100km suborbital, the Mk II design is supposed to take it the rest of the way.  And quite frankly if a suborbital company can make money selling tickets to 60km, more power to them.

~Jon
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: cgrunska on 10/08/2009 05:21 pm
thanks guys, always great how much information you guys impart!

The guy had talked of spacex and then mentioned virgin galatic and Xcor.
I was dubious because he was mentioning these companies in regards to stating NASA needs to be dissolved since commericial is about to bust into space.

Anyway, great news for me! I'd love to pay 100k for a short trip into space. How thrilling!

not sure if it's worth doubling for free floating for 4 more minutes. Maybe...
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: Patchouli on 10/08/2009 06:32 pm
I can't say I'm an unbiased observer, because I'm good friends with the XCOR guys/gals, and have been following them since they started the company back in 99.  I have nothing but praise and respect for the XCOR team.  They've built and fired something like a dozen different rocket designs over the past 10 years, ranging from tiny Nitrous/Ethane RCS engines all the way up to 7.5klbf LOX/Methane engines.  They've built and flown two generations of rocket-powered aircraft, and are working on their third one right now (I've seen some of the pieces on my occasional walks over to their shop).  Jeff runs a tight ship, so-to-speak, and I was really pleased that he got selected for the Augustine Committee.  They've had their ups-and-downs, just as everyone else in the industry has, but they've stuck through it, and I expect to see more good things from them in the future. 

Also, while Lynx Mk I is not full 100km suborbital, the Mk II design is supposed to take it the rest of the way.  And quite frankly if a suborbital company can make money selling tickets to 60km, more power to them.

~Jon

People already pay a good sum of money to fly to 80,000 feet in a Mig 25.
http://www.incredible-adventures.com/edgeofspace.html

I think the Lynx craft also may become a popular platform for atmospheric research in near space.
It can go higher then a balloon and is probably cheaper then most sounding rockets.
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: mlorrey on 10/08/2009 08:21 pm
You can call a volleyball suborbital if you want. The fact is, XCOR is offereing an airplane ride. VG is offering a spaceship ride. 100km might be kind of arbitrary, but there's a big difference in people bragging that they've been to space, and that they've "almost" been to space. Not to mention the experience of six minutes of floating around in a relatively spacious cabin compared to two? minutes of zero g while fastened to a seat.

"Airplane" denotes that there is air to plane off of. There isn't any at 62 km altitude. It is impossible for aerodynamic surfaces to work anywhere near that altitude, one must use thrusters to maneuver. For this reason, the Lynx is a spaceship.

Also, keep in mind that in actuality, the passenger will be in a micro/zero gravity environment from the moment the rocket engine cuts out. From there it will coast up to peak altitude, then fall until it hits atmosphere again
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: Nomadd on 10/08/2009 10:35 pm
 I should have said rocket plane. I guessed at the zero G time for the Lynx from the note that said 1.25 minutes from engine cutoff to peak.
 Don't get me wrong. I'd rather be a janitor for XCOR than the president of most companies.

 I'll just wait till Jongoff goes into production, pick up a few of his demo units, a used 60s Russian suit and strap em to a lawn chair.
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: mlorrey on 10/09/2009 01:27 am
I should have said rocket plane. I guessed at the zero G time for the Lynx from the note that said 1.25 minutes from engine cutoff to peak.
 Don't get me wrong. I'd rather be a janitor for XCOR than the president of most companies.

 I'll just wait till Jongoff goes into production, pick up a few of his demo units, a used 60s Russian suit and strap em to a lawn chair.

Ok time for some math here, as I havent calculated the actual free fall time from engine cutoff to reentry. I do know the ship will be cutting off at about Mach 2.5-3.0, though not sure what altitude that will be at, but will definitely be somewhere around 150k-250k ft altitude. Assuming a near vertical trajectory, at engine cutoff they are going about 2500 ft/sec and should coast vertically for 97,000 ft or thereabouts over 77 seconds. This tells me that thrust should cut out around 228,000 ft.

At engine cut out you will be at 1 g which should decrease as gravity drags down your velocity and you gain altitude, til you reach 0 G at peak.

You will then peak out and free fall until atmosphere gets thick enough it starts to bite. Not sure what altitude the wings should start seeing significant resistance, so I can't do a calculation about how much time the free fall will last for. I believe they are timing the 90 seconds from peak till air bite.

As for where space starts, NASA says it starts at 50 miles aka 80 km, however the Federation Internationale Aeronautique says its 62 km, which will be the peak altitude of the Lynx. http://knowledgenews.net/moxie/science/space-atmosphere-2.shtml  This is also the altitude SS1 went to to win the X-Prize, so as far as most people are concerned, thats space thar.
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: Jorge on 10/09/2009 01:31 am
I should have said rocket plane. I guessed at the zero G time for the Lynx from the note that said 1.25 minutes from engine cutoff to peak.
 Don't get me wrong. I'd rather be a janitor for XCOR than the president of most companies.

 I'll just wait till Jongoff goes into production, pick up a few of his demo units, a used 60s Russian suit and strap em to a lawn chair.

Ok time for some math here, as I havent calculated the actual free fall time from engine cutoff to reentry. I do know the ship will be cutting off at about Mach 2.5-3.0, though not sure what altitude that will be at, but will definitely be somewhere around 150k-250k ft altitude. Assuming a near vertical trajectory, at engine cutoff they are going about 2500 ft/sec and should coast vertically for 97,000 ft or thereabouts over 77 seconds. This tells me that thrust should cut out around 228,000 ft.

At engine cut out you will be at 1 g which should decrease as gravity drags down your velocity and you gain altitude, til you reach 0 G at peak.

No. You'll be in 0 g as soon as the engines cut off.
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: Robotbeat on 10/09/2009 02:42 am

No. You'll be in 0 g as soon as the engines cut off.


They should mandate physics courses for all students in high school. ;)

BTW, earlier, someone pointed out that I was confused between the rocketplane Kistler guys (who are/were using a converted gulfstream jet) and XCor (who just are building their own rocketplane). Sorry about that!
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: mlorrey on 10/09/2009 05:09 am

No. You'll be in 0 g as soon as the engines cut off.


They should mandate physics courses for all students in high school. ;)

BTW, earlier, someone pointed out that I was confused between the rocketplane Kistler guys (who are/were using a converted gulfstream jet) and XCor (who just are building their own rocketplane). Sorry about that!

I thought it would be 0 G from cutoff earlier too but I started overthinking things. It looks like zero G time should be around 154 seconds or more on the Lynx, so two and a half minutes of hang time, minimum.

t'sokay about the confusion on the rocket plane origins. I was a big fan of Rocketplane in their first iteration when it was Clapp's Blackhorse proposal (which I would not be surprised if XCOR actually builds at some time), but they've gone on a long time on vaporware and redesigns and such. Rocketplane seemed to start with big dreams and steadily whittled those down over time while XCOR started small and built a solid record of growth from there.
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: Comga on 10/09/2009 06:08 am
(snip)
As for where space starts, NASA says it starts at 50 miles aka 80 km, however the Federation Internationale Aeronautique says its 62 km, which will be the peak altitude of the Lynx. http://knowledgenews.net/moxie/science/space-atmosphere-2.shtml  This is also the altitude SS1 went to to win the X-Prize, so as far as most people are concerned, thats space thar.

Spaceship one reached 112 km altitude. From www.scaled.com:
"Brian Binnie's SpaceShipOne flight carried him all the way to 367,442 feet or 69.6 miles above the Earth's surface."
The X-Prize requirement was 100 km.  This is 62 miles, the European definition of the start of space.

The Lynx flight profile can be found at
http://www.xcor.com/press-releases/2008/images/lynx-flight-profile.pdf
It implies almost three minutes of microgravity.
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: kkattula on 10/09/2009 06:20 am
IIRC, 61 km is the minimum Lynx performance. They hope to have a bit more up their collective sleeve, but won't commit to it.
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: bad_astra on 10/09/2009 02:46 pm
If I'm going to be a space tourist (and hopefully some day I will), I'd rather ride a vehicle that rocket's off the pad rather than gets pulled up by WKII. With a two vehicle system there's too much to go wrong.

Plus it just seems more exciting.
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: bad_astra on 10/09/2009 02:49 pm
The current Rocketplane proposal reminds me of the Vela Spacecruiser. It's definately only distantly related to Clapp's vision.
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: mlorrey on 10/10/2009 01:09 am
Today I went on my Space Hajj, to Mojave. Robin Snelson and Lee Valentine picked me up this morning in Burbank and we headed up to the desert, passing through Pasadena. As we had not met in real life prior to today we had a lot of getting to know you type conversation on the way, and the time passed quickly, til we pulled off in Mojave and I could see the towering upside down sno-cone of the Rotary Rocket from a long ways away. We pulled up to the cafe under the tower, went in and had lunch. The walls were lined with photos of my heroes, with a heavy emphasis on Burt Rutan of course and all his various aircraft, as well as Dick and Jean, Chuck, and many others. Pictures of the F4U Corsairs that once called the airport home when it was merely a Marine air base in the 1940's.

They served one of the best damn bacon cheeseburgers I've ever had in my life. The onion rings were so thick I nearly needed a knife.

After seeing the Space Studies Institutes small office, we walked over to XCOR, passing by the Scaled hanger housing WKII, which was visible through a 3 foot crack in the rear door. Mike and the crew were having a smoke break as we approached, out in the smoking hut. We followed them into the hangar where I met Doug Jones, who I've known and corresponded over the internet for many years, and Dan DeLong. There was a woman from JPL there with a camera as well. We got to watch a few of the engineers test one of the fuel pumps. Amazingly quiet compared to a turbopump.

In the WWII era hangar sat the EZ-Rocket and the Rocket Racer in one half, with the other half dedicated to Lynx work, which I won't get into the details of, but we got a chance to sit in the cockpit, and were introduced to their composite LOX tank technology. The woman from JPL was amazed at the ruggedness and amount of thrust being produced by the XCOR engines, saying that equivalently sized thruster engines like those being used here would only generate 2 pounds of thrust on a JPL spacecraft.

We started hearing some loud jet sounds coming from the direction of Scaled, so we moseyed out of the hangar to find them doing the preflight on WKII to do some taxi tests today. We hung around and chatted, watching. One of the Scaled folks came over to chat. Everybody was still really excited from Masden's success yesterday. It seems like despite all these companies competing against each other in various ways, its a very friendly, collegial sort of competition.

After that we went to meet Dan at his office, about some files I needed for a project I'm doing for them in Second Life. Jeff gave the go ahead on the project so I got the files. Yahoo!

Afterwards we went to the memorial park where the Rotary Rocket and the mockup of SS1 is parked. Robin took a picture for me and we paid our respects to the Scaled employees who died in the accident.

All in all it was a fantastic day.
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: kch on 10/10/2009 01:42 am
If I'm going to be a space tourist (and hopefully some day I will), I'd rather ride a vehicle that rocket's off the pad rather than gets pulled up by WKII. With a two vehicle system there's too much to go wrong.

Plus it just seems more exciting.

You'll like the Lynx, then -- no carrier aircraft!  More information at the link below:

http://www.xcor.com/press-releases/2008/08-03-26_Lynx_suborbital_vehicle.html
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: jongoff on 12/17/2009 10:14 pm
I wasn't sure if I should start a new thread or not, but here's a major announcement from our friends down the flightline:

http://xcor.com/press-releases/2009/09-12-17_South_Korean_Space_Center_Selects_XCOR_and_LYNX_for_Suborbital.html

South Korean Space Center Selects XCOR's Lynx for Suborbital Operations

December 17th - 18th, 2009, Mojave, CA, USA and Yecheon-gun, ROK: The Yecheon Astro Space Center announced today that it has selected XCOR Aerospace as its preferred supplier of suborbital space launch services. Operating under a wet lease model, XCOR intends to supply services to the Center using the Lynx Mark II suborbital vehicle, pending United States government approvals to station the vehicle in the Republic of Korea.

XCOR is committed to working with the US Department of State, Department of Defense, Department of Commerce and other agencies of the US government to comply with relevant laws, regulations, policies and procedures. XCOR has engaged specialized export control consultants from the Commonwealth Consulting Group of Arlington, Virginia, and legal counsel from the Washington, D.C. office of the international firm Bingham McCutchen, to assist in this first of a kind effort.

“This is a ground breaking opportunity for our company, our industry and a very good opportunity for the U.S. to set an example of responsible international commerce in space transportation,” said XCOR CEO Jeff Greason. “To our knowledge, this is the first time that a US commercial suborbital launch vehicle will undergo the export licensing and approval process. We believe there is no better pathfinder than with our partners at the South Korean Yecheon Astro Space Center.”

Yecheon Astro Space Center is a non-profit entity that operates multiple space related activities including: aerospace training center; astronomy research center; planetarium; a commercial space camp with centrifuge; and commercial helicopter tourism operation in the South Korean State of Gyeongsangbuk-do, approximately 240 kilometers (150 miles) southeast of Seoul.

Working closely with its partners, Yecheon Astro Space Center has formed a broad coalition of regional and national entities to fund the approximately $30 Million project to bring the Lynx to Yecheon for space tourism, educational, scientific and environmental monitoring missions, making it the early leader in commercial manned space flight in Asia. Under the envisioned arrangement, Yecheon will be the exclusive Lynx operational site in Korea.

“As part of our long term strategic plan, we have performed an extensive review of the suborbital vehicle suppliers over the past 18 months, and found XCOR’s Lynx to be the best mix of safe design, reliable clean propulsion, skilled team members, full reusability, ease of operation, turn around time, upfront cost and long term cost to operate,” said Mr Jo Jae-Seong, Founder and Chief Executive Director of Yecheon Astro Space Center. “We look forward to a long term relationship with XCOR and Lynx!”

“This is an incredibly important development for the New Space industry charting a course for other innovative US companies to flourish here and abroad. It will produce high paying manufacturing jobs, and allow the innovative spirit of America to take root and grow a new industry before international participants can catch up,” said XCOR Chief Operating Officer, Andrew Nelson, adding, “I think the wet lease model is an innovative means to safely operate, maintain and provide physical security for the Lynx while ensuring that US export control issues are addressed completely.

# # # # #

XCOR Aerospace is a California corporation located in Mojave, California. The company is in the business of developing and producing safe, reliable and reusable rocket powered vehicles, propulsion systems, advanced non-flammable composites and other enabling technologies for responsive private space flight, scientific missions, upper atmospheric research, and small satellite launch to low earth orbit. The Lynx is a piloted, two seat, fully reusable, liquid rocket powered vehicle that takes off and lands horizontally. The Lynx production models (designated Lynx Mark II) are designed to be robust, multi-commercial mission vehicles capable of flying to 100+ km in altitude up to four times per day. XCOR’s web address is: www.XCOR.com.

Yecheon Astro Space Center (formerly called the Yecheon Astronomy Foundation) is a non profit educational and research entity established in the city of Yecheon-gun, state of Gyeongsangbuk-do, South Korea. The Center is home to: an astronomical research center that houses a collection of research telescopes and auxiliary telescopes, and other research apparatus; a space camp training center with centrifuge, aerial rooftop training device and reduced gravity simulators; a planetarium; a conference center and dormitories; and a helicopter tour operation. The Center’s web site is: www.portsky.net.

********************

Congrats Jeff, Dan, Aleta, et al! 
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: Namechange User on 12/17/2009 11:00 pm
Very nice.  I'm sure this will offer another oppurtunity for us servail the North Koreans as well and the DMZ
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: mlorrey on 12/18/2009 01:48 am
While I'm sure Dear Leader will have apoplexies each time the Lynx launches (just call it Kim's Defibrillator), is this going to be used for training astronauts or performing science or tourism or what combination?

Congratulations to XCOR, the race is now on between them and Virgin. Now we've got a real space race. Ironic, Rutan has made much of his david vs goliath role, but now theres even a smaller David and VG is the goliath.
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: neilh on 12/18/2009 07:12 pm
While I'm sure Dear Leader will have apoplexies each time the Lynx launches (just call it Kim's Defibrillator), is this going to be used for training astronauts or performing science or tourism or what combination?

Quote
Working closely with its partners, Yecheon Astro Space Center has formed a broad coalition of regional and national entities to fund the approximately $30 Million project to bring the Lynx to Yecheon for space tourism, educational, scientific and environmental monitoring missions, making it the early leader in commercial manned space flight in Asia.
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: DiggyCoxwell on 12/21/2009 08:27 pm
Anyone hear heard of this company? They claim to be nearing completion of a rocket that will fly like a jet to the upper bounds of the atmosphere and then launch into space, and have a methane based engine.

Just curious if they are viable


As far as if their business plan is viable, well, that's certainly up to debate! Just like every business venture, no one really knows until they've been operating for a couple years with paying customers and making a profit after all is said and done. (BTW, they can have a pretty short and inexpensive turnaround time since all they have to do is refuel and change passengers, so if they had enough customers, I think they could cut their price per flight to around $10,000-$20,000)




Isn't their quoted price per flight something like $40,000?

I could actually afford it.
And I'm not the only one on nasaspaceflight.com who can.  ;-)
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: HMXHMX on 12/21/2009 10:12 pm
Anyone hear heard of this company? They claim to be nearing completion of a rocket that will fly like a jet to the upper bounds of the atmosphere and then launch into space, and have a methane based engine.

Just curious if they are viable


As far as if their business plan is viable, well, that's certainly up to debate! Just like every business venture, no one really knows until they've been operating for a couple years with paying customers and making a profit after all is said and done. (BTW, they can have a pretty short and inexpensive turnaround time since all they have to do is refuel and change passengers, so if they had enough customers, I think they could cut their price per flight to around $10,000-$20,000)




Isn't their quoted price per flight something like $40,000?

I could actually afford it.
And I'm not the only one on nasaspaceflight.com who can.  ;-)

$98K is the number I recall.
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: mlorrey on 12/22/2009 10:18 am
Anyone hear heard of this company? They claim to be nearing completion of a rocket that will fly like a jet to the upper bounds of the atmosphere and then launch into space, and have a methane based engine.

Just curious if they are viable


As far as if their business plan is viable, well, that's certainly up to debate! Just like every business venture, no one really knows until they've been operating for a couple years with paying customers and making a profit after all is said and done. (BTW, they can have a pretty short and inexpensive turnaround time since all they have to do is refuel and change passengers, so if they had enough customers, I think they could cut their price per flight to around $10,000-$20,000)




Isn't their quoted price per flight something like $40,000?

I could actually afford it.
And I'm not the only one on nasaspaceflight.com who can.  ;-)

$98K is the number I recall.

Yeah I hear, like, they, like, want to send people to space... what up wit dat?
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: Space Pete on 07/16/2010 11:31 pm
XCOR are now taking reservations for flights aboard the Lynx in early 2012, priced at $95,000!
www.prweb.com/releases/2010/space-tourism/prweb4268804.htm
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: mlorrey on 07/17/2010 04:04 am
XCOR are now taking reservations for flights aboard the Lynx in early 2012, priced at $95,000!
www.prweb.com/releases/2010/space-tourism/prweb4268804.htm

They've been taking reservations for a while, and $95k is the whole price of the ticket. What's important is that their construction of the vehicles is now capitalized and construction is underway. Given that, and, their past record of avoiding the hype machine and sticking to producing functioning equipment means that one has a higher than normal expectation that one will receive what one pays for.
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: Space Pete on 10/05/2010 08:02 pm
Space Experience Curaçao Announces Wet Lease of XCOR's Lynx Suborbital Spacecraft.

Second Announced Lynx Wet Lease For XCOR.

Space Experience Curaçao (SXC) and XCOR Aerospace, Inc. jointly announced today the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) for the wet lease of a production version of the Lynx suborbital spacecraft, pending United States government approvals to station the vehicle on the island of Curaçao in the Netherlands Antilles.  With a planned start date in January 2014, SXC will market, and XCOR will operate, suborbital space tourism flights and scientific research missions out of Space Port Curaçao.

Recently, the Curaçao government and airport authority announced their intentions of investigating and creating the conditions suitable for the formation of a vibrant and active commercial space flight services industry.  An investigation of the legal and regulatory framework necessary to enable a robust flight services industry in Curaçao has commenced. investment in the spaceport infrastructure and operator has been committed and made by Curaçao Airport Holding, N.V., the company responsible for overseeing Curaçao airport operator.  SXC is the entity chosen by the Curaçao government and airport holding company to create a robust suborbital space flight business focused on research missions, space tourism, and science & technology education. SXC has in turn selected the XCOR Lynx as its vehicle of choice for Curaçao operations.

"SXC has chosen the Lynx due to its innovative but straightforward and robust design, as well as its enormous commercial potential and competitive viability” said Ben Droste, Co-Founder and Managing Partner of SXC.    “The combination of the Lynx experience with the beautiful and highly suitable location of the Caribbean Island of Curaçao is a winning experience in our book.   Spaceflight participants will not only have the incredible experience of flying in XCOR’s Lynx spacecraft beyond Earth’s atmosphere, they will have the added benefit of taking off from and returning to one of the world’s best vacation destinations.”
XCOR Lynx Suborbital Spacecraft

“Space Experience Curaçao, with the strong support of Curaçao Airport Holding, has worked diligently to secure this MOU with XCOR” remarked SXC Co-Founder and Managing Partner, Harry Van Hulten, “with the full support of the government of Curaçao, the Netherlands and thanks to the vision and entrepreneurial spirit of Curaçao Airport Holding, SXC is in the position of making this first concrete step in procuring a Lynx Mark II wet lease contract.”

“Building on our international wet-lease agreements model, XCOR is committed to continuing coordination efforts with the US Departments of State, Defense and Commerce and other relevant US agencies regarding export control and operation of suborbital vehicles at non-US locations,” said XCOR COO, Andrew Nelson.  “We think the wet lease model enables us to address these issues, while allowing us to continue to create new high technology jobs, compete effectively in international markets, and provide our clients like SXC, and their clients, an incredible experience and valuable service – we can’t wait to fly from Curaçao!”

XCOR Aerospace is a California corporation located in Mojave, California. The company is in the business of developing and producing safe, reliable and reusable rocket powered vehicles, propulsion systems, advanced non-flammable composites and other enabling technologies. XCOR is working with aerospace prime contractors and government customers on major propulsion systems, and concurrently building the Lynx, a piloted, two seat, fully reusable, liquid rocket powered vehicle that takes off and lands horizontally.  The Lynx production models (designated Lynx Mark II) are designed to be robust, multi-commercial mission vehicles capable of flying to 100+ km in altitude up to four times per day and are being offered on a wet lease basis. www.xcor.com.

Space Experience Curaçao (SXC) was founded in 2008 to lead the world changing trend in providing commercial space launch facilities and suborbital flight services from the Caribbean island of Curaçao in the Netherlands Antilles, and soon to be an independent governing entity as part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands.  SXC intends to offer suborbital space tourism flights and scientific research missions out of Space Port Curaçao.  SXC is led by its two founders and Managing Partners, Harry van Hulten and Ben Droste who share a wealth of personal experience in flying and testing fighter aircraft, and managing large and complex aerospace organizations and institutions.  Lt. General Ben Droste (retired) has amassed over 4000 hours in high performance jet fighter aircraft including the F-16. His military career culminated in his appointment as Commander in Chief of the Royal Netherlands Air Force where he was heavily engaged in peace keeping and peace enforcing operations around the world including the former Yugoslavia and its many successful missions that helped secure an armistice in the Kosovo war in the spring of 1999. He has been nominated Commander in the Legion of Merit by the United States of America for his leadership in maximizing the ties between the Royal Netherlands Air Force and the United States Air Force in this and the preceding air wars over the Balkans and thereby maximizing the effectiveness of these air forces. Upon retirement in 2000 through 2009, General Droste led the Netherlands Agency for Aerospace Programs (NIVR), the precursor of today’s Netherlands Space Office, and NASA’s counterpart in the Netherlands. From 2003-2008, General Droste also became Professor and Dean of the Aerospace Faculty at the prestigious Delft University of Technology.  Major Harry van Hulten, is an active F-16 fighter pilot with the Netherlands Royal Air Force; he has over 3200 hours in 42 different aircraft types, of which 2500 hours are on the F-16. He is a graduate of the US Air Force Test Pilot School at Edwards Air Force Base.  He spent an extra two years at Edwards AFB to test further innovative developments for the F-16.  Harry has been involved in the F-35 program for the Netherlands Air Force, the lead international customer for this fifth generation US fighter aircraft. Harry is also a distinguished former Yugoslavia and Afghanistan veteran.  He has a special dispensation to participate as a founding Managing Partner of SXC while performing his military duties. www.spaceexperiencecuracao.com.


www.xcor.com/press-releases/2010/10-10-05_Space_Experience_Curacao_announces_wet_lease_of_lynx.html
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: Yarrah on 11/17/2010 04:52 pm
There was a short story about the Lynx on the news here today. Dutch airline KLM will be offering trips to space in XCOR's Lynx for €70.000 ($94.787), beginning in 2014. Long time customers will get a discount.

Article (in Dutch only) here: http://nos.nl/artikel/198875-.html
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: Spiff on 11/18/2010 09:33 am
Here is the press release about the KLM - XCOR deal on the XCOR site:

http://www.xcor.com/press-releases/2010/10-11-17_KLM_announces_suborbital_relationship_with_SXC.html

KLM Announces Suborbital Flight Relationship with Space Experience Curaçao
Using XCOR's Lynx Suborbital Spacecraft

November 17, 2010, Mojave, CA:  Today KLM Royal Dutch Airlines announced to the Netherlands press that they were embarking upon a new relationship with Space Experience Curaçao (SXC). KLM will be supporting future suborbital flights through purchases, inclusion in their frequent flyer program, inclusion in future KLM vacation packages to Curacao, and other yet-to-be-named support.  The flights will be made on the XCOR Lynx suborbital spacecraft.

Last month SXC and XCOR Aerospace jointly announced the intent of SXC to lease a production version of the Lynx suborbital spacecraft, pending United States government approvals to station the vehicle on the island of Curaçao in the Netherlands Antilles.  With a planned start date in January 2014 SXC and now KLM will market and sell flights.  XCOR will provide operational support for the vehicle at Space Port Curaçao.

On the front page of De Telegraaf, the largest circulation Dutch newspaper, KLM Chief Executive Officer Peter Hartman said of the new relationship and suborbital spaceflight: “It is a fantastic project that totally fits the pioneering spirit of KLM.”  This history includes operating the longest regularly scheduled air service in the world throughout the 1920s, and opening their first transatlantic service in 1934 between Amsterdam and Curacao.

SXC Founder and former Royal Netherlands Air Force Chief of Staff Ben Droste referred to the exploration and entrepreneurial spirit the Dutch have demonstrated for over five centuries and noted their logical extension to space. “This is a project that completely fits our VOC tradition (Vereenigde Oostindische Compagnie, aka the Dutch East India Company). The Dutch have successfully traversed the world’s seas, pioneered long distance air travel, and now have set our sights on space.”

XCOR’s CEO, Jeff Greason noted, “XCOR is very pleased that the market’s acceptance of Lynx is accelerating. Our approach to space travel offers the simplicity, low cost structure, environmental sensitivity, history of accomplishment, and excitement that clients want in their spacecraft company.”

#  #  # #  #

XCOR Aerospace is a California corporation located in Mojave, California. The company is in the business of developing and producing safe, reliable and reusable rocket powered vehicles, propulsion systems, advanced non-flammable composites and other enabling technologies. XCOR is working with aerospace prime contractors and government customers on major propulsion systems, and concurrently building the Lynx, a piloted, two seat, fully reusable, liquid rocket powered vehicle that takes off and lands horizontally.  The Lynx production models (designated Lynx Mark II) are designed to be robust, multi-commercial mission vehicles capable of flying to 100+ km in altitude up to four times per day and are being offered on a wet lease basis.  www.xcor.com.

Space Experience Curaçao (SXC) was founded in 2008 to lead the world in providing commercial space launch facilities and suborbital flight services from the Caribbean island of Curaçao.  SXC intends to offer suborbital space tourism flights and scientific research missions out of Space Port Curaçao.  SXC is led by its two founders and Managing Partners, former Royal Netherlands Air Force Chief of Staff, Ben Droste and active Royal Netherlands Air Force F-16 pilot, Harry van Hulten.  General Droste (retired) also led the Netherlands Agency for Aerospace Programs (NIVR), the precursor of today’s Netherlands Space Office, and NASA’s counterpart in the Netherlands and was Professor and Dean of the Aerospace Faculty at the prestigious Delft University of Technology.  Major Harry van Hulten, is a graduate of the US Air Force Test Pilot School at Edwards Air Force Base, was assigned to Edwards AFB as an F-16 test pilot, and is involved in the F-35 program for the Netherlands Air Force, the lead international customer for this fifth generation US fighter aircraft. Harry is also a distinguished former Yugoslavia and Afghanistan veteran.  He has a special dispensation to participate as a founding Managing Partner of SXC while performing his military duties. www.spaceexperiencecuracao.com.

###
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: Spiff on 11/18/2010 09:35 am
Btw, apart from announcements in Dutch newspapers (mentioned above) and Dutch radio, I can't find anything yet on the KLM website. Not even an press release.
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: manboy on 11/24/2010 12:02 am
And yet they still haven't built any hardware. So far it seems like they're two years behind on a two year long project. No matter how much I want the Lynx to succedced it just seems like with each passing month it becomes closer to becoming vaporware (see Canadian Arrow, Galactic Suite Design, K-1 launch vehicle...).
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: jongoff on 11/24/2010 03:27 am
And yet they still haven't built any hardware. So far it seems like they're two years behind on a two year long project. No matter how much I want the Lynx to succedced it just seems like with each passing month it becomes closer to becoming vaporware (see Canadian Arrow, Galactic Suite Design, K-1 launch vehicle...).

I rate XCOR higher than those other groups because it has successfully flown two rocket powered vehicles before, and has developed several families of engines and pumps.  I know longer live in Mojave, so I can't verify they're doing engine firings, but they say they are, and I trust them.  I don't know if they really have the money to finish Lynx or not, but I do know that they're competent to do so, and appear to be making at least some headway on the project.

~Jon
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: Robotbeat on 11/24/2010 03:33 pm
And yet they still haven't built any hardware. So far it seems like they're two years behind on a two year long project. No matter how much I want the Lynx to succedced it just seems like with each passing month it becomes closer to becoming vaporware (see Canadian Arrow, Galactic Suite Design, K-1 launch vehicle...).
From following those folks on the ARocket mailing list, I would say that they probably have hardware built already. They are more closed-lips than they were before, but they are still making progress. They are professionals, so unless you hear of a lot of XCOR people being laid off, they are busy doing work.
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: NotGncDude on 11/28/2010 08:54 pm
And yet they still haven't built any hardware. So far it seems like they're two years behind on a two year long project. No matter how much I want the Lynx to succedced it just seems like with each passing month it becomes closer to becoming vaporware (see Canadian Arrow, Galactic Suite Design, K-1 launch vehicle...).
From following those folks on the ARocket mailing list, I would say that they probably have hardware built already. They are more closed-lips than they were before, but they are still making progress. They are professionals, so unless you hear of a lot of XCOR people being laid off, they are busy doing work.

They have hardware built already for sure. They had some already many months ago.
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: manboy on 11/29/2010 04:01 pm
And yet they still haven't built any hardware. So far it seems like they're two years behind on a two year long project. No matter how much I want the Lynx to succedced it just seems like with each passing month it becomes closer to becoming vaporware (see Canadian Arrow, Galactic Suite Design, K-1 launch vehicle...).
From following those folks on the ARocket mailing list, I would say that they probably have hardware built already. They are more closed-lips than they were before, but they are still making progress. They are professionals, so unless you hear of a lot of XCOR people being laid off, they are busy doing work.

They have hardware built already for sure. They had some already many months ago.
Says the mailing list?
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: NotGncDude on 12/05/2010 04:14 am
And yet they still haven't built any hardware. So far it seems like they're two years behind on a two year long project. No matter how much I want the Lynx to succedced it just seems like with each passing month it becomes closer to becoming vaporware (see Canadian Arrow, Galactic Suite Design, K-1 launch vehicle...).
From following those folks on the ARocket mailing list, I would say that they probably have hardware built already. They are more closed-lips than they were before, but they are still making progress. They are professionals, so unless you hear of a lot of XCOR people being laid off, they are busy doing work.

They have hardware built already for sure. They had some already many months ago.
Says the mailing list?

Says: I saw it and sat on it. That good enough for you?
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: mlorrey on 12/05/2010 04:46 am
And yet they still haven't built any hardware. So far it seems like they're two years behind on a two year long project. No matter how much I want the Lynx to succedced it just seems like with each passing month it becomes closer to becoming vaporware (see Canadian Arrow, Galactic Suite Design, K-1 launch vehicle...).
From following those folks on the ARocket mailing list, I would say that they probably have hardware built already. They are more closed-lips than they were before, but they are still making progress. They are professionals, so unless you hear of a lot of XCOR people being laid off, they are busy doing work.

They have hardware built already for sure. They had some already many months ago.
Says the mailing list?

Says: I saw it and sat on it. That good enough for you?

Yeah, I sat in the cockpit section a year ago, also. They were diligently working on "stuff" (I won't say what "stuff" is out of consideration, some of them are friends of mine), that does fit the definition of "hardware".

For me, being around the EZ-Rocket and Rocket Racer (thats two, count em, two, rocket vehicles) was teh sex. These guys do what they say and say what they mean, and generally, they let their actions speak for them rather than a lot of hype and flashy Madison Avenue spew like you see elsewhere (like calling a tire fire "environmentally responsible" as one of their competitors claims).
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: neilh on 12/10/2010 06:14 pm
From twitter feed of Aleta Jackson, XCOR:

http://twitter.com/rocketshadow/status/13288867121602561#
Quote
Getting ready to hot fire the new Lynx engine. Oh boy. Noise in the desert! :-)
about 1 hour ago via web
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: manboy on 02/24/2011 08:29 pm
Found some videos on youtbe that haven't been posted

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rr_1RVlVnIw

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J4Q7uC0YY0s

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gHpxpD1MV9I

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X8joTldL_M4
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: martin hegedus on 02/24/2011 11:20 pm
I must admit, as an aerodynamicist, I find the outer mold line very interesting and it will be interesting to see what it's flying qualities are.  Does anyone know what the max angle of attack is and at what Mach number it occurs?
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: docmordrid on 02/25/2011 12:09 am
Major congrats are in order - XCOR just nailed a 6-flight contract for Lynx with the Southwest Research Institute (SwRI)

Link.... (http://xcor.com/press-releases/2011/11-02-24_Southwest_Research_Institute_XCOR.html)

Quote
February 24th, 2011, Mojave, CA, USA:   In a first for the reusable suborbital launch vehicle industry, XCOR Aerospace announced today that the Southwest Research Institute (SwRI), a commercial entity, has purchased six suborbital flights to carry SwRI experiments and payload specialists.  This is the first such contract SwRI has issued, and XCOR is proud to be chosen for this opportunity.

“When someone issues a commercial contract with their own money, it really means something,” said XCOR Chief Operating Officer Andrew Nelson. “XCOR feels SwRI signing their first contract with us demonstrates the superiority of the Lynx platform over others in the field.  We have the ability to fly up to four times a day, quickly perform an experiment and then return it to the customer.  In addition, we offer the best price in class versus the competition.”

Each of the six flights will include a SwRI trained principal investigator / payload specialist.  This group of talented individuals includes Dr. Alan Stern, former NASA Associate Administrator for Science, Dr. Dan Durda who has flown research missions in NASA f-18s and Dr. Cathy Olkin, an experienced SwRI researcher and former NASA astronaut candidate. On these flights, the SwRI payload specialists will perform research using biomedical, microgravity, and astronomy imaging experiments conceived and prepared for flight at SwRI. SwRI has an option to purchase three additional flights at any time, providing more value significant flexibility for experimental research.
>
>
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: A_M_Swallow on 02/26/2011 02:24 am
I wonder if they will be biding to supply the engines for an Earth Departure Stage to push capsules from LEO to EML1/2?  Assuming that someone decides to do it.
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: madscientist197 on 02/26/2011 10:30 am
I wonder if they will be biding to supply the engines for an Earth Departure Stage to push capsules from LEO to EML1/2?
No doubt they will be biding. As to whether they will be bidding, is another matter.
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: mlorrey on 02/28/2011 11:07 am
http://xcor.com/press-releases/2011/11-02-28_XCOR_announces_payload_integrators.html

XCOR Announces Global Network of Research and Educational
Mission Payload Integrators for Lynx Suborbital Spaceplane

February 28th, 2011, Orlando, FL, USA: At the commencement of the 2011 Next-Generation Suborbital Researchers Conference (NSRC) being held in Orlando, Florida, XCOR Aerospace announced its initial team of suborbital payload integration specialists who will begin taking orders and facilitating experiment development and integration for commercial, educational and government suborbital research missions aboard XCOR’s Lynx reusable suborbital launch vehicle. Capable of up to four flights per day, the Lynx is expected to provide three to four minutes of micro-gravity and/or exposure to the harsh environment of space and the opportunity to investigate largely unknown regions of our upper atmosphere critical to environmental studies.

These pioneering payload integrators represent both large, established companies and start-up space entities run by seasoned executives and fresh new entrepreneurs from places like Asia, Europe, North America, and South Africa. XCOR will be adding additional specialist firms to the network in the coming months.

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 Curaçao of the Netherlands and the Caribbean island of Curaçao; Spaceflight Services in Tukwila, Washington, Valencia, California, and Huntsville, Alabama; and Yecheon Astro Space Center, Yecheon, South Korea.

“This is a win-win for all of us,” said Jeff Greason, XCOR CEO. “XCOR will focus on what we do best, which is build and operate rocket powered vehicles, while our payload integration specialists will do what they do best, which is work closely with scientists and researchers and use their collective expertise to prepare payload missions to do real work in space.”

Dr. Alan Stern, Associate Vice President at SwRI, the former NASA Associate Administrator for Science and the Chairman of the Commercial Spaceflight Federation’s Suborbital Researchers Group, noted “We are extremely excited about the capabilities that Lynx will bring to our many research clients at SwRI, so much so that we've already procured six flights for our own pathfinder and discovery missions to better understand how we can best serve our clients. As a trained researcher and test engineer, I can’t wait to fly with my experiments on Lynx and ring out the processes and procedures that will help our clients succeed, and help our Institute stay at the forefront of the 21st century.”

Each of the announced entities has entered into a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) or contractual relationship with XCOR Aerospace creating a robust initial network of sales and payload integration specialist firms for the science, engineering, and education missions that will be flown on XCOR’s Lynx suborbital reusable launch vehicle. Some see Lynx as a strong compliment to their existing business models or as a tool to develop critical national science and education capabilities or inspire new ways of thinking and execution of space based research.

Jeff Manber, a seasoned space executive who runs NanoRacks, LLC, already has research platforms on the International Space Station (ISS) being used for commercial and educational research in the CubeSat form factor. Jeff noted “Having over 50 payloads from multiple nations already booked for the U.S. National Lab, we expect XCOR’s platform to be a solid first step for many of our customers to validate experiments that will go on to the Space Station. The ability to fly, test, learn, then adjust payloads on the ground and re-fly is extremely useful when perfecting a payload. You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to understand XCOR’s value proposition.”

Brad Inggs, Founder and President of the African Space Institute noted “In South Africa, we are constantly on the lookout for innovative ways to build up the emerging commercial space industry and provide related educational opportunities to our community, so being a payload integrator for the XCOR Lynx platform not only offers a leap forward allowing affordable access to space for African payloads but also allows us to further generate local skills and jobs in the region.”

Garrett Smith, Founder and President of Cosmica Spacelines of Toulouse, France equates the partnership with XCOR as a cornerstone for greater ventures into space and touches on the enabling aspects of XCOR’s Lynx. He notes, “Through building a strong community of not only individual enthusiasts but corporate futurists, Cosmica Visionaries will lead Europe and the world towards a progressive future. XCOR will provide us with the capability to offer safe, reliable travel to the edge of space and beyond for the good of humanity.”

The XCOR payload integration specialist firms will support a variety of scientific, educational and engineering objectives including: atmospheric science, physics, microgravity research, planetary science, earth observation, life sciences, education and public outreach, and many others. Some firms such as NanoRacks already have capabilities on orbit at the ISS and will use Lynx as a qualification platform, others are teamed with launch services providers who have other on orbit resources like new commercial cargo and crew systems who will be using Lynx for pre-cursor missions.

Jason Andrews, President of Andrews Space and Spaceflight Services commented, “We are working with experimenters and scientists who will be using the SpaceX unpressurized Dragon Lab capsule for standalone on-orbit research and transport of experiments to the ISS, so having the ability to test in the vacuum of space with XCOR’s Lynx platform prior to sending something up on a Falcon 9 is a very powerful tool for our customers.”

General Ben Droste (retired) is the former Chief of Staff for the Netherlands Air Force, lead the pre-curser to the Netherlands Space Office (the NASA equivalent), and is the current Chief Executive Officer of Netherlands-based Space Experience Curacao. General Droste noted, “The Netherlands has a long history of pioneering ventures in general and in particular with micro-gravity research and atmospheric studies, so as we prepare to take on our own wet lease of a Lynx vehicle for flights in Curacao, we will also be laying the groundwork and seeding the market for future suborbital research funded by private industry, government and groups like the European Space Agency (ESA).”

Each payload integration specialist firm will help facilitate and provision flight services on the Lynx by ensuring end users understand the packaging, environmental, safety, operational flight profile(s) and interface (physical, electrical and data) requirements of the Lynx for both automated experiments not requiring user intervention during flight, and those experiments when the scientist accompanies the payload to the edge of space. The integrators will provide a variety of additional value added services depending on their individual service offering and customer needs, including, but not limited to fabrication, test and qualification of experiments for the Lynx environment.

XCOR will be responsible for: (1) developing and periodically updating the Lynx interface control document, payload user’s guide and other payload related processes and procedures in consultation with the payload integration specialists, end customers and regulators; (2) operating an annual Lynx payload user’s group conference to solicit feedback and promulgate best practices across the payload integrators network and user community; (3) addressing any specific non-standard needs identified by payload integration specialists and their customers such as special flight trajectories or unique vehicle integration needs; (4) any special licensing or regulatory actions pertaining to the flight; and (5) with the integration specialist and customer, performing a final safety and pre-flight review meeting before the mission is flown and a de-briefing of the mission after flight.

Dr. Jae-Song Jo, Director of the Yecheon Astro Space Center noted, “We are impressed with the professionalism and excellent processes we’ve seen from XCOR and know that clients who demand precision and responsiveness will be well served. As we prepare for our own wet lease operations in the future, the early experience we gain by bringing South Korean and Asian science experiments to the US will only enhance that level of professionalism and establish us as a premier operator in Asia.”

On flight day, XCOR will receive payloads from the integration specialist (and/or customer), place it into one of the four cargo carrying locations on the Lynx, fly the payload on the mutually agreed upon trajectory, and return the payload to the researcher or payload integrator (as directed) within minutes of touchdown. From temporary airport-side storage or labs all the way to space and back to a runway-side lab is projected take under 30 minutes on a nominal flight with Lynx – a step function improvement over any capability available today and a strong compliment to other available systems.

Ray Bainbridge, CEO of UK-based Space Chariots, noted the synergies he sees between Lynx and terrestrial reduced gravity (drop tower and aircraft parabolic flights) and sounding rocket research when he said, “we offer low cost design, manufacture and reduced gravity test facilities as well as sounding rocket launches for academic research and the emerging private space industry, so having the ability to use Lynx as our suborbital reusable vehicle platform provides us with a full range of solutions for our customer requirements.”

Depending upon customer needs, the Lynx can carry as small as a 1kg (or smaller) payload as a “ride share” or “secondary payload”, and up to a 650kg large “primary” mission payload. Payloads may be carried as ride share or primary payloads in the Lynx pressurized cabin or be exposed to the unpressurized and harsh conditions of space. In the future, small nanosatellites may also be launched from the Lynx vehicle using an expendable upper stage launcher of XCOR design allowing innovative low earth orbit satellite applications, constellations, and the testing of new and advanced technologies to be used on larger satellites and manned flight vehicles.

Andrew Nelson, XCOR’s Chief Operating Officer added, “with the lowest cost of operations in the marketplace, ability to fly multiple times daily from sites around the world using our affordable ‘wet lease’ customer model, and our global reach with these trail blazing space entrepreneurs, Lynx is poised to become the de facto standard in suborbital reusable launch vehicle payloads for scientific, education and engineering purposes, and create high paying technical job clusters not only in the US, but everywhere Lynx operates.”

# # # # #

XCOR Aerospace is a California corporation located in Mojave, California. The company is in the business of developing and producing safe, reliable and reusable rocket powered vehicles, propulsion systems, advanced non-flammable composites and other enabling technologies. XCOR is currently working with aerospace prime contractors and government customers on major propulsion systems, and concurrently building the Lynx, a piloted, two seat, fully reusable, liquid rocket powered vehicle that takes off and lands horizontally. The Lynx production models (designated Lynx Mark II) are designed to be robust, multi-commercial mission vehicles capable of flying to 100+ km in altitude up to four times per day and are being offered on a wet lease basis. Research, engineering, and educational communities interested in using the Lynx should contact Mike Massee or Andrew Nelson at XCOR directly regarding scientific, earth observation, materials science, upper-atmospheric weather research, micro-gravity experiments and other potential uses at www.xcor.com and XCOR will connect you to your nearest payload integrator specialist firm serving the Lynx community, or contact them directly. These include:

African Space Institute – www.afrispace.com
Cosmica Spacelines – www.cosmicaspacelines.com
NanoRacks, LLC – www.nanoracksllc.com
Southwest Research Institute (SwRI) – www.swri.org
Space Chariots – www.space-chariots.com
Space Experience Curaçao – www.spaceexperiencecuracao.com
Spaceflight Services - www.spaceflightservices.com
Yecheon Astro Space Center – www.portsky.net
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: mlorrey on 02/28/2011 11:09 am
Note in the link theres an image of the Lynx with a big hump on its back. That seems to be the upper stage planned to put small payloads into orbit that is mentioned in the article. Looks like the cash is flowing at XCOR, looking forward to seeing more progress in production, the videos look great!
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: Robert Thompson on 02/28/2011 07:01 pm
Model T

Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: mlorrey on 03/09/2011 10:28 am
Model T



what do you mean by that comment?
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: kkattula on 03/09/2011 12:11 pm
Model T



what do you mean by that comment?

The first 'mass' production vehicle making travel affordable to the general public?

Not that it will be exactly mass produced, but it sounds like there will be a fair number of the spacecraft in operation at the same time. I think Soyuz probably holds the current record at 3 or 4. Not counting Shuttles as operational until they're at least out of the OPF and mated to a stack.
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: kkattula on 03/09/2011 12:20 pm
IMO, Lynx is a much bigger game-changer than just a sub-orbital research & tourist vehicle.

If it succeeds, they will have proven an inexpensive, reusable first stage, with 'gas & go' operations.

From that point on, there is no technical argument against scaling up to EELV class or larger. That lowers the bar tremendously for anyone proposing (or raising capital) for something along those lines.
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: Robotbeat on 03/09/2011 05:37 pm
IMO, Lynx is a much bigger game-changer than just a sub-orbital research & tourist vehicle.

If it succeeds, they will have proven an inexpensive, reusable first stage, with 'gas & go' operations.

From that point on, there is no technical argument against scaling up to EELV class or larger. That lowers the bar tremendously for anyone proposing (or raising capital) for something along those lines.
I really do like the Lynx. Extreme reusability is necessary to overcome the huge difficulty of lowering cost of access to space. If they can sell enough thrill rides, I don't see why a trip into space (suborbital) couldn't go for a small multiple of the cost of fuel, like $10,000 per flight or less... A larger Lynx could possibly even compete with parabolic flights, of which there are thousands of flights per year.

The idea is that you get in a regime where you can have flights as often as a jetliner, but still have enough delta-v to be a useful first stage. Start launching small satellites and work on up the value chain.
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: Robert Thompson on 03/09/2011 11:16 pm
Ubiquity. Get the sight, the sound, the spectre, the smell, into as many high volume tourism centers as possible. This creates a public facing pressure on otherwise low space awareness. Let the public hear news, tales, recollections retold, see glowing faces, and covet. "I Get Around", Beach Boys.
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: beancounter on 03/10/2011 04:20 am
IMO, Lynx is a much bigger game-changer than just a sub-orbital research & tourist vehicle.

If it succeeds, they will have proven an inexpensive, reusable first stage, with 'gas & go' operations.

From that point on, there is no technical argument against scaling up to EELV class or larger. That lowers the bar tremendously for anyone proposing (or raising capital) for something along those lines.

I love the way people talk about scaling up as if it was a no-brainer.  It isn't you know.  If it was that easy, lots would no doubt have done it but the fact remains, very few have even tried it.  One of the most recent is Scaled and even then, they ended up with basically 2 brand new craft and developments taken lots longer than expected.  SpaceX is one of the few who have done it with orbital vehicles.  EELV class or larger is really a bit rich.
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: sandrot on 03/10/2011 09:58 am
IMO, Lynx is a much bigger game-changer than just a sub-orbital research & tourist vehicle.

If it succeeds, they will have proven an inexpensive, reusable first stage, with 'gas & go' operations.

From that point on, there is no technical argument against scaling up to EELV class or larger. That lowers the bar tremendously for anyone proposing (or raising capital) for something along those lines.

I love the way people talk about scaling up as if it was a no-brainer.  It isn't you know.  If it was that easy, lots would no doubt have done it but the fact remains, very few have even tried it.  One of the most recent is Scaled and even then, they ended up with basically 2 brand new craft and developments taken lots longer than expected.  SpaceX is one of the few who have done it with orbital vehicles.  EELV class or larger is really a bit rich.

Remember SpaceShipOne? That was back in 2004! That's so seven years ago.
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: mlorrey on 03/11/2011 09:30 pm
IMO, Lynx is a much bigger game-changer than just a sub-orbital research & tourist vehicle.

If it succeeds, they will have proven an inexpensive, reusable first stage, with 'gas & go' operations.

From that point on, there is no technical argument against scaling up to EELV class or larger. That lowers the bar tremendously for anyone proposing (or raising capital) for something along those lines.

I love the way people talk about scaling up as if it was a no-brainer.  It isn't you know.  If it was that easy, lots would no doubt have done it but the fact remains, very few have even tried it.  One of the most recent is Scaled and even then, they ended up with basically 2 brand new craft and developments taken lots longer than expected.  SpaceX is one of the few who have done it with orbital vehicles.  EELV class or larger is really a bit rich.

Remember SpaceShipOne? That was back in 2004! That's so seven years ago.

Well yes, but there wasn't any real reason they could not have initiated suborbital commercial operations with the SS1 vehicle, it had two passenger seats. Shelving that vehicle was IMHO a bad idea, they could easily have capitalized the SS2 vehicle off of SS1 profits. All the delays in SS2 due to having to totally redo the propulsion, etc have been damaging to the public perception of SS1 as a sort of one-hit-wonder.

The only plus side is that this misstep by Scaled and Virgin on shelving SS1 has given XCOR time to catch up with IMHO a more advanced system.
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: Robotbeat on 03/11/2011 09:48 pm
IMO, Lynx is a much bigger game-changer than just a sub-orbital research & tourist vehicle.

If it succeeds, they will have proven an inexpensive, reusable first stage, with 'gas & go' operations.

From that point on, there is no technical argument against scaling up to EELV class or larger. That lowers the bar tremendously for anyone proposing (or raising capital) for something along those lines.

I love the way people talk about scaling up as if it was a no-brainer.  It isn't you know.  If it was that easy, lots would no doubt have done it but the fact remains, very few have even tried it.  One of the most recent is Scaled and even then, they ended up with basically 2 brand new craft and developments taken lots longer than expected.  SpaceX is one of the few who have done it with orbital vehicles.  EELV class or larger is really a bit rich.

Remember SpaceShipOne? That was back in 2004! That's so seven years ago.

Well yes, but there wasn't any real reason they could not have initiated suborbital commercial operations with the SS1 vehicle, it had two passenger seats. Shelving that vehicle was IMHO a bad idea, they could easily have capitalized the SS2 vehicle off of SS1 profits. All the delays in SS2 due to having to totally redo the propulsion, etc have been damaging to the public perception of SS1 as a sort of one-hit-wonder.

The only plus side is that this misstep by Scaled and Virgin on shelving SS1 has given XCOR time to catch up with IMHO a more advanced system.
There may have been some design issues with SS1 that doomed the approach for commercial use. Since they can't "gas and go" like the Lynx can (or, rather, will), they needed to be able to put more passengers on it. Remember, both SS1 and SS2 need 2 craft in order to get to space, at least doubling the number of pilots needed. That also means longer to climb to altitude. Their propellant choice (hybrid) probably also means they can do at most one launch a day per vehicle pair. More overhead... Not as high flightrate... Their only choice was probably to go for larger scale in order to try to make up for those two drawbacks when hundreds of passengers are flying a year (not unrealistic, IMHO, considering that there are thousands of zero-gee parabolic flights a year). Also, having a larger carrier vehicle gives them more options when it comes to airlaunched orbital rockets.

I wonder about a Lynx-like vehicle carried aloft by a White Knight II-like vehicle... Might get closer to orbit to catch a tether or something.
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: mlorrey on 03/13/2011 01:49 am
I was under the impression that the solid fuel engine on SS1 was clamped on and could be swapped out in a few hours, and of course, refilling a NOx tank is as easy as a LOX tank. No reason they couldn't do at least 1 flight a day. My only real concern with that vehicle was the roll control issue.

Obviously Lynx will be capable of multiple flights per day, which makes up for the minimal seating, the ride from ground up is obviously superior from an experience standpoint (pulling a zoom maneuver off a runway always beats one made at 35,000 ft for adrenaline, hands down), the view is superior, and its being built from the start as being very capable of serving the research community rather than just as an add-on afterthought.

I see Virgin is scrambling now to do a big "me too, but we still are first, who is xcor? never heard of em" routine wrt the research community.
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: Robert Thompson on 03/13/2011 06:58 am
A Virgin Galactic niche group will be those who must share the experience, and this carries a premium. This premium experience means a vast infrastructure, and a less distributable operation. An Xcor niche group will be individuals who need not share the experience, and the smaller infrastructure will allow a more distributable operation.

The following is, as far as I can get data, a comparison of offerings per person.

Weightlessness commodity
SS2: 110,000 meters * 6 min * 60 sec / cost $200,000 = 198 meter-seconds/dollar
<http://www.virgingalactic.com/overview/spaceships/>
<http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-1319464/Virgin-Galactic-tourism-rocket-SpaceShipTwo-embarks-solo-glide-flight.html>
Lynx: 100,000 meters * 3 min * 60 sec / $95,000 = 189 meter-seconds/dollar
<http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lynx_rocketplane>
Vomit Comet: 10,000 meters * 30 sec / $5000 = 60 meter-seconds/dollar

High altitude commodity
Mig25: 25,000 meters * 30 min * 60 sec / cost $20,800 = 2163 meter-seconds/dollar
<http://rusadventures.com/tour6.shtml>
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: kkattula on 03/13/2011 07:55 am
...
The following is, as far as I can get data, a comparison of offerings per person.

Weightlessness commodity
SS2: 110,000 meters * 6 min * 60 sec / cost $200,000 = 198 meter-seconds/dollar

Lynx is around 65,000 m for Mk I

Mk II should be around 110,000 m &  6 min, similar to SS2.

But your units are wrong. You haven't included the square meterage of window space available to each participant. Or perhaps that should be vieing area in degrees ^2?

Then again, SS2 allows people to float around the cabin, whereas Lynx wouldn't. But you can't look out the window while doing zero-g stunts.


IMO, Lynx will offer a far better flight experience. Even more so with Mk II.
Use 5% of the money you save to do a Vomit Comet as well.
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: jongoff on 03/21/2011 09:11 pm
Interesting announcement:
http://www.ulalaunch.com/site/pages/News.shtml#/68/

Some of my thoughts:
http://selenianboondocks.com/2011/03/xcorula-aluminum-rocket-nozzle-announcement/
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: jongoff on 03/21/2011 09:20 pm
I should elaborate.  It looks like as part of their Lynx development, they've gone with an all-aluminum nozzle, which got ULA interested in seeing if they could do something like that for an RL10-class LOX/LH2 engine. So the two companies teamed up to do some testing.

Very cool (especially if you're using LH2 as the fuel...)

~Jon
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: mlorrey on 03/21/2011 09:39 pm
I should elaborate.  It looks like as part of their Lynx development, they've gone with an all-aluminum nozzle, which got ULA interested in seeing if they could do something like that for an RL10-class LOX/LH2 engine. So the two companies teamed up to do some testing.

Very cool (especially if you're using LH2 as the fuel...)

~Jon

This is where one starts having visions of Air Launched Sortie Vehicles and S-IV based SSTO designs.
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: jongoff on 03/22/2011 01:27 am
I should elaborate.  It looks like as part of their Lynx development, they've gone with an all-aluminum nozzle, which got ULA interested in seeing if they could do something like that for an RL10-class LOX/LH2 engine. So the two companies teamed up to do some testing.

Very cool (especially if you're using LH2 as the fuel...)

~Jon

This is where one starts having visions of Air Launched Sortie Vehicles and S-IV based SSTO designs.

One of the XCOR guys (Dan DeLong) was the guy who came up with an air-launched SSTO "SpacePlane" while at Teledyne Brown Engineering. An engine like this would allow you to do a scaled-down version, though I'm still partial to glide-forward TSTO designs.  With a SS2-mass glideforward TSTO RLV design using engines in the RL10 class for the first stage (and a mini version for the upper stage), you could probably put a Falcon 1e sized payload into orbit with only one expendable stage.  And if you wanted to make that upper stage a reusable one it could still probably get into the ~500lb to LEO range.

This isn't necessarily as off-topic as it sounds.  XCOR isn't necessarily opposed to air-launched vehicles, and it hasn't exactly tipped its hand on how it wants to attack orbit once Lynx is done.

~Jon
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: mlorrey on 03/22/2011 06:41 am
I should elaborate.  It looks like as part of their Lynx development, they've gone with an all-aluminum nozzle, which got ULA interested in seeing if they could do something like that for an RL10-class LOX/LH2 engine. So the two companies teamed up to do some testing.

Very cool (especially if you're using LH2 as the fuel...)

~Jon

This is where one starts having visions of Air Launched Sortie Vehicles and S-IV based SSTO designs.

One of the XCOR guys (Dan DeLong) was the guy who came up with an air-launched SSTO "SpacePlane" while at Teledyne Brown Engineering. An engine like this would allow you to do a scaled-down version, though I'm still partial to glide-forward TSTO designs.  With a SS2-mass glideforward TSTO RLV design using engines in the RL10 class for the first stage (and a mini version for the upper stage), you could probably put a Falcon 1e sized payload into orbit with only one expendable stage.  And if you wanted to make that upper stage a reusable one it could still probably get into the ~500lb to LEO range.

This isn't necessarily as off-topic as it sounds.  XCOR isn't necessarily opposed to air-launched vehicles, and it hasn't exactly tipped its hand on how it wants to attack orbit once Lynx is done.

~Jon

As I recall, one of the ALSV designs had nine RL-10 class engines, the one launched off the back of the 747 that had rockets in its tail.
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: jongoff on 03/22/2011 02:37 pm
Here's an XCOR release about the work:

http://xcor.com/press-releases/2011/11-03-22_XCOR_and_ULA_demonstrate_rocket_engine_nozzle.html

March 22, 2011, Centennial, CO, and Mojave, CA, USA: United Launch Alliance (ULA) and XCOR Aerospace announced today their successful hot-fire demonstrations of a lighter-weight, lower-cost approach to liquid-fueled rocket-engine vacuum nozzles. The new nozzle technology, which uses aluminum alloys and innovative manufacturing techniques, is projected to be less costly and save hundreds of pounds of mass compared to nozzles in use today in typical large upper-stage rocket engine systems.

Under a 2010 joint risk-reduction program by XCOR and ULA, ULA facilitated an accelerated demonstration of the nozzle technology, which was developed in XCOR’s Lynx reusable, suborbital-vehicle technology program. ULA sought to determine the nozzle technology’s applicability to future expendable launch vehicle programs. Earlier in the same risk-reduction program, XCOR demonstrated the ability to pump liquid hydrogen (LH2) using cryogenic piston-pump technology it developed for the Lynx suborbital vehicle.

Based on the results of these successful technology demonstrations, ULA today announced a larger follow-on program with XCOR to develop a liquid oxygen (LOX)/LH2 engine.

Conceived as a lower-cost, risk-managed program compared to traditional engine development efforts, the multi-year project’s main objective is to produce a flight-ready LOX/LH2 upper-stage engine in the 25,000 to 30,000 lbf thrust class that costs significantly less to produce and is easier to operate and integrate than competing engine technologies. If successful, the effort will lead to significantly lower-cost and more-capable commercial and US government space flights delivered by ULA.

"ULA understands that we have to offer competitive prices to our government and commercial customers along with the outstanding and unmatched reliability they expect from us,” said Dr. George Sowers, vice president of business development and advanced programs at ULA. “By working with XCOR, we see the potential to develop engines that offer the performance and reliability our customers need at a more affordable price."

The companies structured their LOX/LH2 engine development program with multiple “go / no-go” decision points and performance milestones to ensure a cost-effective and risk-managed approach to this challenging effort. As demonstrated during prior ULA and XCOR joint engagements, XCOR’s small-company environment facilitates rapid turnaround for build and test cycles that drive innovative learning, while ULA’s small company project management approach ensures their needs are met but does not stifle the creative process or saddle XCOR with excessive paperwork burdens typical of large government contracts. In addition, ULA is helping to bolster the Tier 2 and Tier 3 aerospace-industrial supply chain in the United States, which is critical to ensuring the United States aerospace sector remains competitive in the global marketplace.

“This announcement validates XCOR’s business mantra of ‘stay focused on propulsion, Lynx and the customer’ and ULA is a great customer,” said Andrew Nelson, Chief Operating Officer at XCOR. “And when you have innovative, safe, low-cost and fully reusable technologies that fly multiple times a day, those technologies will find other buyers, such as ULA. Whether it is non-toxic thrusters, fully reusable main-engine propulsion, cryogenic flight-weight piston pumps, or non-flammable cryogenically compatible composite tanks and structures – the future looks bright for XCOR.”

The demonstrations announced today are from integrated engine/nozzle test firings with XCOR’s Lynx 5K18 LOX/kerosene engine. The engine/nozzle combination demonstrates the ability of the aluminum nozzle to withstand the high temperatures of rocket-engine exhaust over numerous tests, with no discernable degradation of the material properties of the alloys. The tests validated the design, materials and manufacturing processes used in the nozzle, and laid a foundation for scaling the design to EELV-sized engines. The results also demonstrate the reusability of the engine and nozzle combination which is essential for low-cost, daily suborbital flights by the Lynx and other vehicles.

“We are honored to work with the great team of individuals at ULA, a Tier 1 aerospace supplier,” said Jeff Greason, XCOR CEO. “The critical engine technology we’re developing for ULA may one day launch satellites, capsules and space stations for government and commercial customers. Customers such as the US Air Force, NASA, the National Reconnaissance Office, Boeing and Bigelow Aerospace all stand to benefit from this partnership. For a rocket engineer, there is nothing more exciting than firing a new engine for the first time. We can’t wait for the day when we first fire the new hydrogen engine for ULA.”


# # # # #
United Launch Alliance - 50-50 joint venture owned by Lockheed Martin and The Boeing Company—is the nation’s rocket company, bringing together two of the launch industry’s most experienced and successful teams – Atlas and Delta. ULA provides reliable, cost-efficient space launch services for the Department of Defense, NASA, the National Reconnaissance Office and other commercial organizations. ULA program management, engineering, test and mission support functions are headquartered in Denver, Colo. Manufacturing, assembly and integration operations are located at Decatur, Ala. and Harlingen, Tex. Launch operations are located at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida, and Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif. For more information on the ULA joint venture, visit the ULA website at www.ulalaunch.com.

XCOR Aerospace is located in Mojave, California. The company is in the business of developing and producing safe, reliable and reusable rocket powered vehicles, propulsion systems, advanced non-flammable composites and other enabling technologies. XCOR is currently working with aerospace prime contractors and government customers on major propulsion systems, and concurrently building the Lynx, a piloted, two-seat, fully reusable, liquid rocket-powered vehicle that takes off and lands horizontally. The Lynx production models (designated Lynx Mark II) are designed to be robust, multi-commercial mission vehicles capable of flying to 100+ km in altitude up to four times per day and are being offered on a wet lease basis. (www.xcor.com)
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: butters on 03/22/2011 03:16 pm
So in other words, ULA wants to reduce their dependence on PWR. Sounds like a good idea to me.
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: manboy on 03/22/2011 03:27 pm
I should elaborate.  It looks like as part of their Lynx development, they've gone with an all-aluminum nozzle, which got ULA interested in seeing if they could do something like that for an RL10-class LOX/LH2 engine. So the two companies teamed up to do some testing.

Very cool (especially if you're using LH2 as the fuel...)

~Jon

This is where one starts having visions of Air Launched Sortie Vehicles and S-IV based SSTO designs.
This isn't necessarily as off-topic as it sounds.  XCOR isn't necessarily opposed to air-launched vehicles, and it hasn't exactly tipped its hand on how it wants to attack orbit once Lynx is done.
Old video but it talks about how they might do it.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SFgyEfobVpo
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: jongoff on 03/22/2011 03:59 pm
I should elaborate.  It looks like as part of their Lynx development, they've gone with an all-aluminum nozzle, which got ULA interested in seeing if they could do something like that for an RL10-class LOX/LH2 engine. So the two companies teamed up to do some testing.

Very cool (especially if you're using LH2 as the fuel...)

~Jon

This is where one starts having visions of Air Launched Sortie Vehicles and S-IV based SSTO designs.
This isn't necessarily as off-topic as it sounds.  XCOR isn't necessarily opposed to air-launched vehicles, and it hasn't exactly tipped its hand on how it wants to attack orbit once Lynx is done.
Old video but it talks about how they might do it.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SFgyEfobVpo

It'll be interesting to see if Jeff has anything to add at Space Access this year.

~Jon
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: simonbp on 03/22/2011 06:19 pm
So, presumably, the "larger LH2/LOX" engine they are talking about is NGE, the RL-10 replacement that ULA has be talking about for the past couple years?
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: RocketEconomist327 on 03/22/2011 07:53 pm
Here's an XCOR release about the work:

http://xcor.com/press-releases/2011/11-03-22_XCOR_and_ULA_demonstrate_rocket_engine_nozzle.html

March 22, 2011, Centennial, CO, and Mojave, CA, USA: United Launch Alliance (ULA) and XCOR Aerospace announced today their successful hot-fire demonstrations of a lighter-weight, lower-cost approach to liquid-fueled rocket-engine vacuum nozzles. The new nozzle technology, which uses aluminum alloys and innovative manufacturing techniques, is projected to be less costly and save hundreds of pounds of mass compared to nozzles in use today in typical large upper-stage rocket engine systems.

Under a 2010 joint risk-reduction program by XCOR and ULA, ULA facilitated an accelerated demonstration of the nozzle technology, which was developed in XCOR’s Lynx reusable, suborbital-vehicle technology program. ULA sought to determine the nozzle technology’s applicability to future expendable launch vehicle programs. Earlier in the same risk-reduction program, XCOR demonstrated the ability to pump liquid hydrogen (LH2) using cryogenic piston-pump technology it developed for the Lynx suborbital vehicle.

Based on the results of these successful technology demonstrations, ULA today announced a larger follow-on program with XCOR to develop a liquid oxygen (LOX)/LH2 engine.

Conceived as a lower-cost, risk-managed program compared to traditional engine development efforts, the multi-year project’s main objective is to produce a flight-ready LOX/LH2 upper-stage engine in the 25,000 to 30,000 lbf thrust class that costs significantly less to produce and is easier to operate and integrate than competing engine technologies. If successful, the effort will lead to significantly lower-cost and more-capable commercial and US government space flights delivered by ULA.

"ULA understands that we have to offer competitive prices to our government and commercial customers along with the outstanding and unmatched reliability they expect from us,” said Dr. George Sowers, vice president of business development and advanced programs at ULA. “By working with XCOR, we see the potential to develop engines that offer the performance and reliability our customers need at a more affordable price."

The companies structured their LOX/LH2 engine development program with multiple “go / no-go” decision points and performance milestones to ensure a cost-effective and risk-managed approach to this challenging effort. As demonstrated during prior ULA and XCOR joint engagements, XCOR’s small-company environment facilitates rapid turnaround for build and test cycles that drive innovative learning, while ULA’s small company project management approach ensures their needs are met but does not stifle the creative process or saddle XCOR with excessive paperwork burdens typical of large government contracts. In addition, ULA is helping to bolster the Tier 2 and Tier 3 aerospace-industrial supply chain in the United States, which is critical to ensuring the United States aerospace sector remains competitive in the global marketplace.

“This announcement validates XCOR’s business mantra of ‘stay focused on propulsion, Lynx and the customer’ and ULA is a great customer,” said Andrew Nelson, Chief Operating Officer at XCOR. “And when you have innovative, safe, low-cost and fully reusable technologies that fly multiple times a day, those technologies will find other buyers, such as ULA. Whether it is non-toxic thrusters, fully reusable main-engine propulsion, cryogenic flight-weight piston pumps, or non-flammable cryogenically compatible composite tanks and structures – the future looks bright for XCOR.”

The demonstrations announced today are from integrated engine/nozzle test firings with XCOR’s Lynx 5K18 LOX/kerosene engine. The engine/nozzle combination demonstrates the ability of the aluminum nozzle to withstand the high temperatures of rocket-engine exhaust over numerous tests, with no discernable degradation of the material properties of the alloys. The tests validated the design, materials and manufacturing processes used in the nozzle, and laid a foundation for scaling the design to EELV-sized engines. The results also demonstrate the reusability of the engine and nozzle combination which is essential for low-cost, daily suborbital flights by the Lynx and other vehicles.

“We are honored to work with the great team of individuals at ULA, a Tier 1 aerospace supplier,” said Jeff Greason, XCOR CEO. “The critical engine technology we’re developing for ULA may one day launch satellites, capsules and space stations for government and commercial customers. Customers such as the US Air Force, NASA, the National Reconnaissance Office, Boeing and Bigelow Aerospace all stand to benefit from this partnership. For a rocket engineer, there is nothing more exciting than firing a new engine for the first time. We can’t wait for the day when we first fire the new hydrogen engine for ULA.”


# # # # #
United Launch Alliance - 50-50 joint venture owned by Lockheed Martin and The Boeing Company—is the nation’s rocket company, bringing together two of the launch industry’s most experienced and successful teams – Atlas and Delta. ULA provides reliable, cost-efficient space launch services for the Department of Defense, NASA, the National Reconnaissance Office and other commercial organizations. ULA program management, engineering, test and mission support functions are headquartered in Denver, Colo. Manufacturing, assembly and integration operations are located at Decatur, Ala. and Harlingen, Tex. Launch operations are located at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida, and Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif. For more information on the ULA joint venture, visit the ULA website at www.ulalaunch.com.

XCOR Aerospace is located in Mojave, California. The company is in the business of developing and producing safe, reliable and reusable rocket powered vehicles, propulsion systems, advanced non-flammable composites and other enabling technologies. XCOR is currently working with aerospace prime contractors and government customers on major propulsion systems, and concurrently building the Lynx, a piloted, two-seat, fully reusable, liquid rocket-powered vehicle that takes off and lands horizontally. The Lynx production models (designated Lynx Mark II) are designed to be robust, multi-commercial mission vehicles capable of flying to 100+ km in altitude up to four times per day and are being offered on a wet lease basis. (www.xcor.com)

Kudos to ULA helping to fund this.  This is the first time in a long time I have been able to smile with genuine satisfaction when I mentioned ULA.

Great work.

Respectfully,
RocketEconomist327
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: crab nebula2 on 03/25/2011 12:26 am
XCOR's announcement seems to imply they will use a piston pump in their new engine.  Does anybody have an idea what the engine cycle will be like? I believe the RL10 is an expander cycle where the heated hydrogen gas is used to drive the turbo pumps in a closed cycle. What will XCOR use to drive their piston pump?
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: simonbp on 03/25/2011 05:36 am
Just a standard gas generator/turbine? A piston pump with a crankshaft allows you to drive it with a rotary shaft, so it shouldn't make much difference.
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: crab nebula2 on 03/25/2011 04:24 pm
I understand that turbine generators need to operate at high rpm to achieve reasonable efficiency. Typically in excess of 10,000 rpm. Whereas piston pumps want to operate at much lower rpm.  This implies that a large reduction gear box is required.  Is this practical?
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: jongoff on 03/25/2011 05:50 pm
My understanding is that XCOR has developed an "expander-like" cycle for running their piston pump. They were planning on using that for Lynx, and this would just be a higher-power variant of the same with a better working fluid.

~Jon
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: Robert Thompson on 03/27/2011 12:07 pm
http://www.parabolicarc.com/2011/03/25/xcor-promo-video/
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: mlorrey on 03/31/2011 05:46 am
http://www.parabolicarc.com/2011/03/25/xcor-promo-video/

Thats been set to private.
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: Robert Thompson on 03/31/2011 11:22 pm
This works:
http://www.youtube.com/user/RocketShipTours#p/u/0/MxWH2Aqs8uc

Interesting: "Croation woman wins ride on XCOR Lynx"
http://www.hobbyspace.com/nucleus/index.php?itemid=27164

( http://www.youtube.com/user/XCORAerospace
http://www.youtube.com/user/RocketShipTours, "General Sales Agent for XCOR Aerospace" )
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: sdsds on 04/17/2011 07:29 am
XCOR and SXC sign exclusivity contract for ‘tail number 1’
Posted on April 12, 2011
http://spaceexperiencecuracao.com/blog/press-release-april-12-2011/
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: MikeAtkinson on 04/17/2011 08:10 am
XCOR and SXC sign exclusivity contract for ‘tail number 1’
Posted on April 12, 2011
http://spaceexperiencecuracao.com/blog/press-release-april-12-2011/

Quote
On behalf of XCOR, three-time Space Shuttle pilot Rick Searfoss explained: “The testing program which we are currently running is going extremely well. Early next year, we will make the first sub-orbital flight, after which the final development will speed up tremendously. According to our schedule, we will be ready for commercial take-off by the end of 2013”.

Early next year for the first sub-orbital flight is great news.
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: mlorrey on 04/25/2011 06:30 am
Awesome TED talk by Jeff:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m8PlzDgFQMM&feature=player_embedded
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: jongoff on 04/25/2011 03:21 pm
Awesome TED talk by Jeff:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m8PlzDgFQMM&feature=player_embedded

Agreed, this TEDx talk was great.  I wish it had gotten it's own thread in a more viewed part of NSF.com though...

~Jon
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: yg1968 on 04/26/2011 03:41 am
Very inspiring. It talks about the importance of exploration (not just about Xcor).
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: mlorrey on 05/08/2011 05:39 am
List of "Founder Astronauts" released by Space Experience Curacao includes celebrities, wanting to fly XCOR's Lynx vehicle's first 100 flights:

http://www.parabolicarc.com/2011/04/16/victorias-secret-model-doutzen-kroes-fly-space-2014/

http://sports.yahoo.com/mlb/blog/big_league_stew/post/Giants-hitting-coach-plans-trip-to-outer-space-f?urn=mlb-wp5438

Looks like a good starting wait list.
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: A_M_Swallow on 05/08/2011 12:23 pm
I wonder if Victoria’s Secret model Doutzen Kroes is going to start a new fashion in women's space wear?
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: Silmfeanor on 05/08/2011 02:07 pm
I was kinda ticked off by the shoddy reporting, ie "blasted into orbit".
While I applaud this effort and hopefully will do something like this in my lifetime, I hope people would become a bit more knowledgeable about what the diffirence is between "going into space" and "being in orbit".

best of luck to XCOR, I hope to see it fly soon!
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: Skylab on 05/08/2011 04:53 pm
I was kinda ticked off by the shoddy reporting, ie "blasted into orbit".
Or the 'quality newspapers' reporting these flights were already launching from the US and Curacao, with Holland getting them soon. The bloody spacecraft isn't even finished yet!
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: yg1968 on 05/09/2011 04:28 pm
For the time being, I have only heard of the Lynx launching from either Curaçao or South Korea.
http://spaceexperiencecuracao.com/
www.portsky.net

I haven't heard of any firm plans to launch commercially from the United States or from the Netherlands.
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: Patchouli on 05/09/2011 04:50 pm
For the time being, I have only heard of the Lynx launching from either Curaçao or South Korea.
http://spaceexperiencecuracao.com/
www.portsky.net

I haven't heard of any firm plans to launch commercially from the United States or from the Netherlands.


South Korea seems like a poor choice or locations to operate from esp when off nominal landings and ITAR are considered.
NK to the north and most of the and most of Korea is very rugged which is not where you'd want to make an emergency landing.
The only plains and wide valleys are on the west coast but they are generally densely populated.
The Netherlands has a similar problem very densely populated though this problem becomes less once extensive flight experience is gained.
 For early operations New Mexico is probably the best place you could ask for as it has lots of good abort options etc its fairly flat and sparely populated etc.
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: Robotbeat on 05/09/2011 05:29 pm
So what? The idea is you wet lease them a Lynx. You let them deal with the business case of operating there. Also, you can land at an airport, just like a jet plane. Are you suggesting no jets fly in South Korea or Curaçao?

The Lynx will fly many, many test flights. It can fly multiple test flights every day (once built), and so a comparison with a jet airplane and its abort modes is valid.
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: Robert Thompson on 05/18/2011 08:17 am
List of "Founder Astronauts" released by Space Experience Curacao includes celebrities, wanting to fly XCOR's Lynx vehicle's first 100 flights:

http://www.parabolicarc.com/2011/04/16/victorias-secret-model-doutzen-kroes-fly-space-2014/

http://sports.yahoo.com/mlb/blog/big_league_stew/post/Giants-hitting-coach-plans-trip-to-outer-space-f?urn=mlb-wp5438

Looks like a good starting wait list.

That is sooo the right way to bring in broad constituencies of conversation. Get this onto the tip of the tongue of pregame and gossip shows. Get this to appear, unexpectedly, in very ordinary pieces of media. Get the oddity to a curiosity to a feasible to a 6th degree to an enviable. Let the gravity bring the particles in from infinity, let the particles see it done, let the particles feel a greater and greater potential. Let there be a field of envy in an upward direction, a field effected by the ceaseless interchange of many massless words moving at the speed of light.
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: QuantumG on 05/18/2011 08:29 am
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l56JGOnlsFI
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: go4mars on 05/21/2011 04:53 am
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gHpxpD1MV9I&feature=player_embedded#at=252
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: Jason1701 on 06/14/2011 01:17 pm
Parabolic Arc has some pictures:

http://www.parabolicarc.com/2011/06/14/exclusive-pictures-xcors-lynx-built/
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: NotGncDude on 06/14/2011 05:29 pm
Parabolic Arc has some pictures:

http://www.parabolicarc.com/2011/06/14/exclusive-pictures-xcors-lynx-built/

Ah! You beat me to it. :)
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: mlorrey on 06/14/2011 07:45 pm
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qmbnzCV4vUc&NR=1

RC model of a Long EZ propelled by a pulse jet.... saw this vid and thought EZ-Rocket fans would be interested.
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: go4mars on 06/17/2011 03:16 pm
I wonder if Victoria’s Secret model Doutzen Kroes is going to start a new fashion in women's space wear?

I'll keep my fingers crossed!  Ideally demonstrating a new "anti-grav" Victoria Secret line. 
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: Robert Thompson on 06/20/2011 04:22 pm
RC model of a Long EZ propelled by a pulse jet.... saw this vid and thought EZ-Rocket fans would be interested.

That's awesome. I talked to Rick Searfoss at the recent SpaceFest III in Tucson, and he was rather dim on the prospects for Rocket Racing even as a sport. He said the management of Rocket Racing League had changed over to someone pointedly uninspiring, and he didn't think the business model would be sustainable, even with fully developed vehicles. (And video games obviously wouldn't fund it to much degree.)

He said XCOR has designs for a two stage orbital rocket. (I'll go ahead and assume liquid fuel.) He seemed to share my intrigue that Virgin Galactic is perfecting their cart without yet having a perfect horse (all substantive questions retired).

I checked with him on the propriety of the analogy that the Lynx is like a model T in ubiquity, footprint, turnaround, modularity, low(er) overhead, lesser infrastructure, all in respect to the most similar competitor SS2. He said he'd never thought of it that way before and would pass it on to Greason.  :-\
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: Lampyridae on 06/22/2011 10:13 am
Awesome TED talk by Jeff:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m8PlzDgFQMM&feature=player_embedded

Sad. I was never alive when Apollo went to the moon. We're losing shuttle, but gaining at least 3 space planes (Lynx, SS2, Dreamchaser)... heh, maybe even Skylon.

With reference to his Challenger story, I remember reading about the first Columbia flight when I was, I don't know, eight? National Geo had mentioned that some of the tiles had come off. Even then I worried about that - it was only a matter of time.
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: Robert Thompson on 07/03/2011 10:33 pm
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1-9lh0aqbow (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1-9lh0aqbow)

Background, business plan, choice of wings, ideas for two-stage (winged?) orbital vehicle. (4/11)
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: Robotbeat on 07/05/2011 03:24 pm
http://twitter.com/#!/RyInSpace/statuses/86822719324295168 (http://twitter.com/#!/RyInSpace/statuses/86822719324295168)
Quote
RyInSpace: SwRI has contracted 2 providers (XCOR & @Virgin_Galactic) for 8 seats, which are going up to 17! @AlanStern 3 experiments designed & ready.

Cool!
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: Robert Thompson on 07/13/2011 04:54 am
Planetary Science Institute Selects XCOR to Fly Atsa Suborbital Observatory (July 12 2011)
http://www.xcor.com/press-releases/2011/11-07-12_Planetary_Science_Institute_selects_XCOR_for_Atsa.html
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: Jason1701 on 07/13/2011 02:34 pm


:o
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: SpacemanInSPACE on 07/16/2011 05:00 am
Out of all the spacecrafts being developed in the near term, I must say that I find the Lynx to be the most beautiful of them all.
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: Danderman on 07/16/2011 05:35 am
Planetary Science Institute Selects XCOR to Fly Atsa Suborbital Observatory (July 12 2011)
http://www.xcor.com/press-releases/2011/11-07-12_Planetary_Science_Institute_selects_XCOR_for_Atsa.html

Has this Institute actually flown similar instruments in the past?
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: docmordrid on 07/16/2011 05:54 am
PSI is currently managing Dawn's Gamma-Ray and Neutron Detector. Does that count?
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: NotGncDude on 07/19/2011 01:30 am

:o

Now we only need to put a Gatling gun... Or a laser...
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: Danderman on 08/15/2011 01:12 pm
http://xcor.com/press-releases/2011/11-08-12_NASA_selects_XCOR_for_suborbital_contract.html

"August 12, 2011, Mojave, CA:  NASA has selected XCOR Aerospace to provide suborbital flight and payload integration services for research and scientific missions in a program that will offer up to $10 million dollars in contracts to match payload customers with flight vehicle services. The awards were announced by NASA’s Flight Opportunities Program, a part of NASA’s Office of the Chief Technologist at NASA Headquarters in Washington, DC that is managed at Dryden Flight Research Center in Edwards, California.

“Through this award, NASA has recognized XCOR's Lynx suborbital vehicle as a useful payload platform that will benefit both NASA's R&D needs and the private research, scientific, and educational communities,” said Jeff Greason, XCOR CEO.  “By encouraging and incentivizing frequent, low cost access to space, NASA is helping to ensure America's future as a leader in space.”

XCOR’s suborbital reusable launch vehicle, Lynx, is capable of up to four flights per day using advanced rapid call-up and turnaround operations. The Lynx will provide three to four minutes of microgravity as well as, if desired, exposure to the harsh environment of space. This will provide opportunities to investigate the largely unexplored regions of our upper atmosphere. 

XCOR has partnered with four leading payload integration providers in the US to give NASA and the research community a first-rate experience for the Program’s missions. The Planetary Science Institute (PSI) of Arizona, Southwest Research Institute (SwRI) in Texas, NanoRacks LLC of Houston, TX, and Spaceflight Services of Washington will provide payload processing and related support services based on their multiple areas of expertise.  These independent payload service providers specialize in atmospheric science, physics, microgravity research, planetary science, Earth observation, and life sciences, and other areas.  XCOR’s partners are among the premier organizations in specialized suborbital and orbital commercial payload development and integration.  PSI recently announced their Atsa Suborbital Observatory, a versatile facility that will maintain cameras and telescopes to conduct astronomical observations or remote sensing of the Earth, will fly on Lynx. SwRI is the pioneering national research institute that will be the first Lynx launch customer for broad based suborbital payload integration and research. NanoRacks and Space Flight Services are national leaders in orbital payload integration and science experimentation, with NanoRacks already providing research platforms on the International Space Station and SpaceFlight Services offering stand alone on-orbit research and transport of experiments to the ISS in the SpaceX Dragon capsule. "
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: manboy on 08/24/2011 11:44 pm
Moon and Back Interview - Khaki McKee (Aug.22-24)

http://moonandback.com/2011/08/22/moonandback-interview-with-khaki-mckee-part-1-xcor-and-the-lynx/

http://moonandback.com/2011/08/23/moonandback-interview-with-khaki-mckee-part-2-building-an-industry/

http://moonandback.com/2011/08/24/moonandback-interview-with-khaki-mckee-part-3-build-design-test-repeat/

Summary of video 1: Test expected in fall of 2012. Xcor now employs about 30 people.
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: docmordrid on 08/25/2011 12:58 am
Lynx vid explains why they didn't go down the road to Firestar for a non-toxic RCS fuel (NOFBX) - they're specifically avoiding nitrous oxide.
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: Rocket Science on 08/25/2011 01:18 am

:o

Now we only need to put a Gatling gun... Or a laser...
Nah... think big... Photon Torpedo! :D
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: go4mars on 08/26/2011 03:43 am
Lynx vid explains why they didn't go down the road to Firestar for a non-toxic RCS fuel (NOFBX) - they're specifically avoiding nitrous oxide.

"For safety reasons"
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: Robotbeat on 08/26/2011 04:34 am
Lynx vid explains why they didn't go down the road to Firestar for a non-toxic RCS fuel (NOFBX) - they're specifically avoiding nitrous oxide.

"For safety reasons"
Considering that rocket engines are at least as good at blowing up as they are at transporting you to space, it's safe to say this field has a strong evolutionary preference for folks with a bias towards being a little extra careful.

Reminds me of a quote about the early airplane pioneers:

"At that time [1909] the chief engineer was almost always the chief test pilot as well. That had the fortunate result of eliminating poor engineering early in aviation" (Igor Sikorsky)
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: Moe Grills on 08/26/2011 07:52 pm

Reminds me of a quote about the early airplane pioneers:

"At that time [1909] the chief engineer was almost always the chief test pilot as well. That had the fortunate result of eliminating poor engineering early in aviation" (Igor Sikorsky)

   True, as a generality, but I'm reminded that the aviation pioneer,
Otto Lileanthal was killed in a glider crash in 1896 after 5 years of safe gliding.
 BTW, as an aside, Mr. Lileanthal was just months away from conversion work on turning a glider into a powered aircraft with an petrol motor when he was killed.
"What if? 1897 in Germany, instead of 1903 in North Carolina? 
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: mlorrey on 09/14/2011 11:51 am
XCOR is hiring, I got an email about two engineering positions open there and a CNC machinist. Details should be on their website.
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: MrAnthonyDR on 09/16/2011 09:23 am
Summary of video 1: Test expected in fall of 2012. Xcor now employs about 30 people.

How does this compare to Virgin Galactic? (Out of interest)

EDIT: In terms of workforce size, not technical specs or mission profile (I think that stuff goes without saying).
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: docmordrid on 09/16/2011 10:25 am
From Outside Magazine - (http://www.outsideonline.com/outdoor-adventure/best-jobs/24-Virgin-Galactic.html)

Quote
LOCATION: Mojave, CA
NUMBER OF EMPLOYEES: 50
BEST PERKS: Alternative work environment, Flex time, Fitness
HIRING? YES! virgingalactic.com

Virgin Galactic is the world’s first spaceline, offering a suborbital tourism experience to private individuals. TSC (or the Spaceship Company) is the manufacturer of Galactic’s spaceships and carrier aircraft that will take people into space.

We’re working on something that has never been done before—commercial space travel. There is a passion of all involved for building a small company up as it moves toward commercial operations.

Outside Magazine, September 2011
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: MrAnthonyDR on 09/16/2011 10:28 am
Thanks. 50 vs 30.
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: Robotbeat on 09/16/2011 04:37 pm
Thanks. 50 vs 30.
I don't think this includes people working on the vehicle(s) at Scaled Composites or SpaceDev (working on the hybrid motors).

Another reason why I think the Lynx will end up being cheaper per passenger.
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: simonbp on 09/16/2011 04:42 pm
Another reason why I think the Lynx will end up being cheaper per seat.

Definitely cheaper per flight, but remember that Lynx only has two seats, and one of those is the pilot! SS2, on the other hand, has room for six passengers. This difference is seen in the marketing: SS2 is aimed at tourists, while Lynx is really targeted at the research market (and possibly nanosat launch).
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: intlibber on 09/20/2011 12:29 am
Another reason why I think the Lynx will end up being cheaper per seat.

Definitely cheaper per flight, but remember that Lynx only has two seats, and one of those is the pilot! SS2, on the other hand, has room for six passengers. This difference is seen in the marketing: SS2 is aimed at tourists, while Lynx is really targeted at the research market (and possibly nanosat launch).

Lynx seats are priced at 95k USD, SS2 seats are 195k USD. Lynx could go as low as 50k USD per seat, I doubt SS2 could do the same. Its the economics of a single stage vs two stage system.
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: jongoff on 09/20/2011 12:37 am
Another reason why I think the Lynx will end up being cheaper per seat.

Definitely cheaper per flight, but remember that Lynx only has two seats, and one of those is the pilot! SS2, on the other hand, has room for six passengers. This difference is seen in the marketing: SS2 is aimed at tourists, while Lynx is really targeted at the research market (and possibly nanosat launch).

That's not entirely accurate.  Lynx is definitely being marketed for "spaceflight participants" as well as researchers and nanosat applications.  IIRC, their recent deal with the spaceport in Curacao was pretty clearly for space tourism applications.

~Jon
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: simonbp on 09/20/2011 10:57 pm
Lynx seats are priced at 95k USD, SS2 seats are 195k USD. Lynx could go as low as 50k USD per seat, I doubt SS2 could do the same. Its the economics of a single stage vs two stage system.

But is it really 12 times cheaper per flight? I really doubt it, and it's likely that the first few SS2 flights are paying for the development (as well as the exclusivity of being "first"), and after a few years the cost will come down considerably, to lower than for Lynx.

Long-term (after several years of operations), IMHO SS2 will be the price leader for passengers, while Lynx will only have a few passengers and be mostly used for suborbital research...
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: jongoff on 09/20/2011 11:32 pm
Lynx seats are priced at 95k USD, SS2 seats are 195k USD. Lynx could go as low as 50k USD per seat, I doubt SS2 could do the same. Its the economics of a single stage vs two stage system.

But is it really 12 times cheaper per flight? I really doubt it, and it's likely that the first few SS2 flights are paying for the development (as well as the exclusivity of being "first"), and after a few years the cost will come down considerably, to lower than for Lynx.

Long-term (after several years of operations), IMHO SS2 will be the price leader for passengers, while Lynx will only have a few passengers and be mostly used for suborbital research...

While I have no way of knowing for sure, I actually expect Lynx to be the price leader.  SS2 and WK2 are much bigger vehicles, they're building full assembly lines, have much more people involved, have hybrid propulsion which isn't very competitive, etc...  AIUI, they've already spent over $150M on SS2/WK2 to-date, and were expecting to spend another $150M before getting into operations.  XCOR is expecting a total Lynx dev cost of under $30M...

I dunno, I may just be speaking my biases, but I think that Lynx will at least be competitive with SS2/WK2, if not leading outright on cost per seat.
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: js117 on 09/20/2011 11:45 pm
Is XCOR Lynx rocket plane cheaper per flight because it not going as high
as SS2. 62 miles compared to over 100 miles for SS2.
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: mlorrey on 09/21/2011 12:55 am
Is XCOR Lynx rocket plane cheaper per flight because it not going as high
as SS2. 62 miles compared to over 100 miles for SS2.

The Mark I Lynx is going to 62 km, the Mk II Lynx is going to 100 km, same as SS2. Lynx engines are lighter, higher thrust, and higher Isp than SS2, and the Lynx doesnt need a humongous mothership built from scratch to carry it part way.
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: deltaV on 09/21/2011 01:37 am
Considering that rocket engines are at least as good at blowing up as they are at transporting you to space
At least as good at blowing up as they are at blowing down? ;)

(Actually that should be blowing mostly sideways, but that doesn't sound as good.)
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: hop on 09/21/2011 02:42 am
But is it really 12 times cheaper per flight? I really doubt it, and it's likely that the first few SS2 flights are paying for the development (as well as the exclusivity of being "first"), and after a few years the cost will come down considerably, to lower than for Lynx.
I wouldn't be surprised. From what I can gather, Lynx is intended to be able to gas up and go like EZ-Rocket and the RRL planes. SS2 has a large jet carrier plane, and hybrids that need to be swapped/refurbished every flight.

The XCOR web site claims that EZ-Rocket cost $900/flight and much of that was helium ( http://www.xcor.com/products/vehicles/ez-rocket.html ) Obviously Lynx is a different beast, but if they achieve the operating characteristics they are shooting for, I don't see why it couldn't fly for a modest multiple of propellant cost. SS2 is never going to do that.
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: Bill White on 09/21/2011 03:26 am
Perhaps XCOR could sell Lynx airframes by setting up a league to race up to 100 km and later 100 miles.

Use a long and wide runway for simultaneous take offs of as many Lynx as can fit and let paying partners ride along in the passenger seat.
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: docmordrid on 09/21/2011 02:01 pm
In one of his many talks Greason hinted at a long-term project involving a runway-to-orbit system. No details, but I wouldn't bet against them.
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: go4mars on 09/21/2011 02:14 pm
In one of his many talks Greason hinted at a long-term project involving a runway-to-orbit system. No details, but I wouldn't bet against them.

I hope XCOR finds it's revenue stream to exceed expectations once Lynx is paying back.  I would love to see what architecture and hardware they are planning for orbital stuff!

p.s.  That would be a very[/i] long runway!  ;)
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: jongoff on 09/21/2011 02:38 pm
In one of his many talks Greason hinted at a long-term project involving a runway-to-orbit system. No details, but I wouldn't bet against them.

Well, they're already talking about nanosat launch using Lynx as a first stage, but they've also talked about doing fully-reusable TSTO designs down the road that could fly people to orbit...but my guess is that's a fair ways off.

~Jon
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: douglas100 on 09/21/2011 02:49 pm
I prefer Lynx to SS2 for reasons already given in this thread: a single vehicle instead of two and liquid propellant engines as opposed to a hybrid. Their engines are thoroughly tested and seem very reliable. Where I'm slightly uneasy is in the aerodynamic side of things. They don't have the same experience with aircraft design that Scaled has. They don't have "carefree" re-entry. The Lynx's attitude will have to be carefully controlled during descent. I'm thinking back to the X-15 which was lost in these circumstances.
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: mlorrey on 09/21/2011 03:54 pm
I prefer Lynx to SS2 for reasons already given in this thread: a single vehicle instead of two and liquid propellant engines as opposed to a hybrid. Their engines are thoroughly tested and seem very reliable. Where I'm slightly uneasy is in the aerodynamic side of things. They don't have the same experience with aircraft design that Scaled has. They don't have "carefree" re-entry. The Lynx's attitude will have to be carefully controlled during descent. I'm thinking back to the X-15 which was lost in these circumstances.

The X-15 was an unswept design, so was more prone to flat spins and other yaw/pitch issues. Lynx is swept wing, and with wingtip vertical stabilizers, and large flaps and aelerons, does provide a significant degree of "care-free" re-entry stability akin to the Dyna-Soar design. With exhaustion of fuel, the vehicle will be more nose heavy than at takeoff, so will reenter nose-down. Flap settings will ensure its nose down reentry conforms to a high angle of attack pitch.

Rutan's feathering system, while ingenious, is not entirely necessary, and actually exhibits a failure risk if it is unable to exit from feathering mode due to mechanical failure, it wont be able to glide to a landing.
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: mlorrey on 09/21/2011 04:26 pm
Considering that rocket engines are at least as good at blowing up as they are at transporting you to space
At least as good at blowing up as they are at blowing down? ;)

(Actually that should be blowing mostly sideways, but that doesn't sound as good.)

Actually, unlike Scaled and Virgin, XCOR has a perfect safety record, while having flown several times more missions.
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: douglas100 on 09/21/2011 08:11 pm

Rutan's feathering system, while ingenious, is not entirely necessary, and actually exhibits a failure risk if it is unable to exit from feathering mode due to mechanical failure, it wont be able to glide to a landing.

Agree with that.
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: mlorrey on 09/22/2011 02:40 am
An additional issue with cost per flight and flight rates: because Lynx is being built as a gas and go vehicle, its ability to sustain high flight rates will likely allow it to catch up to VG's present lead in testing, and XCOR's cost per test is significantly less. Rutan said they need 50-100 suborbital flights to get FAA certification, with pundits estimating it will be 2014 before SS2 is certified. That number of flights is 2-3 months work for Lynx, so XCOR could finish Lynx Mk I by June of 2013 and still beat VG to market.
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: mlorrey on 10/04/2011 12:37 am
http://www.myfoxny.com/dpp/news/new-space-venture-could-bring-every-city-on-earth-within-two-hours-travel-20111103-ncx
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: go4mars on 10/04/2011 02:12 am
http://www.myfoxny.com/dpp/news/new-space-venture-could-bring-every-city-on-earth-within-two-hours-travel-20111103-ncx

Thanks for posting this!

$93k by 2014.  I better buy a piggy bank!  ;)
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: douglas100 on 10/04/2011 08:21 am
The most important word in the headline is "could."

I could see Lynx succeeding in the niche market of flying rich tourists to the edge of space, but whether there is a market for city to city flights by spaceplanes is a very different matter.

Apart from that, the main difficulties are not technological but operational, regulatory and safety issues. For example, the noise of rocket engines would be unacceptable at a normal airport. Remember the trouble Concorde had with this issue?
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: simonbp on 10/04/2011 09:16 am
The trouble for Concorde was not the noise at the airport, but during the flight. A suborbital transport would not nesisarilly have the same problem.
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: douglas100 on 10/04/2011 03:31 pm
The trouble for Concorde was not the noise at the airport, but during the flight. A suborbital transport would not nesisarilly have the same problem.

There could be sonic booms on arrival, like the Shuttle. And I think rocket planes will have to operate away from residential areas because of noise. The only way to get round that restriction would perhaps be to air launch them like SS2. Then you lose the operational advantage of speed as you lose time climbing to launch altitude.

I think the market for suborbital commercial point-to-point flight is problematical. I believe it would be smaller than the potential SST market. And you'll notice that no one is exactly rushing in to replace Concorde. There have been a number of proposed supersonic bizjet schemes but none have succeeded yet.
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: Robotbeat on 10/04/2011 03:58 pm
While not practical for point-to-point transport, Lynx probably would be subsonic when near the ground... Lynx has much higher lift (proportionally) than Shuttle.

It's true that you need a system almost capable of reaching orbit to make intercontinental point-to-point transport realistic.
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: daj24 on 10/04/2011 04:01 pm
The trouble for Concorde was not the noise at the airport, but during the flight. A suborbital transport would not nesisarilly have the same problem.

No, I think that the trouble with the Concorde was that it was loud all of the time, not just the sonic booms.  It flew into Oshkosh one year and I remember thinking that it was louder than a Harrier in hover mode.  While it was leaving the area on a flight (in the late evening) all I could see was a couple of dots of lights (the engines) in the distance and I could still hear it. 
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: Bill White on 10/04/2011 04:14 pm
The trouble with Concorde was that it wasn't profitable (or at least less profitable than subsonic alternatives).
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: douglas100 on 10/04/2011 06:38 pm
Sorry, I should have known that bringing up Concorde would tempt us to go OT. :)

My point was that I think that suborbital transport vehicles will have to use specialised space ports away from built up areas if they use rocket engines to take off from a runway, like Lynx.

I'm not currently convinced there is a market for such a service. As for the future, who knows?
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: Bill White on 10/04/2011 07:01 pm
Lynx faces the same core issue as Concorde - how to make a profit with a really cool machine. 
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: mlorrey on 10/09/2011 07:01 am
Lynx faces the same core issue as Concorde - how to make a profit with a really cool machine. 

Lynx underbids its closest competitor by 50% and has plenty of room to underbid in a price war. It has no trouble making a profit on the current numbers. Lets do a simple business case. As i'm hearing it, a Lynx is selling for approximately 6-10 million USD (someone correct me if I'm wrong) and is capable of making 4-6 flights per day, carrying one passenger at $95k per flight PLUS additional revenue from science payloads, lets say another $40k from them (total guestimate, someone throw better numbers at me if I'm off), for a per flight revenue of $135,000, and a per day revenue of $540,000-$810,000. If each engine can handle 1000 flights, that means they can go for 180-250 days between major phase dock inspections/overhauls, which should last no more than two weeks at most based on my own flightline experience in the military. I don't know what XCOR is charging for new engine sets or engine overhauls, but 180 x $810,000 = $145,800,000 in gross revenue at 6 flights per day, or 250 x $540,000 = $135,000,000 at 4 flights per day. Fuel costs are miniscule, insurance costs are probably significant, plus the costs of training your passengers to be spaceflight participants (ground school, vomit comet flights, etc), however I don't think that the operating costs are going to be anywhere near 50% or greater. Frankly, if I had the money sitting around, I'd buy a Lynx and open an operation myself. This seems to me to be a really golden opportunity.
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: douglas100 on 10/09/2011 11:09 pm
Just to make it clear: in the post above I was questioning the market for  suborbital intercontinental transportation, not the market for Lynx itself. And in addition to what mlorrey posted, Lynx has other potential markets, like suborbital science missions and nanosat launch.
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: Patchouli on 10/09/2011 11:23 pm
Lynx faces the same core issue as Concorde - how to make a profit with a really cool machine. 

Lynx underbids its closest competitor by 50% and has plenty of room to underbid in a price war. It has no trouble making a profit on the current numbers. Lets do a simple business case. As i'm hearing it, a Lynx is selling for approximately 6-10 million USD (someone correct me if I'm wrong) and is capable of making 4-6 flights per day, carrying one passenger at $95k per flight PLUS additional revenue from science payloads, lets say another $40k from them (total guestimate, someone throw better numbers at me if I'm off), for a per flight revenue of $135,000, and a per day revenue of $540,000-$810,000. If each engine can handle 1000 flights, that means they can go for 180-250 days between major phase dock inspections/overhauls, which should last no more than two weeks at most based on my own flightline experience in the military. I don't know what XCOR is charging for new engine sets or engine overhauls, but 180 x $810,000 = $145,800,000 in gross revenue at 6 flights per day, or 250 x $540,000 = $135,000,000 at 4 flights per day. Fuel costs are miniscule, insurance costs are probably significant, plus the costs of training your passengers to be spaceflight participants (ground school, vomit comet flights, etc), however I don't think that the operating costs are going to be anywhere near 50% or greater. Frankly, if I had the money sitting around, I'd buy a Lynx and open an operation myself. This seems to me to be a really golden opportunity.

It would be unfair to compare Lynx to the Concord as it's a far simpler vehicle that does not require significant infrastructure.

I think nano sats,science payloads and environmental observation may be big markets for the vehicle.

I think the killer application for Lynx would be pretty much acting like a reusable sounding rocket.
For example a small university could do something no possible before such as fly a space telescope without having to wait years for it to be piggy backed on another mission.

A plus they get their equipment back intact something even balloons don't do all the time.
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: savuporo on 10/10/2011 06:55 am
Lets do a simple business case. As i'm hearing it, a Lynx is selling for approximately 6-10 million USD (someone correct me if I'm wrong) and is capable of making 4-6 flights per day, carrying one passenger at $95k per flight PLUS additional revenue from science payloads, lets say another $40k from them (total guestimate, someone throw better numbers at me if I'm off), for a per flight revenue of $135,000, and a per day revenue of $540,000-$810,000. ...

No offence, but this math looks a lot like this story about the old woman who decided to pitch one stack of hay every day, getting her herd well fed with 365 stacks a year ..
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: Robotbeat on 10/10/2011 04:31 pm
I actually agree that Lynx should be able to make a good profit (at suborbital tourism). And I think it could do so even when the ticket price gets down to only $10k-$20k, and at that price level, there are a LOT of (regular, middle-class) people who would put riding into space on their bucket list. I mean, just look at how many people go on cruises, who go skydiving, etc. By being able to hook into the middle class, suborbital tourism could become big business, really big. Tens of thousands of flights per year (if the price can get down below $20k) isn't unrealistic, IMHO.

And because XCor is a spaceship manufacturer instead of a suborbital provider, you don't have this problem where the provider won't allow the price per passenger to get too low for maximum provider profit... You'll have a situation where you might have 5-10 Lynx operators competing with each other on price (and probably other spacecraft, too, like SpaceShipTwo/Three), instead of a single provider who can set the price high to keep margins high (if a single provider in a non-monopolistic market did that, they would lose all their business to a competitor).
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: mlorrey on 10/11/2011 01:14 am
Lets do a simple business case. As i'm hearing it, a Lynx is selling for approximately 6-10 million USD (someone correct me if I'm wrong) and is capable of making 4-6 flights per day, carrying one passenger at $95k per flight PLUS additional revenue from science payloads, lets say another $40k from them (total guestimate, someone throw better numbers at me if I'm off), for a per flight revenue of $135,000, and a per day revenue of $540,000-$810,000. ...

No offence, but this math looks a lot like this story about the old woman who decided to pitch one stack of hay every day, getting her herd well fed with 365 stacks a year ..

Um, no, because as youll note in the text you deleted, I accounted for phase inspection / overhaul down time and treated such as the end of a major revenue cycle for the vehicle, which is common practice with airlines, which you'd know if you had any experience with them. Granted i only calculated revenues and not expenses, which I also admitted, and didnt go into detail on them because I dont have any hard fast numbers to guesstimate on so anything I said there would be pure WAG.
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: Moe Grills on 10/11/2011 07:49 pm
  I don't know if XCOR's Lynx will take to the air next year or not; but it looks promising.

That said, I have to ask if XCOR's management have posted any design for
a true spacecraft that could be called?.....(example) SuperLynx?

Superlynx: (hypothetical description) A larger, heavier, more powerful version of the Lynx, perhaps with THREE rocket motors; able to carry at least four passengers and two crew upto 100km altitude and higher....perhaps higher than 100 miles up per suborbital flight.
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: NotGncDude on 10/11/2011 09:29 pm
  I don't know if XCOR's Lynx will take to the air next year or not; but it looks promising.

That said, I have to ask if XCOR's management have posted any design for
a true spacecraft that could be called?.....(example) SuperLynx?

Superlynx: (hypothetical description) A larger, heavier, more powerful version of the Lynx, perhaps with THREE rocket motors; able to carry at least four passengers and two crew upto 100km altitude and higher....perhaps higher than 100 miles up per suborbital flight.

Lynx Mark II will reach 100km thanks to performance improvement. Pretty much the same airframe, so only 1 passenger + pilot. Is that what you mean, or something bigger?
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: savuporo on 10/11/2011 11:12 pm
.. Granted i only calculated revenues and not expenses, which I also admitted, and didnt go into detail on them because I dont have any hard fast numbers to guesstimate on so anything I said there would be pure WAG.
My point was more towards the likelihood of any operator of theirs having a steady and long backlog of customers, and being able to service them on a continuous basis without major interruptions. Regardless of market research left and right, i have a hard time believing that large amounts of people will show up with that much cash in hand to fly on something that can be compared to an experimental airplane, safety wise.

I would think that once such a service starts, there will be initial bunch of enthusiasts showing up for tickets, but i'm thinking it will taper off fairly quickly after that.

Probably the closest analog to the experience offered with a well established market is tandem skydives, and that market is not really enormous, although pretty steady in most dropzones now, weather permitting. The ticket price is far, far smaller though.

Not sure why you felt the need to make any assumptions about my experiences with servicing airplanes ? ( As it happens, i have performed ad-hoc electronics repairs on a certain twin engine turboprop, which is not at all relevant in this context )
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: Diagoras on 10/12/2011 12:38 pm
.. Granted i only calculated revenues and not expenses, which I also admitted, and didnt go into detail on them because I dont have any hard fast numbers to guesstimate on so anything I said there would be pure WAG.
My point was more towards the likelihood of any operator of theirs having a steady and long backlog of customers, and being able to service them on a continuous basis without major interruptions. Regardless of market research left and right, i have a hard time believing that large amounts of people will show up with that much cash in hand to fly on something that can be compared to an experimental airplane, safety wise.

I would think that once such a service starts, there will be initial bunch of enthusiasts showing up for tickets, but i'm thinking it will taper off fairly quickly after that.

Probably the closest analog to the experience offered with a well established market is tandem skydives, and that market is not really enormous, although pretty steady in most dropzones now, weather permitting. The ticket price is far, far smaller though.

Not sure why you felt the need to make any assumptions about my experiences with servicing airplanes ? ( As it happens, i have performed ad-hoc electronics repairs on a certain twin engine turboprop, which is not at all relevant in this context )

I think their main targeted customer base is research, if that changes your analysis.
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: Bill White on 10/12/2011 04:53 pm
I actually agree that Lynx should be able to make a good profit (at suborbital tourism). And I think it could do so even when the ticket price gets down to only $10k-$20k, and at that price level, there are a LOT of (regular, middle-class) people who would put riding into space on their bucket list. I mean, just look at how many people go on cruises, who go skydiving, etc. By being able to hook into the middle class, suborbital tourism could become big business, really big. Tens of thousands of flights per year (if the price can get down below $20k) isn't unrealistic, IMHO.

I agree with this.

The issue is the same as with Concorde - how to make money with a cool aircraft - and I believe Lynx does have a great chance at success.

And I continue to believe that selling Lynx airframes to a league that races from the runway to 50 kilometers altitude is a potential viable market.

Perhaps market Lynx airframes to wealthy Formula 1 and NASCAR owners who might be getting bored with auto racing. If the $10 million per vehicle figure suggested above is accurate, there are plenty of auto racing teams that can afford to do this.

Then fly college science missions as a PR move, on the side.

Edit to add: Do the above and I believe demand for pure tourist flights would increase, due to the publicity.
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: Robotbeat on 10/12/2011 05:08 pm
Imagine, too, of the science that could be done if space plasma researchers had their own Lynx. How much would it cost for them to lease a Lynx, a pilot or two, and a ground crew for a year or three? Much less than an Atlas V launch. Our understanding of the ionosphere, aurora, etc. could be greatly expanded by such a capability (which can't be studied by satellites directly because the altitude is too low and can only be very briefly studied by sounding rockets... a reusable sounding rocket which can fly multiple times a day with an easily recoverable payload is what Lynx is).

It kind of reminds me of Sofia, except would likely be much cheaper.
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: Bill White on 10/12/2011 05:37 pm
I would think that the Big 10-11-12 could buy a single Lynx easily enough?

Then Illinois, Minnesota, Michigan, Wisconsin and so forth could collaborate on experiments.
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: Moe Grills on 10/12/2011 11:36 pm
  I don't know if XCOR's Lynx will take to the air next year or not; but it looks promising.

That said, I have to ask if XCOR's management have posted any design for
a true spacecraft that could be called?.....(example) SuperLynx?

Superlynx: (hypothetical description) A larger, heavier, more powerful version of the Lynx, perhaps with THREE rocket motors; able to carry at least four passengers and two crew upto 100km altitude and higher....perhaps higher than 100 miles up per suborbital flight.

Lynx Mark II will reach 100km thanks to performance improvement. Pretty much the same airframe, so only 1 passenger + pilot. Is that what you mean, or something bigger?


I messed up the facts. I'm sorry.

The Lynx Mark I has four engines, which will deliver 11,600Ibf thrust combined at high altitude.
The Lynx Mark II will go to 100km+, as you stated.

But I was pondering what else Mr. Greason has planned?
How will the Lynx evolve beyond the Mark II?

A multi-passenger spacecraft  (Mark III? Super Lynx?) with three LH2/LOX engines delivering a total 90,000Ibf thrust?
Is that a possibility?
 
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: Robotbeat on 10/12/2011 11:47 pm
Well, I'm sure they probably have liquid hydrogen somewhere in their dreams of future spacecraft operations. They are gaining some experience with it. But I don't know about speculating about future versions right now. They're probably focusing on getting Lynx done properly, then on trying to find ways to sell as many of them as they can.

And they are, of course, doing liquid hydrogen/oxygen engine testing with ULA. And I do know they have some sort of plans for an reusable orbital HTHL craft of some sort (multi-stage, of course... and I'm not 100% sure it's horizontal take-off, but I strongly suspect it)... Nothing as firm as Lynx, though, which I believe is already being built.
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: docmordrid on 10/13/2011 12:16 am
>
A multi-passenger spacecraft  (Mark III? Super Lynx?) with three LH2/LOX engines delivering a total 90,000Ibf thrust?
Is that a possibility?
Pardon the ads in this Aero TV video, but it directly addresses your question.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SFgyEfobVpo
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: savuporo on 10/13/2011 02:53 am
I think their main targeted customer base is research, if that changes your analysis.
Oh, thats not an analysis, just random guessing on my part.

I have read them say that they are after research markets, and i just cant figure out where are all the researchers with money going to come from. Government funded research ? Privately funded ? What area of research ? And that would have to be a long-term sustainable revenue stream ..
But i know full well XCOR is a group of some very bright folks, and i would think they have their business case well together, so i probably just don't know what they know.

Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: docmordrid on 10/13/2011 04:32 am
 Off the top, XCOR has contracts with NASA, the Southwest Research Institute (SwRI) and the Planetary Science Institute.
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: simonbp on 10/14/2011 08:50 pm
It kind of reminds me of Sofia, except would likely be much cheaper.

Yeah, don't count on it. Sofia didn't get as expensive as it did because of the airframe, but rather the instruments and optics. The cost of an aerometry/plasma physics driven Lynx would be driven by the experiments (and the team of scientists and engineers to support them and analyze the results). It would be definitely more productive per grant dollar than sounding rockets, but energy barrier of the high initial cost will be hard to overcome.
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: Robotbeat on 10/14/2011 10:24 pm
It kind of reminds me of Sofia, except would likely be much cheaper.

Yeah, don't count on it. Sofia didn't get as expensive as it did because of the airframe, but rather the instruments and optics. The cost of an aerometry/plasma physics driven Lynx would be driven by the experiments (and the team of scientists and engineers to support them and analyze the results). It would be definitely more productive per grant dollar than sounding rockets, but energy barrier of the high initial cost will be hard to overcome.
Lynx would necessarily have much smaller (and thus likely much cheaper) instruments, no bigger than high end amateur telescopes.
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: docmordrid on 10/15/2011 12:24 am
There's more to an instrument than the size of the optics. Their quality, construction, being above the atmosphere and the sensors count for a helluva lot.
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: Robotbeat on 10/15/2011 01:19 am
There's more to an instrument than the size of the optics. Their quality, construction, being above the atmosphere and the sensors count for a helluva lot.
Well, yeah, of course. If you think I was saying otherwise, you misunderstood what I said.

But Sofia is big. For a similar quality and sensor type, a much smaller telescope (two orders of magnitude less area) or similar instrument would be considerably less expensive.
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: mlorrey on 10/16/2011 07:31 pm
There's more to an instrument than the size of the optics. Their quality, construction, being above the atmosphere and the sensors count for a helluva lot.
Well, yeah, of course. If you think I was saying otherwise, you misunderstood what I said.

But Sofia is big. For a similar quality and sensor type, a much smaller telescope (two orders of magnitude less area) or similar instrument would be considerably less expensive.

What i'd really like to see with Lynx's astronomy missions would be two Lynx in formation with telescopes operating together as an interferometer.
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: simonbp on 10/16/2011 10:24 pm
Lynx would necessarily have much smaller (and thus likely much cheaper) instruments, no bigger than high end amateur telescopes.

Nope. The size of the instrument counts not much for the cost. The fact that they have to be precise, reliably calibrated (not easy at all on a flight vehicle), and custom-built with expensive custom components all drive the hardware cost massively up. Plus, NASA or NSF never pay for an instrument without paying for the time to analyse the data (because otherwise, what's the point?), making the effective energy barrier even higher.

Take, for example, GALEX. It has a mass of 280 kg, precisely the rated external payload mass for Lynx Mark I. The mission, minus the Pegasus to launch it, cost just about $75 million. A dedicated plasma-science/aerometry Lynx (or UV/X-ray astronomy Lynx, etc) would likely end up costing a similar amount. That doesn't make it impossible, just not likely possible on anything less than an explorer-class mission budget.

Another factor driving cost and schedule for Sofia is that they are not registering it with the FAA as an experimental aircraft (long, off-topic story). This puts much more stringent safety requirements on the instruments, which is really killing the budget (e.g. really overcomplicated LN2 systems). If Xcor is expecting to fly paying customers, they'll likely have to get a non-experimental permit too, putting those same expensive requirements on any Lynx payloads.
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: simonbp on 10/16/2011 10:37 pm
What i'd really like to see with Lynx's astronomy missions would be two Lynx in formation with telescopes operating together as an interferometer.

Well, that would be about the opposite of KISS: interferometry requires precision to about half the wavelength of the light being observed. Meaning, you would have to know the position and orientation of the two Lynxes to within ~150 nm for visual observations. That is really, really hard to do on the ground, and next to impossible for two aircraft being jostled around by, well, air.

Plus, I'm not that bullish about Lynx being used for operational astronomy; the pointing requirements are just too tight for real science (Lynx Mk.1 only guarantees +/- 2 degrees). On the other hand, it makes much more sense for testing instruments before putting them on a real spacecraft. AFAIK, that's what their deal with SwRI is for.
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: Robotbeat on 10/16/2011 10:43 pm
Lynx would necessarily have much smaller (and thus likely much cheaper) instruments, no bigger than high end amateur telescopes.

Nope. The size of the instrument counts not much for the cost. The fact that they have to be precise, reliably calibrated (not easy at all on a flight vehicle), and custom-built with expensive custom components all drive the hardware cost massively up....
Well, yeah, of course. If you think I was saying otherwise, you misunderstood what I said.
(Can't believe I have to say this AGAIN.)

A fancy, precise, reliably calibrated, custom-built with expensive custom components instrument which is 100 times larger than another fancy, precise, reliably calibrated, custom-built with expensive custom components instrument is going to be a considerably more expensive instrument.
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: mlorrey on 10/18/2011 01:05 am
What i'd really like to see with Lynx's astronomy missions would be two Lynx in formation with telescopes operating together as an interferometer.

Well, that would be about the opposite of KISS: interferometry requires precision to about half the wavelength of the light being observed. Meaning, you would have to know the position and orientation of the two Lynxes to within ~150 nm for visual observations. That is really, really hard to do on the ground, and next to impossible for two aircraft being jostled around by, well, air.

Plus, I'm not that bullish about Lynx being used for operational astronomy; the pointing requirements are just too tight for real science (Lynx Mk.1 only guarantees +/- 2 degrees). On the other hand, it makes much more sense for testing instruments before putting them on a real spacecraft. AFAIK, that's what their deal with SwRI is for.

Um, there is no air in space.... There's also more ways to point a telescope than with reaction jets, as for measuring precision and orientation, thats what lasers are for.
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: as58 on 10/18/2011 01:31 am
Quote from: mlorrey link=topic=19033.msg819362#msg819362
What i'd really like to see with Lynx's astronomy missions would be two Lynx in formation with telescopes operating together as an interferometer.

Do you know how optical/IR interferometry works? Doing it on a suborbital hop seems pretty challenging.
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: mlorrey on 10/21/2011 08:04 pm
Quote from: mlorrey link=topic=19033.msg819362#msg819362
What i'd really like to see with Lynx's astronomy missions would be two Lynx in formation with telescopes operating together as an interferometer.

Do you know how optical/IR interferometry works? Doing it on a suborbital hop seems pretty challenging.

I agree its challenging, but then we dont have any interferometers in space at present now, do we?
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: simonbp on 10/21/2011 11:02 pm
I agree its challenging, but then we dont have any interferometers in space at present now, do we?

We do, the Fine Guidance Sensors on the Hubble Space Telescope are optical interferometers, as was European Hipparcos astrometry mission and its successor Gaia. In all three cases, they work because they are physically bolted to a single vehicle and are static next to each other, and because they only can look at very bright objects. JPL's Space Interferometer Mission (SIM) soaked up vast sums of money over two decades before being canceled in 2007 in an attempt to go down to much dimmer targets, but still as a single vehicle.

The most powerful optical interferometer on Earth is the Navy Optical Interferometer (until last week, it was the Navy Prototype Optical Interferometer, NPOI) in Flagstaff, AZ. It has a baseline comparable to the closest separation of two aircraft you'd want, and the beam combiners are massive pieces of precision machinery (I've seen them). If it's borderline impractical on the ground, it's stupidly difficult in the air.

And yeah, when you care about the Lynxes' position to the nanometer, there's plenty of air/plasma/etc at altitude to jostle you around...
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: mlorrey on 10/23/2011 01:29 am
I agree its challenging, but then we dont have any interferometers in space at present now, do we?

We do, the Fine Guidance Sensors on the Hubble Space Telescope are optical interferometers, as was European Hipparcos astrometry mission and its successor Gaia. In all three cases, they work because they are physically bolted to a single vehicle and are static next to each other, and because they only can look at very bright objects. JPL's Space Interferometer Mission (SIM) soaked up vast sums of money over two decades before being canceled in 2007 in an attempt to go down to much dimmer targets, but still as a single vehicle.

The most powerful optical interferometer on Earth is the Navy Optical Interferometer (until last week, it was the Navy Prototype Optical Interferometer, NPOI) in Flagstaff, AZ. It has a baseline comparable to the closest separation of two aircraft you'd want, and the beam combiners are massive pieces of precision machinery (I've seen them). If it's borderline impractical on the ground, it's stupidly difficult in the air.

And yeah, when you care about the Lynxes' position to the nanometer, there's plenty of air/plasma/etc at altitude to jostle you around...

Fair enough. Every artists rendition of the NASA interferometer that was planned showed the two telescopes in space separated from each other.
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: as58 on 10/23/2011 10:26 pm
We do, the Fine Guidance Sensors on the Hubble Space Telescope are optical interferometers, as was European Hipparcos astrometry mission and its successor Gaia.

Completely off topic, but I don't think Hipparcos was an interferometer and although initial Gaia concepts were interferometric, the final design is not.
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: tegla on 11/03/2011 07:08 pm
The Swiss state television dedicated in its weekly science-program a 5 minute block for XCOR.

http://www.videoportal.sf.tv/video?id=c2f4212b-2cd2-46d9-b7a3-22678b2c5487 (http://www.videoportal.sf.tv/video?id=c2f4212b-2cd2-46d9-b7a3-22678b2c5487) (in Swiss German, sorry)

Highlights are: Mach 2; four minutes freefall; peak at 60 km; safe&cheap; new rocket engine, tested a lot; one pilot, one tourist; the engine can be restarted in air; glides back in 30 minutes; rocket engine simple&robust, alcohol+LOX; LOX at the top, alcohol at the bottom; can do attitude control in space; will finish with paperwork this year; 2012 will see tourists flying.


Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: Jim Davis on 11/03/2011 08:14 pm
...2012 will see tourists flying.

I would love to be proven wrong but I strongly doubt tourists will be flying in 2012. Even with no problems it would be an incredible achievement to complete a flight test program within a year.

Was the 2012 date directly from XCOR or was someone using outdated information?
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: mlorrey on 11/07/2011 04:48 am
...2012 will see tourists flying.

I would love to be proven wrong but I strongly doubt tourists will be flying in 2012. Even with no problems it would be an incredible achievement to complete a flight test program within a year.

Was the 2012 date directly from XCOR or was someone using outdated information?

Jim, the fact that XCOR can do four flights a day with Lynx if need be means  explicitly that they can conduct a flight test program at LEAST four times faster than Scaled can... That said... I doubt we will see tourists flying per se. After flight tests, they have a line of passengers set up that includes all company employees and investors...
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: Jason1701 on 11/07/2011 04:54 am
Jim, the fact that XCOR can do four flights a day with Lynx if need be means  explicitly that they can conduct a flight test program at LEAST four times faster than Scaled can... That said... I doubt we will see tourists flying per se. After flight tests, they have a line of passengers set up that includes all company employees and investors...

No, it doesn't mean that. Maximum operational flight rate in no way equates to speed of test milestone retirement. Airliners can fly many times per day and still have test programs stretching years.

I am guessing 2014/15 for XCOR commercial flights.
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: Jim Davis on 11/07/2011 05:15 am
Jim, the fact that XCOR can do four flights a day with Lynx if need be means  explicitly that they can conduct a flight test program at LEAST four times faster than Scaled can...

Mike, can you provide some examples of supersonic aircraft that went from first flight to operational service within a year? None come to mind. Even if there were some I doubt XCOR would want to use them as a model to emulate.
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: mlorrey on 11/08/2011 07:21 am
Jim, the fact that XCOR can do four flights a day with Lynx if need be means  explicitly that they can conduct a flight test program at LEAST four times faster than Scaled can...

Mike, can you provide some examples of supersonic aircraft that went from first flight to operational service within a year? None come to mind. Even if there were some I doubt XCOR would want to use them as a model to emulate.

Pretty much everything built before the 1970's did.
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: mlorrey on 11/08/2011 07:22 am
http://ukipmepartners.com/interface/external_view_email.php?B917921249873989027421356433811

XCOR to display a full scale model of Lynx at the SpaceTech show.
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: lucspace on 11/08/2011 08:29 am
That could be the model displayed in the Netherlands earlier this year.
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: Spiff on 11/08/2011 02:46 pm
It seems the photographers are more interested in the model than in the model. ;)
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: Jason1701 on 11/08/2011 05:29 pm
It might just be me, but I think the mockup in that picture looks less than full scale.
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: lucspace on 11/08/2011 05:37 pm
It was full-scale, it was quite high up and larger than it appears in the photo...
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: jongoff on 11/09/2011 01:21 am
...2012 will see tourists flying.

I would love to be proven wrong but I strongly doubt tourists will be flying in 2012. Even with no problems it would be an incredible achievement to complete a flight test program within a year.

Was the 2012 date directly from XCOR or was someone using outdated information?

The also mention LOX/Alcohol, when I'm pretty sure the Lynx is LOX/Kero.

~Jon
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: go4mars on 11/09/2011 03:20 am
It seems the photographers are more interested in the model than in the model. ;)
The best way to tell a lynx from a cougar is the ears.  It's rare for both to be in the same place within their native habitat at the same time.  Fortuitous happenstance. 

Seriously though, that Lynx would be a fun ride!  Reminds me a bit of the tiny James Bond jet (some Roger Moore one).  I can hardly wait to see what XCOR has on the drawing board for eventual orbital flights. 
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: Jim Davis on 11/09/2011 04:07 am
Mike, can you provide some examples of supersonic aircraft that went from first flight to operational service within a year? None come to mind. Even if there were some I doubt XCOR would want to use them as a model to emulate.

Pretty much everything built before the 1970's did.

You are very much mistaken on this point.
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: tegla on 11/09/2011 05:28 am
The also mention LOX/Alcohol, when I'm pretty sure the Lynx is LOX/Kero.

~Jon

The video shows Jeff himself saying LOX+alcohol (at 3:46). The machine he's pointing to doesn't look like the Lynx, though.
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: Jason1701 on 11/09/2011 05:32 am
The also mention LOX/Alcohol, when I'm pretty sure the Lynx is LOX/Kero.

~Jon

The video shows Jeff himself saying LOX+alcohol (at 3:46). The machine he's pointing to doesn't look like the Lynx, though.

This settles it:
http://www.xcor.com/products/engines/5K18_LOX-kerosene_rocket_engine.html
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: jongoff on 11/09/2011 05:06 pm
The also mention LOX/Alcohol, when I'm pretty sure the Lynx is LOX/Kero.

~Jon

The video shows Jeff himself saying LOX+alcohol (at 3:46). The machine he's pointing to doesn't look like the Lynx, though.

This settles it:
http://www.xcor.com/products/engines/5K18_LOX-kerosene_rocket_engine.html

Yeah, I've seen the engine hardware from a few feet away (back when I was still down in Mojave), and had seen videos of firings.

~Jon
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: Spiff on 11/10/2011 10:31 am
It seems the photographers are more interested in the model than in the model. ;)
The best way to tell a lynx from a cougar is the ears.  It's rare for both to be in the same place within their native habitat at the same time.  Fortuitous happenstance. 

Seriously though, that Lynx would be a fun ride!  Reminds me a bit of the tiny James Bond jet (some Roger Moore one).  I can hardly wait to see what XCOR has on the drawing board for eventual orbital flights. 

The model btw (the girl, not the spacecraft :) ) might be dutch fashion model Doutzen Kroes (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Doutzen_Kroes) who is an ambassador for space experience curacao. Although it's hard to say looking at that picture.
Another ambassador is world famous DJ Armin van Buuren who is supposedly going to compose music to go along with the ride.
Others are listed here (http://www.spacexc.com/en/about-us/our-ambassadors/)

All this is useless trivia of course. ;)
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: mlorrey on 11/13/2011 06:18 am
Mike, can you provide some examples of supersonic aircraft that went from first flight to operational service within a year? None come to mind. Even if there were some I doubt XCOR would want to use them as a model to emulate.

Pretty much everything built before the 1970's did.

You are very much mistaken on this point.

This depends on whether you count all models of a given type as one model (i.e. If you count the F-102 and YF-102A as the same plane, which it wasnt), and whether you count company flight testing or both company flight testing and air force flight testing.
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: Jim Davis on 11/14/2011 01:45 pm
This depends on whether you count all models of a given type as one model (i.e. If you count the F-102 and YF-102A as the same plane, which it wasnt)...

<chuckle>

Yes, when flight testing reveals the necessity for a complete redesign it does tend to push back the service entry date.

Quote
...and whether you count company flight testing or both company flight testing and air force flight testing.

<chuckle again>

Of course. In the 1950s it was standard procedure to do a lot of unnecessary flight testing to delay service entry.
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: mlorrey on 11/16/2011 02:04 am
http://nsrc.swri.org/

Register to win a free flight on XCOR's Lynx vehicle...
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: Robotbeat on 11/16/2011 03:11 pm
http://nsrc.swri.org/

Register to win a free flight on XCOR's Lynx vehicle...
Have to pay to register in order to be entered in the contest... Oh well! ;)
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: Comga on 11/16/2011 03:22 pm
http://nsrc.swri.org/

Register to win a free flight on XCOR's Lynx vehicle...
Have to pay to register in order to be entered in the contest... Oh well! ;)

Does this not constitute a raffle with a $95K prize and a several hundred dollar ticket?
Second place prize is entry to the conference.  Number of secondary prizes equals the number of entries.
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: mlorrey on 11/16/2011 11:05 pm
http://nsrc.swri.org/

Register to win a free flight on XCOR's Lynx vehicle...
Have to pay to register in order to be entered in the contest... Oh well! ;)

Does this not constitute a raffle with a $95K prize and a several hundred dollar ticket?
Second place prize is entry to the conference.  Number of secondary prizes equals the number of entries.

The registration is for a conference, the ride ticket is a door prize.
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: Comga on 11/17/2011 06:40 am
http://nsrc.swri.org/ (http://nsrc.swri.org/)

Register to win a free flight on XCOR's Lynx vehicle...
Have to pay to register in order to be entered in the contest... Oh well! ;)

Does this not constitute a raffle with a $95K prize and a several hundred dollar ticket?
Second place prize is entry to the conference.  Number of secondary prizes equals the number of entries.

The registration is for a conference, the ride ticket is a door prize.

Don't be daft.  Of course that's what it is.  The question is both appearance and legalities.  Let's leave it at that.
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: NotGncDude on 12/26/2011 12:57 am
Jim, the fact that XCOR can do four flights a day with Lynx if need be means  explicitly that they can conduct a flight test program at LEAST four times faster than Scaled can...

Mike, can you provide some examples of supersonic aircraft that went from first flight to operational service within a year? None come to mind. Even if there were some I doubt XCOR would want to use them as a model to emulate.

And even if one came close, it was probably an experienced outfit that had developed many many aircraft before from scratch.
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: baldusi on 01/11/2012 08:27 pm
Xcor reveals Lynx test schedule (http://www.flightglobal.com/news/articles/xcor-reveals-lynx-test-schedule-366803/)
Quote
Spacecraft designer Xcor has revealed details of a plan to achieve first flight of the Lynx Mk1 later this year and to expand the suborbital market far beyond space tourism.

First flight for the Lynx already has been delayed by two years after XCor discovered a deep stall problem with the original Lynx design. That issue has now been overcome through design changes to the wing, allowing Xcor to begin final assembly within a few weeks.

The first major piece of structure - the fuselage of the Mk1 version -- will be delivered to Xcor the week of 16 January, said Andrew Nelson, chief operating officer and vice president of business development.

Next month, Xcor will tender work packages for building the cockpit pressure vessel and strakes in February, with delivery of the two subassemblies scheduled in April in May, said Khaki Rodway McKee, the Xcor programme manager.

Roll-out of the Mk1 is scheduled in July or August from Xcor's hangar in Mojave, California, she said.

Taxi tests are scheduled to begin in October or November, which will be quickly followed by a short hop and finally a brief first flight by the end of the year.

The Lynx Mk1 design will be limited to flight tests. For commercial operations, Xcor will roll-out a Mk2 version about nine months later with two major changes. The Mk2 aeroshell will be made with different material that is easier to maintain in the field. Secondly, the metallic liquid oxygen fuel tanks on the Mk1 will be replaced by a non-flammable composite material, McKee said.

Finally, a Mk3 version of the Lynx is still being designed. It will introduce a 3.4m-long, circular payload pay mounted on top of the fuselage. The added feature will allow the Lynx to launch satellites weighing up to 650kg into low-earth orbit.

Xcor has discovered the Mk3 will require more extensive design changes than first thought. The landing gear must be strengthened and aerodynamic effects may drive the designers to make tweaks to the outer mould line, Nelson said.

As first flight approaches, Xcor also has released a detailed market projection for its new product. Company officials are seeking to break the popular notion that suborbital spaceflight is aimed solely at the space tourism market.

Tourism will account for less than 10% of the roughly $6 billion "addressable market" Xcor anticipates for the Lynx by 2015, when the company envisions a growing fleet launching into space several times a day.

Another $1.1 billion in yearly sales is projected for launching payloads, as well as $1.4 billion in revenue for launching small satellites. Xcor also projects a $2.8 billion market for vehicle and equipment sales to third parties, including the possibility of selling the rocket engine to the United Launch Alliance as a replacement for the Pratt & Whitney RL10.
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: Robotbeat on 01/11/2012 08:44 pm
The talk of selling Lynx's engine to ULA seems to imply that one of the Lynxes (Mk 3?) will use hydrogen/LOx. Alternatively, the $6 billion "addressable market" refers to XCor as a whole, not just Lynx.

EDIT:One thing I really like about XCor is that they really get "design for operations." They're targeting really, really often flights with very little maintenance between flights (they have a few patents on rocket engines made for many, many firings between maintenance and their commitment to not operationally field a Lynx which can't be maintained easily seems very prudent, especially since they seem to be trying to sell/lease a lot of Lynxes to third parties). The hydrogen work plays well into their long-term plans for an orbital RLV.
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: baldusi on 01/11/2012 09:01 pm
For me, the interesting part is the MkIII version. Form XCOR site they quoted as:
Quote
Total payload capacity for the external dorsal pod is 650kg
So stating now that they could launch 650kg satellites (Falcon 1 could do 670kg), is sort of misleading. But it would be very interesting if they could 640kg upper stage that could put a 10kg satellite. If they could do this for 100k that would be a real breakthrough for small satellite manufacturers.
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: RanulfC on 01/11/2012 09:03 pm
The talk of selling Lynx's engine to ULA seems to imply that one of the Lynxes (Mk 3?) will use hydrogen/LOx. Alternatively, the $6 billion "addressable market" refers to XCor as a whole, not just Lynx.
Uhm that might be jumping to a conclusion, don't forget they have done a LOT of work on LOX/Methane which opperationally may be a better deal than LH2.

Randy
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: Robotbeat on 01/11/2012 09:09 pm
The talk of selling Lynx's engine to ULA seems to imply that one of the Lynxes (Mk 3?) will use hydrogen/LOx. Alternatively, the $6 billion "addressable market" refers to XCor as a whole, not just Lynx.
Uhm that might be jumping to a conclusion, don't forget they have done a LOT of work on LOX/Methane which opperationally may be a better deal than LH2.

Randy
Prior talk of cooperation between XCor and ULA was on the topic of XCor building a pump-fed hydrolox engine for ULA of about the RL-10 thrust class. Sure, they've done methane work, but I find it unlikely that ULA would be nearly as interested in that since its Isp is much, much less than hydrogen (methane's Isp is a lot closer to kerosene's Isp) and thus would do poorly for the typical, profitable high energy trajectories that launch providers often make their bread and butter on. Switching to a different propellant class for the upper stage would greatly affect the design of the EELVs.
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: docmordrid on 01/11/2012 09:13 pm
For me, the interesting part is the MkIII version. Form XCOR site they quoted as:
Quote
Total payload capacity for the external dorsal pod is 650kg
So stating now that they could launch 650kg satellites (Falcon 1 could do 670kg), is sort of misleading. But it would be very interesting if they could 640kg upper stage that could put a 10kg satellite. If they could do this for 100k that would be a real breakthrough for small satellite manufacturers.
Payload in the pod doesn't need to he a launcher - they have a deal with the Planetary Science Institute to fly the Atsa Suborbital Observatory.

http://www.xcor.com/press-releases/2011/11-07-12_Planetary_Science_Institute_selects_XCOR_for_Atsa.html
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: baldusi on 01/11/2012 09:21 pm
For me, the interesting part is the MkIII version. Form XCOR site they quoted as:
Quote
Total payload capacity for the external dorsal pod is 650kg
So stating now that they could launch 650kg satellites (Falcon 1 could do 670kg), is sort of misleading. But it would be very interesting if they could 640kg upper stage that could put a 10kg satellite. If they could do this for 100k that would be a real breakthrough for small satellite manufacturers.
Payload in the pod doesn't need to he a launcher - they have a deal with the Planetary Science Institute to fly the Atsa Suborbital Observatory.

http://www.xcor.com/press-releases/2011/11-07-12_Planetary_Science_Institute_selects_XCOR_for_Atsa.html
But in the updated schedule they stated 650kg satellite. I think that those 4.6min of microgravity might be great for lots of researchers. And the possibility of doing above atmosphere observation is also very useful. I'm sure they will find more uses, too.
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: QuantumG on 01/11/2012 09:29 pm
But in the updated schedule they stated 650kg satellite.

Flightglobal are obviously wrong.. it wouldn't be the first time.

Proof: http://xcor.com/images/vehicles/lynx/PUG-overview_MK-II_v02-bigtext.jpg last modified: 11 August 2011
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: QuantumG on 01/12/2012 12:32 am
Clark Lindsey has corrections for this article from XCOR:

  http://www.hobbyspace.com/nucleus/index.php?itemid=34962

sigh.. Flightglobal.
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: Robotbeat on 01/12/2012 01:18 am
Okay, that all makes a lot more sense. (Doesn't seem Lynx Mk III will be hydrogen, but that's no surprise at all.)
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: woods170 on 01/12/2012 08:40 am
Just a quick question: when is XCOR expected to be making the first test-flights with the Lynx?

The reason for asking: Space Experience Curacao stated 2014 as the first year to fly suborbital passengers on the Lynx. I don't believe a word of that. I just don't see enough progress on Lynx to warrant the 2014 date feasible. Or am I missing anything?
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: lucspace on 01/12/2012 09:04 am
You did; just yesterday, it was announced a first flight in 2015 is not going to happen: http://translate.google.nl/translate?sl=nl&tl=en&js=n&prev=_t&hl=nl&ie=UTF-8&layout=2&eotf=1&u=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.nu.nl%2Fwetenschap%2F2712498%2Fruimtevluchten-lelystad-nog-ver-weg.html
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: yg1968 on 01/12/2012 01:45 pm
You did; just yesterday, it was announced a first flight in 2015 is not going to happen: http://translate.google.nl/translate?sl=nl&tl=en&js=n&prev=_t&hl=nl&ie=UTF-8&layout=2&eotf=1&u=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.nu.nl%2Fwetenschap%2F2712498%2Fruimtevluchten-lelystad-nog-ver-weg.html

It says that the infrastructure in Curacao will not be ready in time. But I guess that the Lynx could still launch from the United States.
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: Robotbeat on 01/12/2012 02:51 pm
The first Lynx to be used for commercial use (actually, the Lynx Mk1) is set for test flights toward the end of this year. They'll want to do lots of suborbital tests (I'd put it at 100, but they may do several in one day once they get rolling, so that may not take that long) before taking the first paying customers (first they've got to take up all the XCor staff ;) ).

Lynx Mk II is set for rolling out 9-12 months after Lynx Mk I is. That will be the sort of model sent to the Caribbean.  2014 isn't completely unrealistic, actually, for when that Lynx could be delivered, if the infrastructure was ready, but I think 2015 seems more reasonable.
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: yg1968 on 01/12/2012 04:11 pm
The article that was linked seems to imply that the infrastructure will never be built. Once the test flights begin, I wouldn't be surprised if XCor reaches a deal to launch from the United States. 
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: manboy on 01/12/2012 11:39 pm
So are they charging the same $95,000 that they were going to charge for the MarkII 106 km for the MarkI 61 km flights?
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: Robotbeat on 01/13/2012 02:48 am
So are they charging the same $95,000 that they were going to charge for the MarkII 106 km for the MarkI 61 km flights?
They may be using it for non-touristy passengers or other (suborbital research) payloads.
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: john smith 19 on 01/27/2012 08:09 am
If XCor are at Space Access this year they should be giving a *very* interesting presentation. By then the Mk1 Lynx should be quite well into assembly, the Mk2 might be in detailed design and hopefully something on the RL10 upgrade/replacement/comparison shopping project with Boeing.

<sign> Too bad I can't attend.

Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: Jason1701 on 02/25/2012 03:51 am
Whatever happened to XCOR's Rocket Racers?
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: A8-3 on 02/25/2012 05:34 am
Whatever happened to XCOR's Rocket Racers?

 The Rocket Racing League is still trying to get started, but their latest rocket racer uses engines from Armadillo, not XCOR.
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: QuantumG on 02/25/2012 05:40 am
Whatever happened to XCOR's Rocket Racers?

To answer your question, there was a failure to pay a previously agreed amount on the XCOR Rocket Racer. XCOR sued and the matter was settled out of court. Part of the settlement was that the Racer was to be disassembled.
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: jongoff on 02/25/2012 02:02 pm
If XCor are at Space Access this year they should be giving a *very* interesting presentation. By then the Mk1 Lynx should be quite well into assembly, the Mk2 might be in detailed design and hopefully something on the RL10 upgrade/replacement/comparison shopping project with Boeing.

<sigh> Too bad I can't attend.

XCOR is pretty much always at Space Access, in force. It's part of the company culture.

~Jon
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: QuantumG on 02/29/2012 10:24 am
XCOR Lynx fuselage delivered

http://www.flightglobal.com/news/articles/xcor-lynx-fuselage-delivered-368903/

Wish they're learn how to spell.
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: manboy on 02/29/2012 05:39 pm
XCOR Lynx fuselage delivered

http://www.flightglobal.com/news/articles/xcor-lynx-fuselage-delivered-368903/

Wish they're learn how to spell.

What did they misspell?
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: agman25 on 02/29/2012 05:49 pm
XCOR Aerospace Closes $5 Million Round of Investment Capital

http://xcor.com/press-releases/2012/12-02-27_XCOR_closes_investment_round.html
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: Jason1701 on 02/29/2012 05:54 pm
XCOR Lynx fuselage delivered

http://www.flightglobal.com/news/articles/xcor-lynx-fuselage-delivered-368903/

Wish they're learn how to spell.

What did they misspell?

XCOR?
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: go4mars on 02/29/2012 06:26 pm
Wish they're learn how to spell.
It's amusing when mistakes are made in the criticism of the mistakes of others!  ;)
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: Moe Grills on 02/29/2012 06:28 pm
XCOR Lynx fuselage delivered

http://www.flightglobal.com/news/articles/xcor-lynx-fuselage-delivered-368903/

Wish they're learn how to spell.



Please! You spoiled some good news with a trifling matter.
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: QuantumG on 02/29/2012 09:01 pm
Please! You spoiled some good news with a trifling matter.

It's not a trifling matter. It's called journalistic standards and Flight Global could do with a dose.
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: woods170 on 03/01/2012 07:53 am
XCOR Lynx fuselage delivered

http://www.flightglobal.com/news/articles/xcor-lynx-fuselage-delivered-368903/

Wish they're learn how to spell.

What did they misspell?

A few spell errors here and there, and one glaring mistake: Naming RL-10 as an upper stage? It's an engine actually...
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: douglas100 on 03/01/2012 08:05 am
Yeah, I agree it's sloppily written. But if you replace "as" with "on" in the sentence about the RL-10, then it reads correctly.
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: Danderman on 03/01/2012 02:41 pm
XCOR Aerospace Closes $5 Million Round of Investment Capital

http://xcor.com/press-releases/2012/12-02-27_XCOR_closes_investment_round.html

This is very impressive news.
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: jongoff on 03/01/2012 06:15 pm
XCOR Aerospace Closes $5 Million Round of Investment Capital

http://xcor.com/press-releases/2012/12-02-27_XCOR_closes_investment_round.html
This is very impressive news.

Indeed. Most of the more successful newspace companies were started by wealth superangels (Musk, Bezos, Branson, Carmack), and thus never really had to raise investment money from outsiders. XCOR's ability to raise that much angel money bodes well for the industry-as-a-whole in the future, especially if they're able to provide a good exit with high ROI at some point in the next few years. In some ways, I wonder if an XCOR exit (if they succeed) would be seen as more of a "Netscape Moment" than a SpaceX IPO.

~Jon
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: dcporter on 03/01/2012 07:26 pm
I wonder if an XCOR exit (if they succeed) would be seen as more of a "Netscape Moment" than a SpaceX IPO.

~Jon

Great point.  The long-term health of the industry relies on its viability absent rich geeks (long may they reign).
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: Airlock on 03/01/2012 07:35 pm
I wonder if an XCOR exit (if they succeed) would be seen as more of a "Netscape Moment" than a SpaceX IPO.

~Jon

Great point.  The long-term health of the industry relies on its viability absent rich geeks (long may they reign).

I for one welcome our new rich geek overlords :)
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: QuantumG on 03/19/2012 10:39 pm
Quote
“Until this century and until XCOR engines there were no engines that were suitable [for frequent, affordable reuse],” Valentine. “So the best engines were maybe 100 flights. SpaceX is rumored on their Merlin 1-D to get more than 100 flights per engine. With the original Merlins they were hoping to get 25 flights. That’s not good enough.”

http://www.parabolicarc.com/2012/03/19/lee-valentine-on-how-xcor-will-open-up-space/?utm_medium=twitter&utm_source=twitterfeed

Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: Robotbeat on 03/20/2012 01:16 am
Quote
“Until this century and until XCOR engines there were no engines that were suitable [for frequent, affordable reuse],” Valentine. “So the best engines were maybe 100 flights. SpaceX is rumored on their Merlin 1-D to get more than 100 flights per engine. With the original Merlins they were hoping to get 25 flights. That’s not good enough.”

http://www.parabolicarc.com/2012/03/19/lee-valentine-on-how-xcor-will-open-up-space/?utm_medium=twitter&utm_source=twitterfeed
Talking a bit about their orbital plans as well:

Quote
XCOR’s advanced rocket engines will allow for daily flights into suborbital and then orbital space during this decade, investor Lee Valentine said on Saturday.
...
Valentine said XCOR has plans for a fully reusable, two-stage-to-orbit vehicle that would be based on Lynx technology. The first stage would take off from a conventional runway with the orbital vehicle on top. The orbiter would fire its own engines once the combination reached the proper altitude.

The goal is to operate the orbiter on the same principles as the suborbital Lynx. It would be cheap to operate and could be quickly turned around for another flight.Utilizing first-orbit rendezvous, the vehicle could fly once per day from Mojave and multiple times per day from any of several equatorial launch sites that XCOR is considering, Valentine said.
...
Part of the engine development work for the orbital system is being funded through a joint project with United Launch Alliance (ULA), Valentine said. XCOR and ULA are working together to develop a new, less expensive LOX-liquid hydrogen engine to replace the RL-10 motor on the Centaur upper stage. The new engine will be used on ULA’s Delta IV and Atlas V rockets as well as XCOR’s orbital vehicle.
...

I'm definitely a fan of XCOR's general approach (even if I have no special love for wings). It's the right approach that I think will make them more profitable than Virgin Galactic in the suborbital arena and gives them a fighting chance in the fully reusable orbital arena.
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: go4mars on 03/20/2012 01:22 am
XCOR might be that sneaky underdog no one watched until he stole the hot dog.  I hope so!  "Where'd he come from?!"

  I sure loved hearing Greason's philosophy through youtube!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m8PlzDgFQMM
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: Jason1701 on 03/20/2012 03:28 am
XCOR deserves to win this. It would be funny too.
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: Robotbeat on 03/20/2012 07:53 pm
XCOR's Jeff Greason: "The Rocket is Not the Point"http://xcor.com/news-articles/local-articles/Space_News_Profile_Greason.pdf
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: Rocket Science on 03/20/2012 08:13 pm
XCOR's Jeff Greason: "The Rocket is Not the Point"http://xcor.com/news-articles/local-articles/Space_News_Profile_Greason.pdf
Great article, thanks for posting it! :)
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: SpaceGeek123 on 04/02/2012 12:55 am
I certainly hope they make it. A Mach 3 spaceplane, multiple flights per year, $95,000/flight (also per passenger) and 650 kg to sub-orbit. Would make a pretty lower or upper-stage (especially if a skyhook or rotovater were made)

I definitely think they could do it. I just think someone will beat them to the punch. Armadillo aerospace have already sent rockets all the way to 90-95 km carrying 14 kg of payload. They have done numerous rocket tests it would take too long to count ect. If they could get there rocket racer up to mach 1 (rather than mach 0.4) then they would have something.
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: Jason1701 on 04/02/2012 03:47 am
I think XCOR is far closer to spaceplane operations than Armadillo. They have the first Lynx fuselage, and have conducted thousands of engine tests.
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: douglas100 on 04/02/2012 09:15 am
Agree. XCOR's main competitor is Virgin Galactic not Armadillo.
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: go4mars on 04/02/2012 12:58 pm
Agree. XCOR's main competitor is Virgin Galactic not Armadillo.
Disagree.  XCOR's main competitor will be Virgin Atlantic (business class) not Virgin Galactic. 
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: dcporter on 04/02/2012 02:00 pm
XCOR is closer to suborbital point-to-point than VG? VG talks about doing it on the next iteration of its vehicle. At that point, yes, whoever is doing p2p will be trying to make inroads into business class travel.
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: Robotbeat on 04/02/2012 02:34 pm
It quite remains to be seen whether point to point suborbital makes any sense.

But I think the suborbital craft like the Lynx or SpaceShipTwo may test out the concept enough to see if it's worthwhile. They provide a high-supersonic platform for a lot cheaper (not per-seat) than Concorde ever was, so there's greater chance of interesting business ideas without the enormous overhead of such a big supersonic transport (though WhiteKnightTwo and SpaceShipTwo are both a lot higher overhead than Lynx). I suspect that Lynx is a little too small for the business travel market, though, even if it is viable. Doesn't stop them from making a bigger version later, though.

Still, point-to-point over long distances is not practical for the early suborbital vehicles since you need near orbital velocity. It'll be very expensive.
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: douglas100 on 04/02/2012 03:58 pm
Still, point-to-point over long distances is not practical for the early suborbital vehicles since you need near orbital velocity. It'll be very expensive.

Absolutely, and of course you need robust thermal protection as well. It's not clear that there will be any substantial market for point-to-point services in the near to medium future.
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: dcporter on 04/02/2012 04:10 pm
This got off-topic. My question was regarding gotoMars' assertion that XCOR would be competing with airlines rather than VG, which I thought only made sense if he thought XCOR was ahead of VG. If VG gets to p2p (an admittedly questionable destination) first, XCOR will be in direct competition with VG as well as airlines.
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: krytek on 04/02/2012 06:04 pm
I don't know where this p2p talk is coming from.
XCOR has a pretty much stated goal of eventually going orbital.
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: jongoff on 04/02/2012 06:25 pm
XCOR is closer to suborbital point-to-point than VG? VG talks about doing it on the next iteration of its vehicle. At that point, yes, whoever is doing p2p will be trying to make inroads into business class travel.

I think anyone who thinks suborbital point to point is in any way near-term is misinformed, or knows something I don't. After straight-up suborbital, nano-/micro-sat launch with a reusable first stage, and then small scale orbital RLVs are the obvious next steps. Suborbital p2p just has way too many technical, regulatory, and market challenges to be realistic anytime soon. IMO.

~Jon
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: Robotbeat on 04/02/2012 06:37 pm
XCOR is closer to suborbital point-to-point than VG? VG talks about doing it on the next iteration of its vehicle. At that point, yes, whoever is doing p2p will be trying to make inroads into business class travel.

I think anyone who thinks suborbital point to point is in any way near-term is misinformed, or knows something I don't. After straight-up suborbital, nano-/micro-sat launch with a reusable first stage, and then small scale orbital RLVs are the obvious next steps. Suborbital p2p just has way too many technical, regulatory, and market challenges to be realistic anytime soon. IMO.

~Jon
Agreed. I think that once reusable suborbital vehicles and small reusable orbital (or near-orbital) vehicles become relatively common and flying very often, you'll start to see more experimentation with point-to-point. Because it can be done at a smaller scale (and because it is being developed for other purposes), there's more chance for it finding a profitable niche than something like Concorde. Though I suspect that if something like Lynx does end up being profitable for high-speed point-to-point (absolutely no guarantee of that), you'll see a renewed interest in supersonic air-breathing transport as well, since it is inherently more efficient.
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: go4mars on 04/02/2012 07:34 pm
Correct me if I am wrong:

1)  XCOR thinks it can do a gas and go operation that will cost about $900/suborbital flight.

2)  They are planning to sell the units rather than host passengers.

3)  They are too small for significant sonic booms.


If those are correct, then why wouldn't people with enough loot to buy and maintain one be able to do so?  It doesn't have to be to extremely distant destinations.  What if a Bel Aire billionaire's girlfriend wants to go for dinner in Vegas, but its already 4:30PM? 
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: jongoff on 04/02/2012 07:36 pm
Correct me if I am wrong:

1)  XCOR thinks it can do a gas and go operation that will cost about $900/suborbital flight.

2)  They are planning to sell the units rather than host passengers.

3)  They are too small for significant sonic booms.


If those are correct, then why wouldn't people with enough loot to buy and maintain one be able to do so?  It doesn't have to be to extremely distant destinations.  What if a Bel Aire billionaire's girlfriend wants to go for dinner in Vegas, but its already 4:30PM? 

The downrange capabilities of the suborbital vehicles would be very short. Maybe 100miles or so. And they are regulated as rocket vehicles, not as airplanes. Just isn't going to happen the way you're imagining it.

~Jon
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: Robotbeat on 04/02/2012 07:49 pm
I'm sure XCOR would be happy to sell you one. Jon is right, though. There's not a heck of a lot of sense in using it for point-to-point.
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: go4mars on 04/02/2012 07:57 pm
Could they be sold in Canada?
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: A_M_Swallow on 04/02/2012 08:57 pm
In a world where you have to arrive at an airport 3 hours before departure the flight has to be very fast to save a significant amount of time.  This will only happen over long flights which means long distances.  So we are talking New York to Los Angeles or California to China.
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: Robotbeat on 04/02/2012 09:00 pm
In a world where you have to arrive at an airport 3 hours before departure the flight has to be very fast to save a significant amount of time. ...
Or target the "chartered jet" market which doesn't have the same constraints.
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: go4mars on 04/02/2012 10:13 pm
Or target the "chartered jet" market which doesn't have the same constraints.
Exactly.  Roll out of bed, walk over the hangar, back onto the runway, some wake up G's, float for a few minutes while sipping coffee in a bag and watching the sunrise over the earth, chill out for 10 or 15 minutes, land at the landing strip next to "work", reflect on what a nice commute that was as you walk in. 

er. something.
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: D_Dom on 04/02/2012 10:37 pm
Two words, "fractional ownership".
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: Blackjax on 04/02/2012 10:54 pm
Two words, "fractional ownership".

Interesting thought.
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: neilh on 05/03/2012 06:49 am
XCOR's been dropping a number of hints on their twitter account about a new project they're working on. Any guesses?

https://twitter.com/#!/XCOR
Quote
Coming soon: A new project from XCOR. Hint #1: No rockets required. More pics to come. http://pic.twitter.com/mtl1p4ti

Clue #2 to our new project: We passed this along the way. http://t.co/24qwpGQx

Hint #3 to our new project: No wings. http://t.co/QdJT8e1u

Final hint: Look into the background.
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: QuantumG on 05/03/2012 06:55 am
Any big motorcycle races or events going on in New Mexico?
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: Confusador on 05/03/2012 02:09 pm
Shooting for a land speed record?  In any case, it seems odd that it wouldn't be a rocket powered vehicle, but they certainly have the aerodynamic knowledge to do interesting things at high speeds in dense air.
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: QuantumG on 05/04/2012 02:41 am
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2XB_LhfopDw
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: QuantumG on 05/04/2012 03:04 am
And here's the press release: http://xcor.com/press-releases/2012/12-05-03_XCOR_motorcycle_hits_the_road.html
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: docmordrid on 05/04/2012 06:50 am
Test bearings on a high-end test stand, or put them into a motorcycle & take a road trip to do the same test? 

Hmmmm....lemme think about that a minute ;)
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: baldusi on 05/04/2012 05:36 pm
I had speculated that they would test the piston engine that they talked about for the ACES development. Might be the next step. A LH/LOX motorcycle... mmm.  8)
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: Jason1701 on 05/08/2012 09:35 pm
XCOR 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

Pictures show Lynx foam mockup and cockpit mockup.
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: BrightLight on 05/11/2012 03:12 am
This fuselage is very different from the Lynx  pictures posted on the web or in the XCOR user manual - does someone know whats up?
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: brtbrt on 05/11/2012 03:31 am
This fuselage is very different from the Lynx  pictures posted on the web or in the XCOR user manual - does someone know whats up?

Could be the changes are the result of all the wind tunnel testing XCOR has been doing the past few months. Jeff G. has been talking about the testing and the resultant changes for some time now.
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: simonbp on 05/11/2012 07:30 pm
Could be the changes are the result of all the wind tunnel testing XCOR has been doing the past few months. Jeff G. has been talking about the testing and the resultant changes for some time now.

Yeah, they said at Space Access that they have really revised the nose design based on wind tunnel studies. IMHO, the new nose looks much nicer...
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: BrightLight on 05/11/2012 08:39 pm
Could be the changes are the result of all the wind tunnel testing XCOR has been doing the past few months. Jeff G. has been talking about the testing and the resultant changes for some time now.

Yeah, they said at Space Access that they have really revised the nose design based on wind tunnel studies. IMHO, the new nose looks much nicer...
I agree the full delta looks better.  I find it interesting that the delta shape has been maintained since the X-20, even the X-15B was a delta and it appears that winged, lifting body designs since 1960 look more or less the same from the bottom, only the shuttle and X-37 have cranked arrow wings.
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: docmordrid on 05/14/2012 04:14 pm
Aviation Week.... (http://www.aviationweek.com/awmobile/Article.aspx?id=/article-xml/AW_05_14_2012_p26-456595.xml)
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: jongoff on 05/24/2012 01:16 pm
Looks like the XCOR LOX pump is ready for flight:

http://xcor.com/press-releases/2012/12-05-24_XCOR_cryogenic_rocket_piston_pump_a_success.html

Their tease a few minutes ago was punful:

‏@XCOR: "Good news in just a bit, we are certainly pumped..."
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: jongoff on 05/24/2012 01:20 pm
Looks like the XCOR LOX pump is ready for flight:

http://xcor.com/press-releases/2012/12-05-24_XCOR_cryogenic_rocket_piston_pump_a_success.html

Their tease a few minutes ago was punful:

‏@XCOR: "Good news in just a bit, we are certainly pumped..."

Thinking about this, this is a big deal for them. With the LOX and fuel pumps now both working, they've got all the pieces to start integrating their Lynx propulsion core. Looking forward to seeing all four engines running under pump power. This is quite a bit more advanced (though smaller scale) than what Scaled is using for SS2.

~Jon
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: Robert Thompson on 05/24/2012 03:13 pm
Horse, then, cart. 4 horses even better.
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: JBF on 05/24/2012 04:15 pm
Are there any more details available on the piston pump technology?
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: jongoff on 05/24/2012 04:47 pm
Are there any more details available on the piston pump technology?

This provides some background:

http://xcor.com/products/pumps/

They've been working on this technology for almost a decade, starting with some in-house work, which fed into a DARPA STTR, which led back to a mix of contract work and in-house work. AIUI, X-Racer flew with a Kersosene pump (dozens of times a few years back), they did some demo work for ULA on LH2 as part of their RL-10 replacement development work, and now they've demoed it on LOX as well (and I think they did Methane at some point in the past). For small engines it ends up being lighter than a turbopump, and for moderate size engines it may be a bit heavier, but is a lot cheaper, and potentially a lot more reliable.

~Jon
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: RanulfC on 05/24/2012 11:29 pm
Ok, is it time now to start speculating what one would do with a Mk-1 Lynx?

Randy :)
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: QuantumG on 05/24/2012 11:31 pm
When Lynx is complete you can easily imagine them popping the hood for Jesse James, Paul Teutul, or some other custom car/motorcycle show. The word "demystifying" is thrown around a lot these days ....

Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: RanulfC on 05/25/2012 02:56 am
When Lynx is complete you can easily imagine them popping the hood for Jesse James, Paul Teutul, or some other custom car/motorcycle show. The word "demystifying" is thrown around a lot these days ....
"It ain't Rocket Science, it's Rocket Mechanics..."  :)

Randy
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: jongoff on 05/25/2012 03:39 am
When Lynx is complete you can easily imagine them popping the hood for Jesse James, Paul Teutul, or some other custom car/motorcycle show. The word "demystifying" is thrown around a lot these days ....
"It ain't Rocket Science, it's Rocket Mechanics..."  :)

No, it's Rockit Plumbin'...

~Jon
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: sanman on 05/26/2012 03:24 pm
Are there any more details available on the piston pump technology?

This provides some background:

http://xcor.com/products/pumps/

They've been working on this technology for almost a decade, starting with some in-house work, which fed into a DARPA STTR, which led back to a mix of contract work and in-house work. AIUI, X-Racer flew with a Kersosene pump (dozens of times a few years back), they did some demo work for ULA on LH2 as part of their RL-10 replacement development work, and now they've demoed it on LOX as well (and I think they did Methane at some point in the past). For small engines it ends up being lighter than a turbopump, and for moderate size engines it may be a bit heavier, but is a lot cheaper, and potentially a lot more reliable.

~Jon

Why use a reciprocating piston pump instead of, say, a wankel rotary pump? Wankels have a higher power-to-weight ratio, lower vibrational losses while running at higher rpm, although obviously a poorer compression ratio.
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: baldusi on 05/26/2012 03:48 pm
Are there any more details available on the piston pump technology?

This provides some background:

http://xcor.com/products/pumps/

They've been working on this technology for almost a decade, starting with some in-house work, which fed into a DARPA STTR, which led back to a mix of contract work and in-house work. AIUI, X-Racer flew with a Kersosene pump (dozens of times a few years back), they did some demo work for ULA on LH2 as part of their RL-10 replacement development work, and now they've demoed it on LOX as well (and I think they did Methane at some point in the past). For small engines it ends up being lighter than a turbopump, and for moderate size engines it may be a bit heavier, but is a lot cheaper, and potentially a lot more reliable.

~Jon

Why use a reciprocating piston pump instead of, say, a wankel rotary pump? Wankels have a higher power-to-weight ratio, lower vibrational losses while running at higher rpm, although obviously a poorer compression ratio.
You don't need an explosion for a piston pump, just a big low pressure piston and a small low pressure piston. Besides, Wankel engines are not the most reliable, and, more important, their limits is on the sealing side. Sealing for ordinary fuel at normal engine speed is one thing. Sealing Liquid Hydrogen, Liquid Oxygen and going from cryogenic LOX to RP-1 temperature is a whole different game.
Any dynamic seal that's not a circle in a cylinder is pain.
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: RanulfC on 05/30/2012 01:59 pm
When Lynx is complete you can easily imagine them popping the hood for Jesse James, Paul Teutul, or some other custom car/motorcycle show. The word "demystifying" is thrown around a lot these days ....
"It ain't Rocket Science, it's Rocket Mechanics..."  :)

No, it's Rockit Plumbin'...

~Jon

Ugh! Jon please! That just brings up to many images of a guy with his head inside and way to much "crack" showing outside and the words "Well, Lookee what we have here! Boy it sures looks expensive!"

Randy
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: jongoff on 05/30/2012 02:32 pm
When Lynx is complete you can easily imagine them popping the hood for Jesse James, Paul Teutul, or some other custom car/motorcycle show. The word "demystifying" is thrown around a lot these days ....
"It ain't Rocket Science, it's Rocket Mechanics..."  :)

No, it's Rockit Plumbin'...

~Jon

Ugh! Jon please! That just brings up to many images of a guy with his head inside and way to much "crack" showing outside and the words "Well, Lookee what we have here! Boy it sures looks expensive!"

Some of the interns at Masten had to get one of my former coworkers a belt to reduce the incidence of just such occasions...

But more seriously, I got that line from Doug Jones of XCOR. And there's a lot of truth to it.

~Jon
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: Chilly on 05/31/2012 03:22 pm
Ok, is it time now to start speculating what one would do with a Mk-1 Lynx?

Randy :)

Pilot training, maybe?
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: quanthasaquality on 06/02/2012 02:00 pm
For small engines it ends up being lighter than a turbopump, and for moderate size engines it may be a bit heavier, but is a lot cheaper, and potentially a lot more reliable.

I have heard the turbine engine replaced the piston engine in airplanes and higher performance ships in the early twentieth century due to the turbine's lower weight, simplicity and reliability. A look at wikipedia gives a nice table on power to weight ratio of some engines.  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Power-to-weight_ratio (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Power-to-weight_ratio) 

It has been fourty years since the start of the STS program, driven in part to reduce cost to reach orbit. Why are piston engines suddenly now light enough to use in rocket engines for reaching orbit? Or, have they been good enough, but no one tried them before xcor?
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: docmordrid on 06/02/2012 04:37 pm
Probably modern high strength / lightweight alloys and other materials combined with people crazy-smart enough to try it.
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: Moe Grills on 06/02/2012 06:18 pm
Probably modern high strength / lightweight alloys and other materials combined with people crazy-smart enough to try it.

Well? I want to fly that thing.
I think 90 percent of the members on this forum would want to do the same, if they had pilot training.
 (wagging my finger with a smile) Sticks and stones may break my bones.

Just to put things in perspective, I heard a professional pilot saying
on Discovery Channel (the gist) he regards any aircraft he flies as a machine that's trying to kill him.
   So are spacecraft any different?
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: docmordrid on 06/02/2012 10:05 pm
Not that I can tell. Same goes for a '67 Pontiac GTO or a spacecraft; you have to treat the situation the same as the first time you ride a strange quarter horse - you assume its first priority is to dump your butt over the nearest fence.
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: Jason1701 on 06/03/2012 08:58 am
For small engines it ends up being lighter than a turbopump, and for moderate size engines it may be a bit heavier, but is a lot cheaper, and potentially a lot more reliable.

I have heard the turbine engine replaced the piston engine in airplanes and higher performance ships in the early twentieth century due to the turbine's lower weight, simplicity and reliability. A look at wikipedia gives a nice table on power to weight ratio of some engines.  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Power-to-weight_ratio (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Power-to-weight_ratio) 

It has been fourty years since the start of the STS program, driven in part to reduce cost to reach orbit. Why are piston engines suddenly now light enough to use in rocket engines for reaching orbit? Or, have they been good enough, but no one tried them before xcor?

XCOR isn't talking about reaching orbit with a piston pump - just using it in the Lynx, doubling as the first stage of a nanosat launch system (and a low-powered one at that). I gathered from Jon's posts that piston pumps are totally unsuitable for hefty orbital-class engines with immense power output.
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: QuantumG on 06/03/2012 09:00 am
XCOR isn't talking about reaching orbit with a piston pump - just using it in the Lynx, doubling as the first stage of a nanosat launch system (and a low-powered one at that). I gathered from Jon's posts that piston pumps are totally unsuitable for hefty orbital-class engines with immense power output.

They're making an LH2 pump too. XCOR's ambitions go far beyond orbit.
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: RanulfC on 06/04/2012 09:02 pm
Not that I can tell. Same goes for a '67 Pontiac GTO or a spacecraft; you have to treat the situation the same as the first time you ride a strange quarter horse - you assume its first priority is to dump your butt over the nearest fence.
I like the horses YOU know :)

My experiance is that they would MUCH rather throw you somewhere near-by and accessable since they would also like to stomp on you for a bit JUST to make sure you got the message... YMMV however :)

I the end you reduce what risks you can and try and mitigate any "off-nominal" situations with training just to be on the safe side. That doesn't mean things still can't or won't go "south" on you at any given moment. But isn't that part of the 'fun' in the first place? :)

Randy
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: Danderman on 06/11/2012 06:05 pm
XCOR Aerospace Announces Space Expedition Corporation
(SXC) As General Sales Agent For Space Tourism Flights


http://www.xcor.com/press-releases/2012/12-06-07_XCOR_announces_SXC_as_general_sales_agent.html

June 7th, 2012, Mojave CA, USA and New York City, NY:   With the Tom Sachs space-themed art exhibit, “Space Program: Mars“ as a backdrop, XCOR Aerospace named Space Expedition Corporation (SXC) as the new General Sales Agent (GSA) for the XCOR owned Lynx Suborbital vehicle flying from the Mojave Air and Spaceport. SXC was previously announced as the first wet lease customer for a Lynx production vehicle with planned flights from Curacao.  The GSA places the responsibility with SXC for ticket sales through the extensive network of XCOR Space Tourism Specialists and for astronaut training and relations for XCOR Lynx flights from Mojave. Currently, the combined sales of Lynx fights between XCOR and SXC are over 175 flights, with a published retail price of $95,000.

In making the announcement, Andrew Nelson, Chief Operating Officer of XCOR noted “In SXC, you will not find a better team of commercial space retail marketers and sales professionals in the world. We are very pleased to have them on our team and sharing their knowledge and experience with our Space Tourism Specialists.”

As GSA, Space Expedition Corporation will support an existing sales channel of over 100 high end adventure travel focused agents and agencies who have been certified as “Space Tourism Specialists.”  SXC assumes the GSA role from RocketShip Tours (RST) whose founder passed late last year.  “We are very excited about the future of space travel, the naming of our new GSA, and we hope, the introduction of the Lynx into commercial service by the end of next year,” said Nelson.
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: Danderman on 06/11/2012 06:06 pm
Currently, the combined sales of Lynx fights between XCOR and SXC are over 175 flights, with a published retail price of $95,000.

But, there is no market for space tourism, or anything in space except for communications satellites.
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: baldusi on 06/11/2012 06:26 pm
Currently, the combined sales of Lynx fights between XCOR and SXC are over 175 flights, with a published retail price of $95,000.

But, there is no market for space tourism, or anything in space except for communications satellites.
100k and 5M are more than an order of magnitude of difference. So are the physical requirements of training. I would love to be proved wrong, though.
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: jongoff on 07/06/2012 06:16 pm
Looks like XCOR has a high probability of inking an ~$10M economic incentive package with Midland, TX to relocate their R&D operations out to there...

http://www.hobbyspace.com/nucleus/index.php?itemid=39237

Interesting times...

~Jon
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: strangequark on 07/06/2012 06:38 pm
Has anyone been able to find info on what kind of chamber pressures XCOR has hit with its piston pump engines? I've been combing through what's available, but to no avail.
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: oldAtlas_Eguy on 07/06/2012 08:14 pm
If it’s true that TC pressure does not significantly affect ISP on a LH2/LOX engine in vacuum then the only effect of TC pressure is thrust for a given engine weight. A three piston pump would deliver a nearly smooth liquid flow ( a piston pump delivers liquid at a rate equivalent to a half sine wave and three pumps at 120 degrees apart in phase will deliver a near constant liquid flow). Plus a piston pump would have a very wide efficient throttle range.

Assuming the replacement engine for an RL-10 would be roughly the same exit area with approximately the same expansion ratio then the TC pressure would be close to the same or about 500psia.
http://ntrs.nasa.gov/archive/nasa/casi.ntrs.nasa.gov/19970010379_1997013291.pdf (http://ntrs.nasa.gov/archive/nasa/casi.ntrs.nasa.gov/19970010379_1997013291.pdf)


As to how high XCOR has been able to acheive with their cryo pumps so far, I don't know, but at least we know what their target possibly is.
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: strangequark on 07/06/2012 09:16 pm
If it’s true that TC pressure does not significantly affect ISP on a LH2/LOX engine in vacuum then the only effect of TC pressure is thrust for a given engine weight. A three piston pump would deliver a nearly smooth liquid flow ( a piston pump delivers liquid at a rate equivalent to a half sine wave and three pumps at 120 degrees apart in phase will deliver a near constant liquid flow). Plus a piston pump would have a very wide efficient throttle range.

Assuming the replacement engine for an RL-10 would be roughly the same exit area with approximately the same expansion ratio then the TC pressure would be close to the same or about 500psia.
http://ntrs.nasa.gov/archive/nasa/casi.ntrs.nasa.gov/19970010379_1997013291.pdf (http://ntrs.nasa.gov/archive/nasa/casi.ntrs.nasa.gov/19970010379_1997013291.pdf)


As to how high XCOR has been able to acheive with their cryo pumps so far, I don't know, but at least we know what their target possibly is.

It doesn't have much effect if you hold expansion ratio constant. However, higher chamber pressure means a smaller, shorter, lighter nozzle for the same expansion ratio (see attachment), or a higher expansion ratio nozzle for the same length. The reason I ask is that I'm interested in piston pump engines for an application that is length constrained, so I was wondering if there's any actual published data on what's been achieved.
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: docmordrid on 07/07/2012 02:04 am
Looks like XCOR has a high probability of inking an ~$10M economic incentive package with Midland, TX to relocate their R&D operations out to there...

http://www.hobbyspace.com/nucleus/index.php?itemid=39237

Interesting times...

~Jon
.

Likely incentives + low/no taxes relative to Califlakey.
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: jongoff on 07/07/2012 02:58 am
It's also at a location that you can get easy flights into with Southwest or other providers. Which is better than Mojave, where you have a 90minute drive after the flight into Burbank. I may have to find an excuse to visit them after they're setup.

~Jon
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: simonbp on 07/07/2012 05:38 am
Nah, they're obviously going there because Midland's Most Famous Resident wants to go for joyrides... ;)

Between SpaceX, Blue Origin, and now Xcor, Texas is really cleaning up in the rocket testing/launch business. California on the other hand seems to quickly lossing their early lead...
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: Zond on 07/08/2012 05:01 pm
The timing is a bit curious for a move to Midland, there's currently an oil boom on and the housing market is very tight. There savings in taxes will be compensated by the fact that they will have to pay their staff a lot more otherwise they will not be able to afford housing or they will lose them to the oil industry. There are plenty of other places were the economy is in a slump and where there are plenty of houses available. Or they could wait until the boom in Midland has turned into a bust.
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: krytek on 07/08/2012 06:11 pm
Any chance housing is somehow part of the deal?
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: BrightLight on 07/09/2012 06:52 pm
I'm not a aeronautical engineer but the canopy on the Lynx just looks wrong to me, I just don't get the feeling that this is going to 100km, what am i missing.
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: simonbp on 07/09/2012 08:25 pm
The words "mock-up"...
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: BrightLight on 07/09/2012 08:41 pm
The words "mock-up"...

;) Thanks!
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: Jason1701 on 07/10/2012 01:15 am
They have a curved clear pressure vessel inside the flat glass windows. It was too expensive to get curved glass for the outer windows. (Source: Expo)
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: yg1968 on 07/10/2012 03:07 am
http://www.xcor.com/press-releases/2012/12-07-09_XCOR_to_open_midland_resaerch_headquarters.html

http://governor.state.tx.us/news/press-release/17410/#.T_sJ_vpldBM.twitter

See also this short clip:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HPCS09V1j3s
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: QuantumG on 07/10/2012 03:11 am
very short :)
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: Tea Party Space Czar on 08/04/2012 06:37 am
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J9HzwA7Oi6M&feature=youtu.be

It explains why XCOR moved.  Its pretty accurate when it comes to the economic realities these companies are facing.

Respectfully,
Andrew Gasser
TEA Party in Space
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: docmordrid on 08/04/2012 08:00 am
That just about sums it up.

Thanks for sharing.
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: David AF on 08/04/2012 11:52 am
Superb presentation on this vehicle in L2.
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: vulture4 on 08/04/2012 05:31 pm
I notice they have chosen a relatively high lift delta-wing-and-fuselage configuration with wingtip fins, similar to the Prometheus concept Orbital Sciences proposed for the Orbital Space Plane and Commercial Crew programs and distinctly different from the wingless Dreamchaser. Should XCOR decide to go orbital this configuration might be usable in that regimen as well, except for the large transparent windshield, which seems a bit impractical.
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: docmordrid on 08/04/2012 07:20 pm
Lynx has two "windscreens" - the outer glass one you see from the outside and an inner curved polymer screen in the pressure hull.
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: kkattula on 08/05/2012 03:44 pm
It explains why XCOR moved.  Its pretty accurate when it comes to the economic realities these companies are facing.

Respectfully,
Andrew Gasser
TEA Party in Space

Damn near gave me a heart attack with that "going out of business" line.

I knew XCOR were supposed to be going to Texas, but still...
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: QuantumG on 08/15/2012 12:17 am
http://www.floridatoday.com/article/20120814/BUSINESS/120814017/XCOR-Aerospace-headed-Florida-?odyssey=tab|topnews|text|Home
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: Ronsmytheiii on 08/23/2012 10:25 pm
http://www.floridatoday.com/article/20120814/BUSINESS/120814017/XCOR-Aerospace-headed-Florida-?odyssey=tab|topnews|text|Home

That is great news for Brevard, Space Florida, and Xcor.  The central Florida area is all ready a strong destination for tourists, in the end Xcor might beat Virgin just by the amount of "other" stuff to do nearby rather than stuck in the middle of the desert like at Spaceport America.
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: Chris Bergin on 08/23/2012 10:36 pm
You all know I'm not one for rehashing news you've heard of, but its a good opportunity to write up the vehicle, so I'm doing that! :)
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: QuantumG on 08/23/2012 10:38 pm
All these announcements are cool, but the public will get excited when they see it flying.

Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: Robert Thompson on 08/24/2012 01:37 am
Does this change the calculus for Curacao?
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: yg1968 on 10/12/2012 03:22 am
New video:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4yaNvBecEac&feature=player_embedded
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: Prober on 10/12/2012 04:13 pm
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J9HzwA7Oi6M&feature=youtu.be

It explains why XCOR moved.  Its pretty accurate when it comes to the economic realities these companies are facing.

Respectfully,
Andrew Gasser
TEA Party in Space

thats video sums up the truth very well.  I see and hear the stories all the time.

Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: Yarrah on 11/06/2012 08:03 pm
While browsing for a new television a few days ago, I found this advertisement from a  big retailer of consumer electronics (http://www.mediamarkt.nl/mcs/shop/gekkenhuis-ruimtereis.html). Apparently it's not just a joke, because at least one person (an 18-year teen) (http://www.nodeju.com/30651/teen-buys-ticket-to-space.html) decided to pay the €73.333,- for this trip into space.
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: anton_P6 on 11/07/2012 12:10 pm
http://nos.nl/op3/artikel/433522-media-markt-legt-retourtje-ruimte-in-schappen.html

http://www.telegraaf.nl/binnenland/13147715/__Jongen__18___koopt__ruimtereis__.html

Bizarre story.

Google translate:

http://translate.google.com/translate?sl=auto&tl=en&js=n&prev=_t&hl=en&ie=UTF-8&layout=2&eotf=1&u=http%3A%2F%2Fnos.nl%2Fop3%2Fartikel%2F433522-media-markt-legt-retourtje-ruimte-in-schappen.html&act=url

http://translate.google.com/translate?hl=en&sl=auto&tl=en&u=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.telegraaf.nl%2Fbinnenland%2F13147715%2F__Jongen__18___koopt__ruimtereis__.html
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: Robotbeat on 11/07/2012 02:32 pm
While browsing for a new television a few days ago, I found this advertisement from a  big retailer of consumer electronics (http://www.mediamarkt.nl/mcs/shop/gekkenhuis-ruimtereis.html). Apparently it's not just a joke, because at least one person (an 18-year teen) (http://www.nodeju.com/30651/teen-buys-ticket-to-space.html) decided to pay the €73.333,- for this trip into space.
Nope, not a joke. That is the going rate for an XCOR trip.
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: Garrett on 11/07/2012 04:14 pm
It explains why XCOR moved.  Its pretty accurate when it comes to the economic realities these companies are facing.
Have XCOR themselves given a full account of their reasons for moving to Midland? Reading a few articles here and there, it seems to me that they were looking for a spaceport suitable for commercial operations more than anything else, just as Virgin chose Spaceport America. Midland proposed $10million and won their custom. Of course, one has to wonder where the Midland City are getting that money from (a spaceport tax like in New Mexico?).

Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: aquarius on 11/08/2012 02:47 pm
While browsing for a new television a few days ago, I found this advertisement from a  big retailer of consumer electronics (http://www.mediamarkt.nl/mcs/shop/gekkenhuis-ruimtereis.html). Apparently it's not just a joke, because at least one person (an 18-year teen) (http://www.nodeju.com/30651/teen-buys-ticket-to-space.html) decided to pay the €73.333,- for this trip into space.
Nope, not a joke. That is the going rate for an XCOR trip.

Is that the price for Mark I (60 km) or Mark II (100 km)?
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: Ronsmytheiii on 11/15/2012 03:31 am
Quote
XCOR Aerospace has issued the initial phase of a two-phase contract to ATK's Aerospace Structures Division [NYSE:ATK] for the detailed design and manufacture of the Lynx Mark I suborbital reusable launch vehicle (RLV) wings and control surfaces.

http://www.space-travel.com/reports/XCOR_Announces_ATK_as_Lynx_Mark_I_Wing_Detailed_Design_And_Build_Contractor_999.html
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: Robotbeat on 11/15/2012 03:22 pm
While browsing for a new television a few days ago, I found this advertisement from a  big retailer of consumer electronics (http://www.mediamarkt.nl/mcs/shop/gekkenhuis-ruimtereis.html). Apparently it's not just a joke, because at least one person (an 18-year teen) (http://www.nodeju.com/30651/teen-buys-ticket-to-space.html) decided to pay the €73.333,- for this trip into space.
Nope, not a joke. That is the going rate for an XCOR trip.

Is that the price for Mark I (60 km) or Mark II (100 km)?
Could be the same for both, since generally there is a premium for those that fly first, and Mark I will fly first.
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: simonbp on 11/15/2012 03:46 pm
Since the advertisement is in Dutch, I'm guessing it's for a flight from Cuaco, which probably means Lynx Mk II. The Mk I is just the prototype, and I don't know if they are going to lease it out to SXC.
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: go4mars on 01/09/2013 02:08 pm
They've built and fired something like a dozen different rocket designs over the past 10 years, ranging from tiny Nitrous/Ethane RCS engines all the way up to 7.5klbf LOX/Methane engines. 

Does XCOR have anything that would be about the right power level for this (more bracing might be required)?:

see boots in video.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8HMdioj6kng

or this:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j5J3z5CK9H0

The rocket racing league sized one might be a good augment for a boss hoss motorcycle...
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: SpaceXSLS on 01/10/2013 08:11 pm
Surprised im the first to get to this. :D

http://www.space.com/19199-axe-apollo-space-launch-contest.html

Quote
The men's personal care product company AXE has teamed up with famed moonwalker Buzz Aldrin to send 22 people into space, and make sure they smell nice doing it.

The company today (Jan. 9) kicked off its new AXE Apollo Space Academy, an online contest that promises to send 22 winners to the edge of space and back aboard a private spaceship. The winning space travelers will launch aboard a suborbital Lynx space plane built by the U.S. company XCOR Aerospace and operated by the tourism firm Space Expedition Curacao, AXE officials said.

"Space travel for everyone is the next frontier in the human experience," Buzz Aldrin, who became the second person ever to walk on the moon during NASA's 1969 Apollo 11 mission in 1969, said in a statement. "I'm thrilled that AXE is giving the young people of today such an extraordinary opportunity to experience some of what I've encountered in space.

The contest is open to men and women in more than 60 countries who sign up on the AXE Apollo Space Academy website (AXEApollo.com) and write about why they should be chosen to fly in space, while others will vote on the entries. The deadline to enter is Feb. 3. [How Lynx Spaceships Will Launch (Video)]

The 22 winners will be selected during the AXE Global Space Camp in Orlando, Fla., which will feature competitive "space-simulation challenges," AXE officials said.

Winning space travelers will fly, one at a time, aboard Lynx space planes once Space Expedition Curacao begins operational flights. The reusable space planes are designed to fly two people — one pilot and a passenger — to an altitude of 62 miles (100 kilometers) during suborbital flights. The rocket plane is built to take off and land horizontally on a runway.

Space Expedition Curacao will oversee commercial Lynx flights from the Caribbean island of Curacao. Tickets for a flight are set at $95,000.

XCOR Aerospace is expected to begin the first test flights of a high-altitude Lynx design sometime later this year. The first passenger flights could begin in 2014.

AXE's deodorant body sprays are apparently known as Lynx in some parts of the world, so booking seats on a space plane with the same name was no giant leap, company officials explained.

"The AXE Apollo launch is the biggest and most ambitious in the AXE brand's 30-year history," AXE's global vice president Tomas Marcenaro said. "For the first time, we're simultaneously launching one global competition in over 60 countries offering millions of people the opportunity to win the most epic prize on Earth. A trip to space — yes, actual space.""

My initial thought is I like the sound of this PR!

And a youtube vid

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aADnWZISDqA
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: simonbp on 01/10/2013 08:33 pm
Also,

http://www.youtube.com/watch?&v=PmwsSKwlGQ8
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: Robotbeat on 01/11/2013 08:23 pm
LOL
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: Lars_J on 01/11/2013 09:15 pm
I like it! :D
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: jongoff on 01/12/2013 02:08 am
I'm a huge fan of what my friends at XCOR are doing, but that had to be one of the cheesiest ads I've seen in a long time (though that may not be saying much--I don't watch TV).

~Jon
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: yg1968 on 01/12/2013 03:45 am
The ads are from Axe which is a company that sells cologne and deoderants. Most of their ads are similar to these.
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: sdsds on 01/12/2013 07:31 am
I'm not sure where space.com got all their details regarding this. I take the "Axe Apollo Terms and Conditions" document to be somewhat authoritative: "Grand Prize (1): One (1) reservation on the X-COR Lynx sub-orbital space vehicle, for one (1) person on one (1) flight to travel into space on dates, to locations and for a duration determined by Sponsor between January 1, 2013 and December 31, 2020 and a check for $25,000 to help defray the cost of taxes (ARV: $86,000)." (See attached.)

This seems to place a retail value of $61,000 on the flight itself.
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: Borklund on 01/12/2013 10:34 am
Nice find. That's a lot of money, though considerably less than Virgin Galactic's $200,000.
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: krytek on 01/12/2013 12:01 pm
IIRC the original ticket price was supposed to be 90-99,000$
It's awesome to see the mainstream interested in them like that.
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: yg1968 on 01/12/2013 01:17 pm
I'm not sure where space.com got all their details regarding this. I take the "Axe Apollo Terms and Conditions" document to be somewhat authoritative: "Grand Prize (1): One (1) reservation on the X-COR Lynx sub-orbital space vehicle, for one (1) person on one (1) flight to travel into space on dates, to locations and for a duration determined by Sponsor between January 1, 2013 and December 31, 2020 and a check for $25,000 to help defray the cost of taxes (ARV: $86,000)." (See attached.)

This seems to place a retail value of $61,000 on the flight itself.


They must have gotten a discount for buying 22 seats and because of the extra publicity that Lynx is getting through these ads. 
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: go4mars on 01/12/2013 01:31 pm
I registered, promising to wear a three wolf moon t-shirt to space.  I don't expect to win, but it's a good excuse to reach out to a bunch of old friends with something space related.  For a lot of people I know, old friends, exposure to anything space related is generally a rare thing. 
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: JohnFornaro on 01/12/2013 02:51 pm
No wonder I'm having such a hard time selling the idea of a lunar mission.

I've been using the wrong deodorant.
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: krytek on 01/12/2013 05:45 pm
No wonder I'm having such a hard time selling the idea of a lunar mission.

I've been using the wrong deodorant.
Good one :)
You spray it on and all the congressmen start chasing.
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: AlanRex54 on 01/13/2013 09:31 pm
I would think Xcor would get more out of this if they at least have there spacecraft test fire it's engine in the craft on the runway  -  prior to the superbowl.  I thought they were aiming for a 1st Qtr flight test but haven't seen anything yet this year.
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: Lars_J on 01/13/2013 10:19 pm
Yes, this could backfire if they aren't ready...
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: simonbp on 01/13/2013 10:42 pm
Yeah, they had been talking about at least a taxi test by the end of the year. Though, that was before they announced the move to Texas, so the schedule may have been changed by that...
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: Robert Thompson on 01/28/2013 12:28 am
http://www.usatoday.com/story/money/business/2013/01/26/company-seeks-to-capitalize-on-space-tourism/1866889/

"XCOR and other companies give "very high-wealth individuals the spaceflight experience. Climb Mount Everest or go into space. These are the choices a lot of these folks are making," Salonen said. "The market is there, and it's substantial, and it can sustain multiple providers."

Nelson is not worried about the competition. He compares it to a roller-coaster fan visiting various theme parks.

"If you ride roller coasters, do you just ride one roller coaster?" Nelson said. "No. You ride them all.""
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: Danderman on 03/21/2013 02:14 pm
Silicon Valley Space Center to Develop Suborbital Payloads for Lynx

http://www.parabolicarc.com/2013/03/20/silicon-valley-space-center-to-develop-suborbital-payloads-for-lynx/

The Silicon Valley Space Center will develop four scientific payloads to fly on the XCOR Lynx spacecraft, which is currently under construction in Mojave, California.

“The Silicon Valley Space Center is proud to support the Citizens in Space program,” said Dr. Sean Casey, co-founder of the Silicon Valley Space Center. “This is a unique opportunity to leverage the technical expertise of the Silicon Valley community in support of citizen science and the emerging suborbital spaceflight industry.”

Citizens in Space has acquired an initial contract for 10 flights on the XCOR Lynx. This initial flight campaign will carry 100 citizen-science payloads and 10 citizen astronauts who will act as payload operators.

The experiments being developed by the Silicon Valley Space Center will serve as pathfinders for those citizen-science experiments.  “When a developer is learning a new programming language or technology, he starts out by building a ‘Hello, world’ application,” Casey said. “These payloads serve as ‘Hello, world’ apps for space. They will provide a starting point for citizen scientists who are just getting started in space science.”

The Silicon Valley Space Center is currently reviewing candidate experiments in microgravity materials processing, fluid physics, life sciences, and other fields. Experiments built by the Silicon Valley Space Center will be featured at a series of “Space Hacker” workshops for citizen scientists, the first of which is scheduled for May 4-5 at the Hacker Dojo in Mountain View, California.

“We are pleased to welcome the Silicon Valley Space Center as a partner,” said Edward Wright, project manager for Citizens in Space. “The Center brings the scientific experience and knowledge of the Silicon Valley culture needed to make this program a success.”

“Payload designs will use open-source hardware wherever possible,” Casey said. To achieve this goal, the Silicon Valley Space Center is teaming up with Infinity Aerospace, a Silicon Valley startup that offers Nanorack-compliant and certified technologies for research experiments and commercial activities aboard suborbital and orbital facilities. ArduLab, an Arduino-based microgravity platform developed by Infinity Aerospace, will serve as the underlying hardware for experiments developed by the Silicon Valley Space Center.
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: Lars_J on 03/21/2013 02:37 pm
Any progress yet on the Lynx aircraft itself?
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: yg1968 on 03/26/2013 05:17 pm
XCOR Aerospace Announces Significant Propulsion Milestone on Lynx Suborbital Vehicle:
http://www.xcor.com/press-releases/2013/13-03-26_XCOR-lynx-propulsion-milestone.html
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: gin455res on 03/26/2013 06:46 pm
XCOR Aerospace Announces Significant Propulsion Milestone on Lynx Suborbital Vehicle:
http://www.xcor.com/press-releases/2013/13-03-26_XCOR-lynx-propulsion-milestone.html

This press release, claims that these piston pumps are 'game-changing'.

Why is that?
 (Does it reduce the lower bound on the size of pump fed stages?)
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: jongoff on 03/26/2013 07:33 pm
XCOR Aerospace Announces Significant Propulsion Milestone on Lynx Suborbital Vehicle:
http://www.xcor.com/press-releases/2013/13-03-26_XCOR-lynx-propulsion-milestone.html

This press release, claims that these piston pumps are 'game-changing'.

Why is that?
 (Does it reduce the lower bound on the size of pump fed stages?

I think the claim is that their piston pumps are almost as good mass-wise as turbopumps for small-scale engines, but much cheaper, and much, much more easily reused. They haven't demonstrated 10s of thousands of flight cycles on the engines yet, but that's what they're trying to get to. Make it work reliably and reusably first, then start bringing the performance up as high as you can without hurting reusability.

~Jon
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: simonbp on 03/27/2013 01:25 am
And to further Jon's point, the major differences is that piston pumps can move a lot more fluid at a given RPM than a turbopump. That means you can run the piston at a much lower RPM, reducing the mechanical wear and extending its life.

Piston pumps are typically larger and more complex than a similar power turbopump, and so ICBMs and the ELVs derived from them used turbopumps. For an RLV, though, the design lifetime matters much more, and so Xcor's piston pump.
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: yg1968 on 03/27/2013 02:00 am
Here is the video of the test:
http://www.xcor.com/blog/?p=99

http://vimeo.com/62731622
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: go4mars on 03/27/2013 02:43 am
This press release, claims that these piston pumps are 'game-changing'.

Why is that?
Re-read the quote from Jeff Greason.  Takes away the need for (heavy) high-pressure tanks...     Also, IIRC, when they had the release related to the testing on the motorcycle, they couldn't figure out what a wear mechanism would be.


Looking forward to a vast future for XCOR!  Well done.
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: xanmarus on 03/27/2013 04:11 am
Some info about this piston pumps
http://www.xcor.com/products/pumps/
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: crab nebula2 on 03/27/2013 03:06 pm
Does anyone know how the piston pump on these tests was driven? The pump description mentions a proprietary thermodynamic cycle, but I am wondering if a high pressure gas might be used for this prototype setup.
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: deltaV on 03/27/2013 11:50 pm
And to further Jon's point, the major differences is that piston pumps can move a lot more fluid at a given RPM than a turbopump. That means you can run the piston at a much lower RPM, reducing the mechanical wear and extending its life.

Piston pumps are typically larger and more complex than a similar power turbopump, and so ICBMs and the ELVs derived from them used turbopumps. For an RLV, though, the design lifetime matters much more, and so Xcor's piston pump.

Jet engines use high-RPM turbines and turbopumps and are among the most reliable engines on the planet. In fact they're more reliable than aviation piston engines. My point is that pistons are not inherently more reliable than turbopumps. IANARS but I bet that margins have a greater impact on pump reliability than turbopump vs. piston does.
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: krytek on 03/28/2013 05:42 am
New Research Platform to Fly on XCOR Lynx Space Plane

Lynx Cub Payload Carrier Being Developed at Texas A&M
College Station, Texas (Mar. 28, 2013) – A new payload carrier promises to dramatically reduce the cost of access to space for small scientific and education payloads.

The Lynx Cub Payload Carrier was announced today by the United States Rocket Academy.  The Lynx Cub Carrier will fly on the XCOR Lynx space plane, now under construction at the Mojave Air and Space Port, and carry up to 12 experiments on each flight.

“The Lynx Cub Payload Carrier is a versatile system that installs in the Lynx cabin, behind the pilot’s seat, allowing small experiments to be carried as secondary payloads on any Lynx flight,” said United States Rocket Academy chairman Edward Wright. “The Cub Carrier can be installed and removed quickly for frequent, low-cost flight opportunities.”

Citizens in Space, a project of the United States Rocket Academy, will fly the Lynx Cub Carrier on 10 Lynx missions beginning in late 2014 or early 2015. The Lynx Cub Carrier will also be made available to other XCOR customers, as ready-to-fly hardware or as an open-source hardware design.

“XCOR Aerospace is pleased to welcome the new Cub Carrier to the Lynx family,” said Khaki Rodway, XCOR Director of Payload Sales and Pperations. “The Lynx Cub Carrier is an ideal platform for small materials-processing, fluid-physics, life-science, and engineering experiments. University teaching and research, K-12 education, citizen science, government and industrial R&D will all benefit from the convenient simple interfaces, rapid integration, and affordability of Lynx Cub experiments.”

The Lynx Cub Carrier is being developed by the United States Rocket Academy and the Space Engineering Research Center, part of the Texas A&M Engineering Experiment Station (TEES), with support from XCOR Aerospace. Design and fabrication are being done by Texas A&M faculty and students and TEES researchers.

“Lynx Cub payloads are based on the popular 1U, 2U, and 3U CubeSat form factors, which are de facto international standards for small scientific payloads,” said Chip Hill, Director of the Space Engineering Research Center. “The payload carrier provides physical accommodations, electrical power, and limited thermal control for Lynx Cub experiments.”

The Lynx Cub Carrier will be flight-ready in September 2013 and will be included in the XCOR Lynx flight test program.

“For the test flights, we will load the Lynx Cub Carrier with payload simulators, accelerometers, gyroscopes, and environmental sensors,” Wright said. “While XCOR is proving out the vehicle, we’ll be gathering baseline data on the thermal environment, the acoustical environment, acceleration, vibration, etc. – data that will help guide experimenters in their payload design.” 

“The Space Engineering Research Center has put together a first-class team for this development program,” Hill said. “The involvement of Texas A&M industrial and systems engineering students as key team members, under the mentorship of Dr. Justin Yates and direction of technical lead Dr. Frank Little, provides an excellent opportunity for students to gain hands-on experience with real space hardware.”

A&M student Cress Netherland said, “Developing the Lynx Cub Carrier presents a challenging and unique problem. We are extremely excited about the opportunity to apply our studies to a real world application.”

The Space Engineering Research Center, part of the Texas A&M Engineering Experiment Station in College Station, is also a member of XCOR’s global network of payload integrators, which provides value-added services for Lynx payload developers. TEES is an engineering research agency of the State of Texas and a member of The Texas A&M University System.

XCOR Aerospace, which is developing the suborbital, fully reusable Lynx spacecraft for a variety of scientific and commercial missions, is currently headquartered in Mojave, California. The company will relocate its headquarters to Midland, Texas later this year.

The United States Rocket Academy, a non-profit educational organization that studies and promotes the scientific, military, and commercial applications of human spaceflight, is also located in Texas. Citizens in Space is the United States Rocket Academy’s flagship program.




http://www.newspacewatch.com/articles/new-research-platform-developed-for-xcor-lynx-space-plane.html
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: Lurker Steve on 03/28/2013 12:17 pm
This press release, claims that these piston pumps are 'game-changing'.

Why is that?
Re-read the quote from Jeff Greason.  Takes away the need for (heavy) high-pressure tanks...     Also, IIRC, when they had the release related to the testing on the motorcycle, they couldn't figure out what a wear mechanism would be.


Looking forward to a vast future for XCOR!  Well done.

I don't understand taking away the need for "high-pressure" tanks. You want to carry as much fuel in as little volume as possible, right ? Doesn't that pretty much guarantee that your fuel will be condensed / pressurized as much as possible ? Sure, you may not need to maintain that pressure over the life of the stage, but I would think high-pressure  (and tanks able to handle that pressure is a given.
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: deltaV on 03/28/2013 03:20 pm
Lurker: liquids do not change volume significantly when under pressure.
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: Lurker Steve on 03/28/2013 03:34 pm
Lurker: liquids do not change volume significantly when under pressure.

But Oxygen and Hydrogen must be pressurized in order to change from gas to liquid form, correct ? Maybe a low thrust engine isn't interested in pushing as much fuel and oxidizer into the combustion chamber as possible, and most of XCORs engines look to be in a small thrust class.
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: Lars_J on 03/28/2013 03:37 pm
Is there any word on progress of their Lynx aircraft? We all know they know propulsion... Nu surprise there. But the long pole for them seems to be the actual aircraft - and until they make some progress on that, they simply aren't going anywhere.

Like others have noted before, Scaled and XCOR have opposite (or complimentary) expertise. One has what the other needs.
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: Lar on 03/28/2013 04:18 pm
New Research Platform to Fly on XCOR Lynx Space Plane

Lynx Cub Payload Carrier Being Developed at Texas A&M
College Station, Texas (Mar. 28, 2013) – A new payload carrier promises to dramatically reduce the cost of access to space for small scientific and education payloads.

 (snip)

http://www.newspacewatch.com/articles/new-research-platform-developed-for-xcor-lynx-space-plane.html

For "getaway special" class experiments that aren't completely passive, is there some standard activation mechanism expected? Suppose, for example, that your experiment requires reagents to be added just before flight. Is it up to you to provide this via some electromechanical means?  Or can you rely on someone to do it for you? And if electrocmechanical, are there standard voltages or signals?

I bet this sort of thing is talked about in payload integration handbooks provided by the various launch providers but are there standards to allow for easy interchange?
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: baldusi on 03/28/2013 04:26 pm
Lurker: liquids do not change volume significantly when under pressure.

But Oxygen and Hydrogen must be pressurized in order to change from gas to liquid form, correct ? Maybe a low thrust engine isn't interested in pushing as much fuel and oxidizer into the combustion chamber as possible, and most of XCORs engines look to be in a small thrust class.
Nope. They cool them. That's why they are called cryogenic (meaning ultra cold). In fact, the whole issue of thermal protection for H2 tanks is because H2 is liquid at about 20K while LOX needs "just" 90K. Whatever excess heat you get the liquid goes liquid, and in the phase change takes away that extra heat. What you'll have is a slight "vapor pressure".
Normal cryogenic liquids are handled, in fact, on open vessels. That allow the gases to get out and thus avoid pressure build up.
In the LV tanks case, you need some pressure. If you have a pressure fed design, you'd need a fraction more than your chamber pressure. Which might be as much as 10bar. Very impractical for big tanks. In the case of pump fed, you just need enough pressure to avoid cavitation on your feedlines. I think less than 3bars are needed, but, for example, Falcon 9 uses a bit more, like 3.4Bar or so.
Please remember that in the XCOR case, the fuel is kerosene, and they only use cryo fro the oxidizer (LOX). But in both cases they need to pressurize them just enough to feed the pumps. After that, the piston pumps do their work to up the pressure to chamber level. Again, as we are talking liquids here, the volume is, practically, the same.
The only case where you use it in gaseous state, is when you use a gas generator to mode a turbine or, probably, after they burn a bit on the low pressure side of the pistons. Normally, designs like Gas Generator rockets, dump that gas after passing it through the turbines. But cycles like the RL10 or the Staged Combustion rockets (RD-25, RD-170/180, etc.) convert all the mass of either the fuel or the oxidizer to gas and actually feed it in gas state. Thus, the Russian nomenclature of calling the staged combustion rockets gas-liquid.
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: deltaV on 03/28/2013 05:18 pm
Lurker: I suggest you read up on triple points, vapor pressure, and phase diagrams. Liquid oxygen and liquid hydrogen are not possible in a true vacuum, but the minimum pressure required is much less than an atmosphere (and also much less than typical tank pressures): http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Triple_point#Table_of_triple_points .
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: krytek on 03/31/2013 04:27 pm
Just saw this awesome interview at
http://www.newspacewatch.com/articles/interview-with-xcor039s-andrew-nelson-on-spacevidcast.html

At appears We'll be seeing Lynx fly in 2013.
Claimed piston pumps work measured in thousands of hours vs minutes for turbo pumps.
Also claimed figure of piston pump cost up to couple hundred thousand dollars, versus up to a couple of million for turbo pumps.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=bb6d4FhKPpQ
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: vulture4 on 03/31/2013 08:20 pm
The piston pump is ingenious and allows high chamber pressure in a small engine, but I would guess it would be much too heavy if scaled up for a large engine like the Merlin.
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: gin455res on 03/31/2013 11:49 pm
This press release, claims that these piston pumps are 'game-changing'.

Why is that?
Re-read the quote from Jeff Greason.  Takes away the need for (heavy) high-pressure tanks...     Also, IIRC, when they had the release related to the testing on the motorcycle, they couldn't figure out what a wear mechanism would be.


Looking forward to a vast future for XCOR!  Well done.

I don't understand taking away the need for "high-pressure" tanks. You want to carry as much fuel in as little volume as possible, right ? Doesn't that pretty much guarantee that your fuel will be condensed / pressurized as much as possible ? Sure, you may not need to maintain that pressure over the life of the stage, but I would think high-pressure  (and tanks able to handle that pressure is a given.
hi lurker steve

as i understand it, rocket engines need fairly high pressures to operate efficiently (particularly at atmospheric pressure). These pressures are much higher than those required to keep cryogenic propellants in a liquid state.  These pressures can be achieved either with a pump, or by pressurising the fuel and oxidiser tanks. Pressurising the tanks means they need to be much stronger and this equates to far heavier tanks. Heavy tanks means less payload. So pumps add the weight of the pump, but reduce the weight  of the tanks -  a lot!
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: krytek on 04/01/2013 01:14 pm
Any idea what drives Xcor's piston pumps?
In a turbo pump it is the turbine that drives the pump. I was thinking that in a rocket engine piston pump you'd still need a turbine to drive the crankshaft. That is unless there is other mechanism I'm not familiar with.
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: Robotbeat on 04/01/2013 01:58 pm
Any idea what drives Xcor's piston pumps?
In a turbo pump it is the turbine that drives the pump. I was thinking that in a rocket engine piston pump you'd still need a turbine to drive the crankshaft. That is unless there is other mechanism I'm not familiar with.
Pistons drive the piston pump (like a car engine). The gas to drive that I think comes from a gas generator, but they apparently have some secret sauce there.
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: baldusi on 04/01/2013 06:23 pm
Any idea what drives Xcor's piston pumps?
In a turbo pump it is the turbine that drives the pump. I was thinking that in a rocket engine piston pump you'd still need a turbine to drive the crankshaft. That is unless there is other mechanism I'm not familiar with.
Pistons drive the piston pump (like a car engine). The gas to drive that I think comes from a gas generator, but they apparently have some secret sauce there.
Couldn't it be that they actually have a spark there? With a little thermal exchange you can have plenty of gas and use standard pistons.
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: Robotbeat on 04/01/2013 07:46 pm
Any idea what drives Xcor's piston pumps?
In a turbo pump it is the turbine that drives the pump. I was thinking that in a rocket engine piston pump you'd still need a turbine to drive the crankshaft. That is unless there is other mechanism I'm not familiar with.
Pistons drive the piston pump (like a car engine). The gas to drive that I think comes from a gas generator, but they apparently have some secret sauce there.
Couldn't it be that they actually have a spark there? With a little thermal exchange you can have plenty of gas and use standard pistons.
I'm confident it doesn't use a spark.
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: Lar on 04/01/2013 07:54 pm
I'm confident it doesn't use a spark.

Right, it's a piston PUMP not a piston ENGINE...
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: Comga on 04/01/2013 10:19 pm
I'm confident it doesn't use a spark.

Right, it's a piston PUMP not a piston ENGINE...

You are correct but....

At the risk of extending speculation even farther away from what XCOR is doing and has stated, that other concept is really interesting.

Imagine a piston or Wankel version of the SpaceX/FastTrac turbo-pump, which has a turbine harvesting the power of fuel and oxidizer combustion to directly power a turbine pumping fuel and oxidizer.  In the speculative system two pistons would be run mechanically off the crank shaft that is driven by a combustion engine.  There would be no conversion of mechanical energy to electricity or some other intermediary to power the compressor pumps. It would get even neater if a Wankel form was used, where the other volumes as the triangular rotor wobbles around the chamber would be used to pump fuel and oxidizer, possibly one per rotor, maybe two.  The axel would just hold the rotor in place and move along the prescribed path, not transmit power.  that would occur through the solid body of the rotor.

Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: JohnFornaro on 04/02/2013 01:44 am
What could XCOR's patent pending thermodynamic cycle possibly be, and how would that enable their pumps to be as efficient as they claim?

Is that proprietary cycle somehow powering their pumps?

Imagine a piston or Wankel version of the SpaceX/FastTrac turbo-pump, which has a turbine harvesting the power of fuel and oxidizer combustion to directly power a turbine pumping fuel and oxidizer.

Along these lines, but the pictures on the website don't offer any clue that could be "Wankel".  Interesting speculation however.

Something has to provide the rotary power.
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: relyon on 04/02/2013 03:29 am
What could XCOR's patent pending thermodynamic cycle possibly be, and how would that enable their pumps to be as efficient as they claim

See US Patent Application Publication number US8341933 B2 (http://www.google.com/patents/US8341933).

Bob
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: yg1968 on 04/13/2013 09:41 pm
Looks like Stratolaunch-Orbital will have some competition. See text in bold below:

XCOR Aerospace - Jeff Greason

XCOR is as much a creation of Space Access as anything else
All started when he went to the the first one
EZ Rocket got down to $500 per flight
Need reliability before we can do the cool things
Reusability can work if and only if:
1. Capital cost is amortized over lifetime
2. Variable cost per flight is low
Suborbital is strategic
Lynx MECO ~100,000 ft
Glass top spacecraft
Three markets: people, payloads, and upper stages
Every year more and more nanosats
Lynx status: not done yet!
Propulsion wise in great shape
No fixed infrastructure (except ex-Marine Corp bunker)
Did Lynx engine test in partnership with Boeing
20 ms non-hypergol RCS
Avionics connected during engine test
Aerodynamics: done
Underside wing fences (right under fillets), allows for larger dihedral
Used the wind tunnel at Wright-Patterson
Cut away of the structure
Four pumps, four engines, each pair of pumps feeds a pair of engines
Started on airframe 2, which might fly first
Had some lessons learned from first airframe, wanted to try them immediately on second airframe
Buzz in the cockpit
Gear are mostly build, except retracts
Wing vendor change
Nose has been surprisingly difficult structurally
Need to close thermodynamic loop for pump/engine
Test LOX tank
In parallel LH2 pump program
Being paid to learn how to handle LH2 has been useful
Have to really reimagine how to handle LH2 with low infrastructure
Orbital vehicle: conception problems solved
Carrier aircraft plus two rocket stages, second is LH2
Goal is $1 million per person
Relocating to between Midland and Odessa
Low population density and big manufacturing base
Orbital vehicle: Carrier aircraft you can buy, both rocket stages reusable

Market is corporations paying to fly personnel to orbit (like offshore oil rigs)
There is a payload market (that he won't talk about) that is not comm sats
Move is because of California, just can't lease more space
Want the development and manufacturing in separate places
Florida will be serial production location
Looking for analog electronic engineers
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: simonbp on 04/14/2013 01:24 am
To be clear, he meant that he intends XCOR to buy a carrier aircraft, not that they are selling carrier aircraft.

Also, the LH2 adds one shift (6-8 hours) to the turnaround, but helps a lot of other things.
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: yg1968 on 04/14/2013 01:26 am
To be clear, he meant that he intends XCOR to buy a carrier aircraft, not that they are selling carrier aircraft.

Also, the LH2 adds one shift (6-8 hours) to the turnaround, but helps a lot of other things.

They would buy the carrier aircraft from Sratolaunch, presumably?
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: simonbp on 04/14/2013 01:35 am
Oh, there's no way he is going to be that specific. But if I had to speculate (and it is just that), he means an airliner.
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: Robotbeat on 04/14/2013 02:19 am
The most serious RLV effort that no one is talking about.

SpaceX--very credible, testing recovery and reuse with their next flight and a prototype, have already achieved orbit and gone to the space station and back 3 times
Blue Origin--credible, have successful VTVL flights under their belt, consistent and significant funding, a hydrogen engine
XCOR--credible, have tested rocket plane operations successfully, are close to finishing vehicle that can send hundreds of people beyond Karman line for cheap, have innovative reuse and pump technology, laser-focused on high reusability and fast turnaround operations, unknown funding level and stability

And in Europe: Skylon

What a world we live in.
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: Robotbeat on 04/14/2013 02:24 am
"Market is corporations paying to fly personnel to orbit (like offshore oil rigs)"

Can someone paint a picture of this? Is this remotely pointing to a winged Linx-type reusable that can achieve orbit?
yes, and it isn't actually news (though some details may be). They've presented on it before. On their website: http://www.xcor.com/about_us/
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: Robert Thompson on 04/14/2013 02:27 am
Well, like you said. I had thought I was completely caught up on XCOR. I wear their shirts everywhere.
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: Robotbeat on 04/14/2013 02:37 am
Look at De Long's past work on air launch orbital systems. XCOR is serious about it, though they haven't been flashy about it.
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: Robotbeat on 04/14/2013 02:55 am
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1-9lh0aqbow (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1-9lh0aqbow)

Background, business plan, choice of wings, ideas for two-stage (winged?) orbital vehicle. (4/11)
Talks about orbital vehicle starting around 4:00, and again at 6:15, talking about the orbital vehicle's heritage being from the Lynx.
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: Robotbeat on 04/14/2013 03:04 am
>
A multi-passenger spacecraft  (Mark III? Super Lynx?) with three LH2/LOX engines delivering a total 90,000Ibf thrust?
Is that a possibility?
Pardon the ads in this Aero TV video, but it directly addresses your question.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SFgyEfobVpo
The first half of this talk is about the orbital vehicle. I thought I saw a picture of the concept, but here are some concepts DeLong has worked on:
http://xcor.com/products/vehicles/frequent_flyer_and_teledyne_brown_spaceplane.html

XCOR is much more focused on the orbital concept than I think the vast majority of the space community realizes.
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: go4mars on 04/14/2013 03:09 am
From your link:  What does the part I underlined mean?

"For example, by using lower wing loading, he sacrificed some weight and speed, but was able to design a vehicle that did not need the Space Shuttle’s heavy, fragile, and expensive heat protection tiles for re-entry."   


btw, if I had a billion dollars to invest, I would see how much Greason could realistically accept as an investment.  I think there's a reasonably good chance that he'll be the near-earth guy, and Elon will be the further afield and/or bigger stuff guy. 
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: FutureSpaceTourist on 04/14/2013 06:55 am
The news about XCR's orbital concept is very welcome and interesting.

It's not clear to me, from a customer perspective, what this offers beyond the F9R (if you'll accept for the moment that SpaceX achieve that in, say, the next 5 years). Presumably even if XCOR were to use the Stratolaunch carrier plane, payload to LEO is likely to be less than F9R (or at least not much more). If they use an adapted commercial airliner, eg 747, I assume the payload will be even less?

$1M per passenger to LEO is ambitious and obviously a lot cheaper than current pricing. I wouldn't expect SpaceX to get in that ball park for a while but presumably it'd take XCOR years (a decade?) to develop an orbital system.

Maybe increased operational flexibility, such as not needing dedicated launch facilities, gives an edge?
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: Robotbeat on 04/14/2013 07:07 am
Intact abort. And XCOR has a focus on operational reusability beyond anything SpaceX has ever done. XCOR has shown that a single manned rocket-powered vehicle can be flown, refueled, and flown again several times a day, for potentially hundreds of times.

I still think SpaceX's vertical landing approach is better, but XCOR has very much the right attitude about all of this.
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: FutureSpaceTourist on 04/14/2013 08:02 am
I still think SpaceX's vertical landing approach is better, but XCOR has very much the right attitude about all of this.

Thanks for the response. Have XCOR said anything about the landing approach of their rocket powered stages, or are you extrapolating from their (and DeLong's) previous work?!

I agree entirely about XCOR's attitude and philosophy. Funding has clearly been their limiting factor so far.
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: kkattula on 04/14/2013 09:39 am
From what Jeff Greason said in the Aero video, it sounds like the XCOR orbital first stage will be another in-house design, not a converted airliner or the stratolaunch carrier.

Which kind of makes sense because their current development efforts are focused on a reusable sub-orbital rocket-plane. Which has a flight profile close to what would be needed for a HTHL RLV first stage. Imagine something similar to Lynx, only 10 or 20 times more massive, carrying a much smaller, orbital rocketplane.

If they can deploy their orbital vehicle at 50 km and 1000 m/s, a single stage with vacuum optimised engines needs a MR of about 7 using kerolox, or 4.5 using hydrolox. Less than half what a SSTO needs.

It's quite interesting how Scaled, and now XCOR, have shown that a Mach 4, sub-orbital rocketplane doesn't have to look like the X-15 or the XB-70, and doesn't have to cost billions to develop. Climbing high, before going fast, provides a much gentler environment.  IIRC, SS1, although doing more than Mach 3, never exceeded 190 kts IAS.
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: FutureSpaceTourist on 04/14/2013 10:07 am
it sounds like the XCOR orbital first stage will be another in-house design, not a converted airliner or the stratolaunch carrier.

But people at Jeff's SA'13 talk, eg Clark Lindsey (http://www.newspacewatch.com/articles/space-access03913-sat-morning-part-2.html), have reported that Jeff said they would not be doing a bespoke aircraft and would be buying a commercial one instead. I suspect XCOR just don't have the resources to develop a large carrier aircraft.
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: Galactic Penguin SST on 04/14/2013 10:32 am
Am I the only one who is pessimistic at the sudden surge in the number of start-ups trying to get a air-launch or land-based cubesat launcher? (LauncherOne, Stratorlaunch, this one by Lynx, IIRC Amarillo and Masten are working something too?) It seems that the number of customers hasn't really risen that much for the past few years, and they needs to fight against the position for secondary payloads. Are they really believing that they can lower the launch costs by a large factor?  ???

I guess Lynx would put this project on the back-burner until they got their plane pass the von Karman line.....
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: QuantumG on 04/14/2013 10:52 am
Don't worry about the market getting crowded.. that requires the vehicles to actually fly :)

Here's hoping Lynx does soon.
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: FutureSpaceTourist on 04/14/2013 11:11 am
QuantumG is right! And yes they do believe they will reduce costs by an order of magnitude or more. As to whether that will actually increase demand significantly no one knows. I think it will, in time, but as even Elon Musk says it's an act of faith at the moment.
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: yg1968 on 04/14/2013 11:21 am
To be clear, he meant that he intends XCOR to buy a carrier aircraft, not that they are selling carrier aircraft.

Also, the LH2 adds one shift (6-8 hours) to the turnaround, but helps a lot of other things.

1- Clark Lindsey summarized it this way:
Quote
Carrier aircraft plus two rocket powered reusable stages
Not a purpose-built carrier
http://www.newspacewatch.com/articles/space-access03913-sat-morning-part-2.html

2- Jeff Foust tweeted this:
Quote
Greason: orbital system would use an existing aircraft (not custom-built); both rocket-powered stages would be reusable.
https://twitter.com/jeff_foust/status/323148686907568129

Both of which confirms your understanding.
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: yg1968 on 04/14/2013 11:39 am
Here is a couple of interesting quotes from Greason from his Space Access presentation:
Quote
Greason: market studies of markets that don't exist yet are, if you're lucky, worth the paper they're printed on.
https://twitter.com/jeff_foust/status/323147978674163712

Quote
Greason: Not going to get low operations costs by studying, you have to actually fly.
https://twitter.com/spacecom/status/323139711562559488
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: simonbp on 04/14/2013 04:49 pm
Both of which confirms your understanding.

Jeff was in the row ahead of me, Clark I believe behind.

Don't expect too much from the orbital project until a) Lynx is flying regularly and b) the move to Midland is finished. Both need to happen before XCOR is willing to spend real effort on a new development project.
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: Robotbeat on 04/14/2013 06:10 pm
Cubesat market has grown significantly and continually, so I do think there is some possibility for cubesat launcher market. but will never ever account for a significant amount of mass, which is fine. But it is a stepping stone to larger goals.

And many of these projects are NOT new, even if you're just now hearing about them.
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: blazotron on 04/14/2013 08:52 pm
From your link:  What does the part I underlined mean?

"For example, by using lower wing loading, he sacrificed some weight and speed, but was able to design a vehicle that did not need the Space Shuttle’s heavy, fragile, and expensive heat protection tiles for re-entry."   

He means the ratio of vehicle weight to wing area was lower, which tends to reduce peak heat flux for reentry vehicles.  It is notable, however, that for a winged vehicle, the leading edges suffer the harshest environment during entry and reducing wing loading doesn't help all that much.  Thus, the wing leading edges would still need advanced protective materials at the very least.
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: kkattula on 04/14/2013 10:01 pm
From your link:  What does the part I underlined mean?

"For example, by using lower wing loading, he sacrificed some weight and speed, but was able to design a vehicle that did not need the Space Shuttle’s heavy, fragile, and expensive heat protection tiles for re-entry."   

He means the ratio of vehicle weight to wing area was lower, which tends to reduce peak heat flux for reentry vehicles.  It is notable, however, that for a winged vehicle, the leading edges suffer the harshest environment during entry and reducing wing loading doesn't help all that much.  Thus, the wing leading edges would still need advanced protective materials at the very least.

Or use a very wide chord wing, with the ultimate evolution of that being a lifting body.
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: docmordrid on 04/14/2013 10:13 pm
From your link:  What does the part I underlined mean?

"For example, by using lower wing loading, he sacrificed some weight and speed, but was able to design a vehicle that did not need the Space Shuttle’s heavy, fragile, and expensive heat protection tiles for re-entry."   

He means the ratio of vehicle weight to wing area was lower, which tends to reduce peak heat flux for reentry vehicles.  It is notable, however, that for a winged vehicle, the leading edges suffer the harshest environment during entry and reducing wing loading doesn't help all that much.  Thus, the wing leading edges would still need advanced protective materials at the very least.

Or use a very wide chord wing, with the ultimate evolution of that being a lifting body.

Which is already well along at Sierra Nevada with Dream Chaser. This could get interesting.
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: yg1968 on 04/14/2013 10:48 pm
It's possible that both rocket powered stages will fly back and land on a runway. In the aero video, Greason mentions that there is 2 options that they are considering. One is a huge carriercraft (probably similar to Sratolaunch) and the other is one with smaller components.  It seems that they opted for the second approach.

There is also this 2012 interview by Andrew Nelson on Xcor's orbital plans. He says that they will continue with the space plane design for their orbital plans (at the 5 minute mark):
http://moonandback.com/2012/12/05/andrew-nelson-xcors-orbital-plans-moonandback-interview/
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: FutureSpaceTourist on 04/14/2013 11:09 pm
It seems that they opted for the second approach.

I thought that too at first. But looking at the orbital spaceplane that DeLong was involved with at Teledyne that used a 747 as the carrier aircraft. If (and I appreciate it's a big if, without any more details) XCOR are thinking of going that route then I'm not sure I'd classify it as small! It could be (relatively) cheap though given that you could buy a used 747 for rather less than I'd imagine it would cost to develop a new large carrier.
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: yg1968 on 04/14/2013 11:12 pm
It seems that they opted for the second approach.

I thought that too at first. But looking at the orbital spaceplane that DeLong was involved with at Teledyne that used a 747 as the carrier aircraft. If (and I appreciate it's a big if, without any more details) XCOR are thinking of going that route then I'm not sure I'd classify it as small! It could be (relatively) cheap though given that you could buy a used 747 for rather less than I'd imagine it would cost to develop a new large carrier.

It's small compared to the Stratolaunch aircraft.
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: QuantumG on 04/15/2013 12:26 am
How about in-air assembly? ;)
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: FutureSpaceTourist on 04/15/2013 12:56 am
How about in-air assembly? ;)

But JP Aerospace are doing that for their 3rd stage in the airship-to-orbit programme. I think XCOR want to be different :)
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: simonbp on 04/15/2013 01:55 am
Both stages are reusable, Greason was clear on that. I would presume they are winged, but that's just speculation.
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: Robert Thompson on 04/19/2013 08:18 am
http://www.parabolicarc.com/2013/04/18/the-weather-channel-visits-the-xcor-hangar-in-mojave/
I find that Greason is the Ben Franklin of new space.
http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/authors/b/benjamin_franklin.html
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: Moe Grills on 04/19/2013 08:00 pm
http://www.parabolicarc.com/2013/04/18/the-weather-channel-visits-the-xcor-hangar-in-mojave/
I find that Greason is the Ben Franklin of new space.
http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/authors/b/benjamin_franklin.html

 I'm going to make a lot of people here angry with my comments, but I don't care.

 I'm very disappointed in the video from WC.
Yes, I'm delighted to see actual gritty work and hardware (PIECES)
being cut, assembled, etc.
(I've actually worked in a machine shop, unlike may of you).
But no actual Lynx fuselage to be seen.
Mr. Greason's claim that it will fly before the end of the year is...
comparable to what beef cattle leave on the field; you know what I mean?

  OTOH, in contrast, I'm delighted to see real progress with Scaled Composites' SS2, which may be only hours or a couple of days away from
actual powered flight.
SS2 will leave Lynx in the dust. How's them apples?
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: Robert Thompson on 04/20/2013 05:00 am
My inference was to frugality and clever, compact invention. Self-propulsion, commercial availability of kerosene and liquid oxygen, fast turnaround times, low overhead, large habitat, small external payload option.
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: Space OurSoul on 04/20/2013 11:36 pm
It occurs to me that NASA has a 747 they're not using any more with hard-points already attached to the top.

That probably doesn't count as an "aircraft you can buy", though.


I'll put my 10$ on a DC10 with an REL SCIMITAR in the vertical stabilizer :-)

Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: yg1968 on 04/21/2013 12:08 am
We kind of suspected it already (based on prior articles) but this summary says that both stages of the XCOR reusable orbital system will come back for a horizontal landing.

Quote
-He also gave a brief outline of the fully reusable orbital system that he has occasionally  mentioned over the years as their long term goal.
-They are confident that the design now closes
-Base on air launch of a two stage rocket vehicle.
-No details on the carrier aircraft
-Both stages return for horizontal landing
-Aiming for $1M per person cost to LEO

http://www.newspacewatch.com/articles/space-access03913-summary-and-resources.html
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: FutureSpaceTourist on 04/21/2013 12:22 am
I'm assuming 'both stages' in this context means both rocket stages? If so then all three system stages (including the carrier aircraft) land horizontally.
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: yg1968 on 04/21/2013 12:53 am
http://www.parabolicarc.com/2013/04/18/the-weather-channel-visits-the-xcor-hangar-in-mojave/

Greason says that they expect to fly the bird within the next 6 months. They are getting closer.
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: savuporo on 04/21/2013 01:01 am
..the XCOR reusable orbital system will come back for a horizontal landing..
My favorite kind of newspace companies are the ones that show a lot of results before talking big ambitions. I hope XCOR will stay in that category.
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: QuantumG on 04/21/2013 01:02 am
Can we have a new thread for the XCOR orbital talk?

It's polluting this one.
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: Lars_J on 04/21/2013 06:47 am
http://www.parabolicarc.com/2013/04/18/the-weather-channel-visits-the-xcor-hangar-in-mojave/

Greason says that they expect to fly the bird within the next 6 months. They are getting closer.

Haven't they been roughly 6 months away from flight for a while now?
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: FutureSpaceTourist on 04/21/2013 07:38 am
Haven't they been roughly 6 months away from flight for a while now?

Yes! Like Virgin Galactic XCOR have been discovering that things take a lot longer than they thought. XCOR have changed their wing supplier so maybe part of the delay is due to supplier issues?
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: QuantumG on 04/21/2013 08:23 am
Haven't they been roughly 6 months away from flight for a while now?

They've refused to say for years how far they are away from starting test flights. I believe it was early last year that they finally gave any sort of schedule, and it was specifically "a hope, not a promise". Then they had the cockpit supplier issue. Then the wing supplier issue. They're running into the same problems as SpaceX: this industry is full of half-baked suppliers that make promises but can't deliver. If XCOR end up having to vertically integrate, it'll be years more of delays, as they simply don't have a lot of money to throw at the problem.

Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: Chris Bergin on 04/23/2013 09:30 pm
Moving this thread back live. There's no chance I can edit in a split thread with all those links, or I'll be here all day.

So, if we need a second thread, start one.
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: yg1968 on 04/24/2013 12:42 am
Update:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hUZ7PzRHBXw&feature=player_embedded
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: QuantumG on 04/24/2013 12:54 am
Jeff is looking good, much healthier than he did during Augustine.
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: jongoff on 04/24/2013 01:58 am
Jeff is looking good, much healthier than he did during Augustine.

He was under a lot of stress then. Trying to run a bootstrapped startup while simultaneously participating in what he was hoping was a panel that could be a turning point for the industry wasn't easy. Unfortunately for him, he'll probably end up having to do another such panel a few years in the future, because Congress and the White House both ignored most of A-Com's useful advice (it didn't help that A-com ignored the "bring us only suggestions that fit within the budget" advice).

Jeff gets mildly annoyed with me every time I suggest that there's going to be a Greason Commission one of these days...

~Jon
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: FutureSpaceTourist on 04/24/2013 02:52 am
Moving this thread back live. There's no chance I can edit in a split thread with all those links, or I'll be here all day.

So, if we need a second thread, start one.

Great, many thanks Chris.

I've created a new XCOR orbital system thread: http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=31741.0 (http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=31741.0).

Although discussion of Jeff Greason's SA'13 talk has died down, I've no doubt that there'll be a lot more to say about XCOR's orbital plans in the future.
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: FutureSpaceTourist on 04/24/2013 03:12 am
Michael Belfiore has a new blog article about a visit to XCOR: http://michaelbelfiore.com/2013/04/booming-along-with-xcor-aerospace.html (http://michaelbelfiore.com/2013/04/booming-along-with-xcor-aerospace.html)

There's a nice picture (attached) of him doing a static fire test of one of Lynx's RCS engines.

I was particularly struck by this comment of Michael's:

Quote
The blast shield around the engine is made of two layers of bullet-proof glass—just in case. It may never be needed, however. In XCOR’s 14-year history, during which it has had 4,000-plus engine firings, an XCOR engine has never had what is euphemistically termed in the rocket business a hard start.
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: deltaV on 04/24/2013 03:29 am
I'm surprised they aren't wearing safety googles.
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: savuporo on 04/24/2013 04:07 am
Quote
ULA Work

Developing new engine for ULA
Replacement for the RL-10 engine used on Delta IV and Atlas V
Work is going very well

I didnt know that. Piston pumped ??
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: QuantumG on 04/24/2013 04:11 am
Quote
ULA Work

Developing new engine for ULA
Replacement for the RL-10 engine used on Delta IV and Atlas V
Work is going very well

I didnt know that. Piston pumped ??

Announced in 2010..

http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=21916.0

Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: jongoff on 04/24/2013 04:47 am
Quote
ULA Work

Developing new engine for ULA
Replacement for the RL-10 engine used on Delta IV and Atlas V
Work is going very well

I didnt know that. Piston pumped ??

Yes.

~Jon
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: jongoff on 05/13/2013 06:32 pm
http://reason.com/blog/2013/05/13/attn-la-reasonoids-brian-doherty-talks-w

Looks like Doug Jones will be talking about Lynx with Brian Doherty of Reason.com this Thursday.

~Jon
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: yg1968 on 05/18/2013 03:20 pm
http://reason.com/blog/2013/05/13/attn-la-reasonoids-brian-doherty-talks-w

Looks like Doug Jones will be talking about Lynx with Brian Doherty of Reason.com this Thursday.

~Jon

Here is the video of the interview:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=7UqRPKqCS2s
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: FutureSpaceTourist on 05/18/2013 06:46 pm
Here is the video of the interview:

Nice interview, thanks for posting.

I particularly liked the bit about the first Merlin testing SpaceX did using XCOR's facilities as SpaceX didn't have any at the time!
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: jongoff on 05/18/2013 07:58 pm
Here is the video of the interview:

Nice interview, thanks for posting.

I particularly liked the bit about the first Merlin testing SpaceX did using XCOR's facilities as SpaceX didn't have any at the time!

I also liked the bit about how they're talking with Masten about buying some valves from them.

~Jon
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: Lar on 05/18/2013 08:36 pm
Here is the video of the interview:

Nice interview, thanks for posting.

I particularly liked the bit about the first Merlin testing SpaceX did using XCOR's facilities as SpaceX didn't have any at the time!

That and the "we priced for a tidy profit even after the pricewar when new entrants come in" :)

Oh, and QG is so right about the Zubrin jab. :)
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: QuantumG on 05/19/2013 12:26 am
The Zubrin jab was gold.
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: Robert Thompson on 05/20/2013 05:11 am
Interviewer didn't follow up on the orbital system, perhaps by prior agreement.
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: QuantumG on 05/20/2013 05:48 am
I think that suggests a level of organization which wasn't apparent in the production of that video :)
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: Robert Thompson on 05/20/2013 02:08 pm
One thing I noticed about 8:10. By using high school AV club they are deconstructing vertical integration and thereby leveraging specialization.

Based on that leading edge top temperature thing, I'm curious how up scalable the basic Lynx design is. I.e., how large could it get before it was competing in the same experience-space as VG? (I assume out of hand that piston pumps are not going to get a winged vehicle to actual orbit.)
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: Lar on 05/20/2013 03:57 pm
(I assume out of hand that piston pumps are not going to get a winged vehicle to actual orbit.)

Why? It might be harder, sure, but why out of hand?
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: FutureSpaceTourist on 05/20/2013 05:57 pm
 IIRC XCOR have said that they think piston pumps are effective upto about 100,000lbs thrust. So on that basis no reason they couldn't be used in combination for an orbital LV.
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: sublimemarsupial on 05/20/2013 07:03 pm
IIRC XCOR have said that they think piston pumps are effective upto about 100,000lbs thrust. So on that basis no reason they couldn't be used in combination for an orbital LV.

I believe the statement was that piston pumps are only effective for a single  engine of less than 100,000 lbf. No reason that you couldn't have several engines, each driven by their own piston pump, in a cluster.
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: Robotbeat on 05/20/2013 07:35 pm
(I assume out of hand that piston pumps are not going to get a winged vehicle to actual orbit.)

Why? It might be harder, sure, but why out of hand?
A pretty ridiculous statement to be sure! XCOR is building the pumps because they believe they are a superior way to accomplish their goal of inexpensive, rapid-turnaround, robust orbital travel.
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: Robert Thompson on 05/21/2013 03:26 am
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lynx_%28spacecraft%29

"The successor to the Mark II is planned to be a two stage fully reusable orbital vehicle that takes off and lands horizontally.[26]"

(I've known about the XCOR 2 stage since I talked to Rick Searfoss at a SpaceFest 3 in 2011.) My context was upscaleable Lynx, single-frame, single-stage, winged, horizontal takeoff and landing.

I assume out of hand that piston pumps are not going to get a single-frame, single-stage, winged, horizontal takeoff and landing vehicle to actual LEO, for unspecified duration, and then return, through aerodynamic loads analogous to what destroyed Columbia, with analogous thermal protection mass.

Else, why would XCOR be planning two stage.
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: dcporter on 05/21/2013 03:38 am
I'm having trouble picturing a multistage thing that takes off horizontally. How's that work?
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: docmordrid on 05/21/2013 03:50 am
Stage 1 is a horizontally launched flyback 'mothership' booster. Stage 2 incorporates the upper stage and spacecraft. Look up Blackstar.

http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blackstar_(spacecraft)
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: HMXHMX on 05/21/2013 04:43 am
Stage 1 is a horizontally launched flyback 'mothership' booster. Stage 2 incorporates the upper stage and spacecraft. Look up Blackstar.

http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blackstar_(spacecraft)

At Space Access 2013, Jeff Greason said two rocket stages launched from a carrier subsonic aircraft with a $1M/passenger price target.
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: Lar on 05/21/2013 04:47 am
I believe the statement was that piston pumps are only effective for a single  engine of less than 100,000 lbf. No reason that you couldn't have several engines, each driven by their own piston pump, in a cluster.

A rocket with multiple engines in the first stage??? That's crazy talk.   ;D

"everybody knows" that turbine pumps are the way to go.
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: Robert Thompson on 05/21/2013 05:28 am
http://www.xcor.com/products/vehicles/frequent_flyer_and_teledyne_brown_spaceplane.html
Previous Vehicle Design by Dan DeLong

http://www.thelivingmoon.com/45jack_files/03files/Blackstar_Spaceplane.html
(Text Weather Warning: slight chance of tin hat)
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: FutureSpaceTourist on 05/21/2013 05:41 am
There's a separate thread for discussion of XCOR's orbital plans:

http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=31741.0 (http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=31741.0)

It was split off when this thread became too cluttered.
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: simonbp on 05/21/2013 05:43 am
Yes, my impression from being in the audience at Space Access (and hurriedly taking notes), was that it was a standard carrier aircraft (don't think he explicitly said subsonic, but it was implied), and two liquid-fuel, winged stages. The second stage will be hydrogen/oxygen, though he did not mention the first stage's propellant.

The first stage of this orbital vehicle is likely the most similar to Lynx, and may be a direct evolution.
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: Robotbeat on 05/21/2013 07:33 pm
Stage 1 is a horizontally launched flyback 'mothership' booster. Stage 2 incorporates the upper stage and spacecraft. Look up Blackstar.

http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blackstar_(spacecraft)

At Space Access 2013, Jeff Greason said two rocket stages launched from a carrier subsonic aircraft with a $1M/passenger price target.
When (if) Stratolaunch goes under after building the carrier craft, XCOR may be able to get it for cheap...
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: Lar on 05/21/2013 07:56 pm
At Space Access 2013, Jeff Greason said two rocket stages launched from a carrier subsonic aircraft with a $1M/passenger price target.
When (if) Stratolaunch goes under after building the carrier craft, XCOR may be able to get it for cheap...

Would they want a one-off vehicle from a firm no longer in business?
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: Robotbeat on 05/21/2013 09:08 pm
At Space Access 2013, Jeff Greason said two rocket stages launched from a carrier subsonic aircraft with a $1M/passenger price target.
When (if) Stratolaunch goes under after building the carrier craft, XCOR may be able to get it for cheap...

Would they want a one-off vehicle from a firm no longer in business?
Valid point. But they could possibly buy all the assets for very cheap, including what they used to build that one vehicle.

Anyway, I sort of doubt it will happen that way. XCOR I think is leaning in the direction of using a more standard aircraft.
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: Robert Thompson on 05/22/2013 03:31 am
http://newspacewatch.com/articles/space-tech-expo-day-1.html
Greason Tweets from Space Tech Expo relevant to XCOR

Edit: Per correction by QG.
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: QuantumG on 05/22/2013 03:37 am
http://newspacewatch.com/articles/space-tech-expo-day-1.html
Greason tweets from Space Tech Expo

Where? Do you mean the Andrew Nelson quotes by Jeff Foust?
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: FutureSpaceTourist on 05/22/2013 05:16 am
275 seats sold is quite a bit higher than the last number I'd heard. I'm glad that they're making steady progress on sales as well as Lynx.
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: jongoff on 05/22/2013 03:43 pm
275 seats sold is quite a bit higher than the last number I'd heard. I'm glad that they're making steady progress on sales as well as Lynx.

Yeah, while I'm doubtful that that number represents tickets that have been 100% paid for, that represents potential for almost $27M, which is, I think, more than the actual direct investment they've raised to develop Lynx (at least MkI and possibly MkII). I was already cautiously optimistic that my friends at XCOR would be profitable, this increases my hopes.

Now they just need to get flying so they can start filling those orders (same can be said for VG, Masten, and SpaceX of course)...  :-)

~Jon
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: Robert Thompson on 05/31/2013 01:09 am
http://news.investors.com/technology/052913-657949-virgin-galactic-xcor-in-new-space-race.htm
"XCOR Aerospace's Chief Operating Officer Andrew Nelson ... According to Nelson, XCOR and Virgin have about 100 customers that plan to fly on both vehicles, because each ride offers slightly different experiences. XCOR's Lynx craft seats two — the pilot and passenger — giving customers a cockpit view of space. Virgin's aircraft seats eight, two pilots and six passengers."
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: Elmar Moelzer on 05/31/2013 05:35 pm
I think VG is a bit ahead of the game, but I love the Lynx and XCOR. Some competition between the two certainly makes things more exciting.
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: jongoff on 05/31/2013 05:42 pm
I think VG is a bit ahead of the game, but I love the Lynx and XCOR. Some competition between the two certainly makes things more exciting.

While VG's delays definitely gave XCOR (and others) an opportunity to catch up and beat them to a suborbital capability, it looks like XCOR wasn't able to get it's funding situation in order fast enough. It would be exciting though if both XCOR and VG were flying by the end of next year.

~Jon
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: Elmar Moelzer on 05/31/2013 06:08 pm
I thought VG was meant to fly by the end of THIS year...
XCOR, is indeed a bit behind, mainly due to the pescy funding problems...
I like the idea of the Lynx taking off from a runway on its own instead of requiring a carrier plane. I still think that the Xerus was cooler looking though.
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: Robert Thompson on 05/31/2013 06:24 pm
I still think that the Xerus was cooler looking though.
Xerus looks like a Air Force advanced fighter. Is Lynx missing any performance that Xerus had?
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: FutureSpaceTourist on 05/31/2013 08:13 pm
Is Lynx missing any performance that Xerus had?

I don't believe so in terms of altitude, but Xerus was bigger and carried more people (eg to meet X-prize three people requirements). Much better that XCOR starts with something smaller like Lynx.
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: Elmar Moelzer on 06/01/2013 03:29 am
Another difference was that in the Xerus people were sitting behind each other, while in the Lynx pilot and passenger sit next to each other, giving the passenger a better view. So from a business perspective the Lynx should be more attractive to clients. The Xerus just looked a bit slicker, as Hernalt says, like an airforce fighter.
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: Lars_J on 06/01/2013 03:59 pm
I think VG is a bit ahead of the game, but I love the Lynx and XCOR. Some competition between the two certainly makes things more exciting.

While VG's delays definitely gave XCOR (and others) an opportunity to catch up and beat them to a suborbital capability, it looks like XCOR wasn't able to get it's funding situation in order fast enough. It would be exciting though if both XCOR and VG were flying by the end of next year.

~Jon

It would be - but until we see any clues to a completed aircraft somewhere, I'm not betting on XCOR flying anytime soon. I have yet to see anything but crude mock ups - but then again they could be very secretive.
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: QuantumG on 06/02/2013 12:04 am
It would be - but until we see any clues to a completed aircraft somewhere, I'm not betting on XCOR flying anytime soon. I have yet to see anything but crude mock ups - but then again they could be very secretive.

No-one cares about your predictions. It'll fly when it's ready.
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: Lars_J on 06/02/2013 04:57 am
It would be - but until we see any clues to a completed aircraft somewhere, I'm not betting on XCOR flying anytime soon. I have yet to see anything but crude mock ups - but then again they could be very secretive.

No-one cares about your predictions.

At least you cared enough to reply to it, and that warms my heart.  ;)

It'll fly when it's ready.

Stop the presses!
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: QuantumG on 06/02/2013 05:02 am
At least you cared enough to reply to it, and that warms my heart.  ;)

I reply to John and Happy Martian too. Sorry to burst your bubble.

Quote
It'll fly when it's ready.

Stop the presses!

XCOR believe in careful management of public perception. Whenever people hear about XCOR their impression gets just a little more positive. Sometimes circumstances conspire to ruin what was otherwise a safe bet.. like last year when they thought they'd be starting flight testing by the end of the year, only to hit a delay with a contractor. Hopefully it won't happen again this year.
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: jongoff on 06/04/2013 01:35 am
I think VG is a bit ahead of the game, but I love the Lynx and XCOR. Some competition between the two certainly makes things more exciting.

While VG's delays definitely gave XCOR (and others) an opportunity to catch up and beat them to a suborbital capability, it looks like XCOR wasn't able to get it's funding situation in order fast enough. It would be exciting though if both XCOR and VG were flying by the end of next year.

~Jon

It would be - but until we see any clues to a completed aircraft somewhere, I'm not betting on XCOR flying anytime soon. I have yet to see anything but crude mock ups - but then again they could be very secretive.

I happened to see some of their airframe hardware several months back, while getting a tour of a composites shop they turned out to be using. I do agree though that from the time they start showing airplane-looking pictures to when they actually can start flying it will still likely be at least half a year (which is faster than Scaled's rule of thumb for how long it takes to go from something airplane-looking till first test flight).

~Jon
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: simonbp on 06/04/2013 03:58 am
The pictures Jeff Greason showed at Space Access were wing-like and fuselage-like, but not quite wings-on-fuselage. ;)

But yeah, it did sounds like structures were the longest tent pole at the moment.
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: FutureSpaceTourist on 06/04/2013 07:49 pm
XCOR have released a great Lynx cutaway image.
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: Elmar Moelzer on 06/04/2013 09:42 pm
Very cool!
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: Confusador on 06/05/2013 05:31 am
Jeff Foust and Doug Messier were both tweeting from the presentation at NSRC, here are some highlights:

Quote from: Doug Messier
Andrew Nelson, XCOR: Cockpit is nearing completion @ Adams Works. Be done end of June, early July Move forward w/ full integration #NSRC2013 (https://twitter.com/spacecom/status/341657920771092480)
Quote from: Jeff Foust
Nelson: making final touches on Lynx avionics; aerodynamics "done for now" (tweaks possible after flight tests start) #NSRC2013 (https://twitter.com/jeff_foust/status/341657349339090945)
Nelson: wing development project finishing up, final manufacturing cycle in 4-6 weeks.  Nose design complete, in manufacturing #NSRC2013 (https://twitter.com/jeff_foust/status/341658970374684673)

Hopefully one of them will have time to do a full writeup after the conference closes.
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: jongoff on 06/05/2013 12:55 pm
Jeff Foust and Doug Messier were both tweeting from the presentation at NSRC, here are some highlights:

Quote from: Doug Messier
Andrew Nelson, XCOR: Cockpit is nearing completion @ Adams Works. Be done end of June, early July Move forward w/ full integration #NSRC2013 (https://twitter.com/spacecom/status/341657920771092480)

I had a tour of AdamWorks earlier this year (or maybe it was late last fall, can't recall for sure), and saw them working on the cockpit pressure vessel at that point. It was a very sophisticated part (as you can kind of see from the cutaway picture above). Glad to hear they're making progress on the airframe. It'll be neat to see all the pieces coming together, and if they can get them together in time to start doing runway hops this year.

~Jon
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: jongoff on 06/05/2013 12:58 pm
Since NSRC was just 5 miles from my house this year, I was able to take my family to see the Lynx mockup before I went into the conference. Only mildly relevant, but fun pictures (to give a sense of scale of course!):

https://twitter.com/rocketrepreneur/status/342133052262195202
https://twitter.com/rocketrepreneur/status/342133563656916993
https://twitter.com/rocketrepreneur/status/342133861288923136
https://twitter.com/rocketrepreneur/status/342134211920142337

~Jon
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: Falcon H on 06/05/2013 03:10 pm
I still think that the Xerus was cooler looking though.
Xerus looks like a Air Force advanced fighter. Is Lynx missing any performance that Xerus had?
I e-mailed XCOR a few questions a while back, they told me that when they were proposing Xerus they were only working on the engines, and that's like trying to sell some one a car, but only showing them the wheels. Xerus was just to give people an idea of what XCOR's spacecraft (lynx) might look like. 
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: Garrett on 06/05/2013 08:45 pm
Since NSRC was just 5 miles from my house this year, I was able to take my family to see the Lynx mockup before I went into the conference. Only mildly relevant, but fun pictures (to give a sense of scale of course!):

https://twitter.com/rocketrepreneur/status/342133052262195202
https://twitter.com/rocketrepreneur/status/342133563656916993
https://twitter.com/rocketrepreneur/status/342133861288923136
https://twitter.com/rocketrepreneur/status/342134211920142337

~Jon
Very cool!
Looks quite roomy actually. Did it feel roomy? And what do you think the visibility will be like from inside?
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: Garrett on 07/02/2013 01:54 pm
XCOR Aerospace plans suborbital flights from KSC by 2015
Todd Halvorson, FLORIDA TODAY, Jun. 28, 2013
http://www.floridatoday.com/article/20130628/NEWS01/130628009/XCOR-Aerospace-plans-suborbital-flights-from-KSC-by-2015
Quote
A fledgling space tourism company intends to begin flying suborbital test flights out of Kennedy Space Center by 2015, officials announced today

Also:
Suborbit flights to take off, land at Kennedy Space Center
Greg Pallone, Bay News 9, July 01, 2013
http://www.baynews9.com/content/news/baynews9/news/article.html/.../sub_orbit_flights_to.html (http://www.baynews9.com/content/news/baynews9/news/article.html/content/news/articles/cfn/2013/6/30/sub_orbit_flights_to.html)
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: fatjohn1408 on 08/20/2013 05:21 pm
XCOR Aerospace plans suborbital flights from KSC by 2015
Todd Halvorson, FLORIDA TODAY, Jun. 28, 2013
http://www.floridatoday.com/article/20130628/NEWS01/130628009/XCOR-Aerospace-plans-suborbital-flights-from-KSC-by-2015
Quote
A fledgling space tourism company intends to begin flying suborbital test flights out of Kennedy Space Center by 2015, officials announced today

Also:
Suborbit flights to take off, land at Kennedy Space Center
Greg Pallone, Bay News 9, July 01, 2013
http://www.baynews9.com/content/news/baynews9/news/article.html/.../sub_orbit_flights_to.html (http://www.baynews9.com/content/news/baynews9/news/article.html/content/news/articles/cfn/2013/6/30/sub_orbit_flights_to.html)


Doesn't this mean they have encountered extra delays? I thought I read recently 2014. Heck a long time ago they said 2011. It ain't rocket science you know.

Oh wait...

Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: Robotbeat on 08/20/2013 06:37 pm
They still will fly earlier than 2015 (according to XCOR), just not necessarily from Florida.
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: Lars_J on 08/20/2013 06:54 pm
They still will fly earlier than 2015 (according to XCOR), just not necessarily from Florida.

Are you sure? We have seen no flight test, and not even any runway roll tests with any test vehicle. (as far as I'm aware)
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: Robotbeat on 08/20/2013 07:02 pm
They still will fly earlier than 2015 (according to XCOR), just not necessarily from Florida.

Are you sure? We have seen no flight test, and not even any runway roll tests with any test vehicle. (as far as I'm aware)
That's a valid criticism, but the article is talking about Florida flights, not flights in Mojave.

The Lynx's airframe is what's taking so long. But I sort of doubt it will take until 2015 for test flights. We'll see some flights by 2014, maybe even some tests at the tail end of this year.
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: jongoff on 08/21/2013 08:37 pm
They still will fly earlier than 2015 (according to XCOR), just not necessarily from Florida.

Are you sure? We have seen no flight test, and not even any runway roll tests with any test vehicle. (as far as I'm aware)
That's a valid criticism, but the article is talking about Florida flights, not flights in Mojave.

The Lynx's airframe is what's taking so long. But I sort of doubt it will take until 2015 for test flights. We'll see some flights by 2014, maybe even some tests at the tail end of this year.

I hope you're right. The rule of thumb at Scaled was that from when you had an airplane-looking shell to when you were actually ready to fly typically took over a year. I'm definitely an XCOR fanboy, but I've been burned enough times by my overoptimism about their flight-test schedule that I'm not going to make guesses again until I see something that looks more like the final vehicle coming together. It would be sweet if they were into flight testing before Space Access next year, but I'm no longer trying to hold my breath...it'll happen when they're ready.

~Jon
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: jongoff on 09/04/2013 12:47 am
http://www.xcor.com/blog/?p=301

Looks like XCOR is starting a series where they're going to try and do a blog post every day about Lynx, including pictures of its construction and testing.

Pretty sweet. I probably need to do something similar for Altius.

~Jon
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: Lars_J on 09/04/2013 12:59 am
Exciting!
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: go4mars on 09/04/2013 01:01 am
http://www.xcor.com/blog/?p=301

Looks like XCOR is starting a series where they're going to try and do a blog post every day about Lynx, including pictures of its construction and testing.

Pretty sweet. I probably need to do something similar for Altius.

~Jon
If you do, please link through twitter with your headline.
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: spectre9 on 09/04/2013 02:37 pm
Awesome! Really looking forward to it.
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: QuantumG on 09/05/2013 10:03 pm
Wow.
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: dcporter on 09/06/2013 03:27 am
Wow.

Whoa.

Is that shape... useful?
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: Robotbeat on 09/06/2013 03:40 am
Wow.

Whoa.

Is that shape... useful?
Yes, of course. It's the result of careful wind tunnel and CFD testing efforts.

It's also qualitatively similar to the EZ Rocket plane XCOR has, built on the Long EZ platform.
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: Lars_J on 09/06/2013 05:27 am
It may have been tested using CFD, but it still looks like no other supersonic aircraft. The angled cockpit windows are strange, since the inferior cockpit pressure glass dome is rounded.
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: spectre9 on 09/06/2013 10:30 am
I think that's slightly different to concept art already out there.

The wings look to curve up more rather than just bend at right angles.
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: Star One on 09/10/2013 03:50 pm
Bob Geldof to be one of their passengers.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-24031979
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: Robert Thompson on 09/17/2013 05:42 am
http://www.space.com/22820-lynx-private-spaceship-jeff-greason.html

"We are very aware of the fact that not every pretty long-term promise comes true. XCOR is the only company in this arena that is run by engineers."
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: zaitcev on 09/21/2013 02:50 pm
The picture of the fuselage, unveiled on their blog a year and a half after its delivery, reminded me about one tiny observation. When the fuselage was delivered, it was called "flight-capable". It was on February 28, 2012. It's getting hard to find the original release, but it's there. However, very soon they corrected the record to "flight-weight" fuselage, as blogs captured their another presser about being "ready to integrate wings". That was as soon as in May. The conclusion I draw is that the fuselage was found to be unsuitable for actual flight and was demoted to a test article without actually mentioning it.
 http://www.scoop.it/t/new-space-a-new-era-in-space-exploration/p/1325375294/xcor-lynx-fuselage-delivered  (very bad site but can deliver 2/28/12 presser if you squeeze it)
 http://www.flightglobal.com/news/articles/xcor-lynx-fuselage-delivered-368903/ (quotes from release)
 http://www.xcor.com/blog/fuselage101/ (the picture of the sad, lonely fuselage)
 http://www.americaspace.com/?p=33402 (now "flight-weight")
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: Oli on 09/21/2013 04:51 pm
Quote
SPACE.com: What is the current status of the Lynx project?

JG: Man, I'd like to know when it's done.

Refreshing  :)

He says having only room for one passenger is an advantage, since its more private. I'd say part of the experience of suborbital flight is to float around in the cabin.
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: simonbp on 09/23/2013 09:27 pm
If you want to float, go talk to ZeroG. They'll hook you up for much cheaper than a Lynx flight.

Suborbital is all about the view, which is precisely what Lynx's passenger seat is designed for.
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: jongoff on 09/23/2013 09:58 pm
[Moderators: I can't remember if there was a separate thread for the XCOR/ULA RL-10 replacement work, so move it to the appropriate thread if it doesn't belong here, but this was pretty neat news]

http://www.xcor.com/press/2013/13-09-23_XCOR_ULA_announce_hydrogen_engine_milestone.html

XCOR Aerospace and United Launch Alliance Announce Important Milestone in Liquid Hydrogen Engine Program

XCOR hydrogen rocket piston pump
The XCOR Hydrogen piston pump

September 23, 2013, Mojave, California and Centennial, Colorado - XCOR Aerospace and United Launch Alliance announced significant progress today in the XCOR/ULA liquid hydrogen (LH2) engine development program.

“We are happy to announce that we have successfully operated our liquid hydrogen pump at full design flow rate and pressure conditions,” said XCOR Chief Executive Officer Jeff Greason. “This milestone builds on our earlier success with liquid oxygen and kerosene pumps, which have powered many of our hotfires.  Achieving this goal allows us to proceed with integrated testing of our liquid hydrogen demonstrator engine, fed by our liquid hydrogen and liquid oxygen piston pumps.  The ultimate goal is a far more cost-effective upper-stage engine for ULA and their customers.”

Conceived as a lower-cost, risk-managed program, the XCOR LH2 engine program is intended to produce a flight-ready cryogenic upper-stage engine in the 25,000 lbf thrust class with growth potential up to 50,000 lbf thrust or more.  When complete, it should cost significantly less to produce and be easier to operate than competing rocket engine technologies.

However, it isn’t just about thrust class. "Factors such as the extreme low temperature and small molecule size of liquid hydrogen present new technical challenges compared to liquid oxygen or kerosene,” said Greason. "Demonstrating our ability to safely pump this fluid at high flow rates and pressures, with relatively low mass is a significant engineering milestone that will deliver yet another line of innovation and business to XCOR."

“XCOR’s and ULA’s investment in this program should result in much lower cost and more capable commercial and government launch capabilities,” said XCOR Chief Operating Officer Andrew Nelson.  “By drawing from several hundred years of human experience in the development of piston machinery, XCOR seeks to dramatically increase reliability, reusability and long term manufacturability of rocket propellant pumps. The decrease in manufacturing and maintenance costs of XCOR’s rocket propellant pumps is at least an order of magnitude in volume production when compared to traditional rocket turbo machinery.”

With the completion of the flow rate and pressure tests, Nelson added, “We are proud to say that our collaboration with ULA has borne significant results.   This is a new application of time-tested principles that tangibly demonstrates we can produce an upper-stage cryogenic engine with similar or better performance than today’s state of the art, with long life, reusability and reliability at significantly less cost. And it is only taking place at XCOR.”

“Today’s milestone is further validation of the effort that we began with XCOR several years ago, leveraging more than a century of automotive industry insights to develop a truly new concept in engine design,” noted George Sowers, ULA's Vice President of Human Launch Services.  “These technology demonstrations have paved the way for ULA’s support of the liquid hydrogen engine program. We are beginning to see substantial results from ULA’s continued investment of time and resources in the ULA/XCOR hydrogen engine program and look forward to the next phase of development in this groundbreaking endeavor.”

#  #  #

About XCOR Aerospace:  XCOR Aerospace is based in Mojave, California.  It is currently starting the process to create a new Research and Development Center in Midland, Texas and an operational and manufacturing site at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. XCOR builds safe, reliable and reusable rocket-powered vehicles, propulsion systems, advanced non-flammable composites and rocket piston pumps. XCOR works with aerospace prime contractors and government customers on major propulsion systems, while also building Lynx.  Lynx is a piloted, two-seat, fully reusable liquid rocket-powered vehicle that takes-off and lands horizontally. The Lynx family of vehicles serves three primary missions depending on their specific type including: research & scientific missions, private spaceflight, and micro satellite launch (only on the Lynx Mark III). Lynx production models (designated Lynx Mark II) are designed to be robust, multi-mission (research / scientific or private spaceflight) commercial vehicles capable of flying to 100+ km in altitude up to four times per day. Lynx vehicles are available to customers in the free world on a wet lease basis to start their own manned space flight program. (www.xcor.com).

United Launch Alliance: ULA is a 50-50 joint venture owned by Lockheed Martin and The Boeing Company, and is the nation’s rocket company, bringing together two of the launch industry’s most experienced and successful teams – Atlas and Delta. ULA provides reliable, cost-efficient space launch services for the Department of Defense, NASA, the National Reconnaissance Office and other commercial organizations. ULA program management, engineering, test, and mission support functions are headquartered in Denver, Colo.  Manufacturing, assembly and integration operations are located at Decatur, Ala., and Harlingen, Texas. Launch operations are located at Cape Canaveral AFS, Fla., and Vandenberg AFB, Calif. For more information on ULA, visit the ULA Web site at www.ulalaunch.com, or call the ULA Launch Hotline at 1-877-ULA-4321 (852-4321). Join the conversation at www.facebook.com/ulalaunch and twitter.com/ulalaunch.
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: yg1968 on 09/24/2013 03:31 am
Good stuff! Very colourful pump!
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: go4mars on 09/24/2013 03:45 am
Is anyone able to add some arrows or annotations to that photo? 
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: QuantumG on 09/24/2013 04:33 am
As far as press releases go, yah?

I'm sure when ULA announces they're building, or better yet, flying an XCOR pump we'll all be more.. pumped.
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: Robotbeat on 09/24/2013 04:53 am
If/when this engine flies, it will be a huge deal. XCOR is dead-serious about rapid-turnaround, fully reusable orbital human spaceflight. They know how to make a highly reusable engine, let's see them do it!
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: QuantumG on 09/24/2013 04:56 am
If/when this engine flies, it will be a huge deal. XCOR is dead-serious about rapid-turnaround, fully reusable orbital human spaceflight. They know how to make a highly reusable engine, let's see them do it!

That won't be relevant to their deal with ULA, but yeah.

Lynx is gunna be one sweet hot rod.
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: Robotbeat on 09/24/2013 04:58 am
It is relevant. They're doing the smart thing by finding customers for the big parts they need for orbital flight. ULA really needs a better/cheaper RL-10, and XCOR knows how to help them. They also need a hydrolox engine for their orbital work.
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: QuantumG on 09/24/2013 05:00 am
Yes... but it's not relevant to ULA. They'll be throwing it away with every flight.

Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: guckyfan on 09/24/2013 06:15 am
I wonder about the "low mass" claim.

I do see how it would be reliable and relatively cheap to build for low to medium thrust engines. But can a piston engine/pump with its pistons, cylinders and non rotating masses be lightweight compared to turbines?

For reuse with very long life cycles it may be worth some weight increase though. Especially on orbital tugs with expected very long lifetime.

Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: jongoff on 09/24/2013 06:55 am
Yes... but it's not relevant to ULA. They'll be throwing it away with every flight.

Actually it's relevant in a not-so-obvious way. I had been talking with some ULAers a few years ago about this. One of the big challenges with an RL-10 replacement is that building up enough heritage with an expendable rocket engine that people are willing to trust $1B+ satellites on it is hard. The RL-10 was having its bugs wrung-out in parallel with flight development of Centaur and Atlas way back in the day. For a new engine that was completely replacing the flight-proven RL-10, they'd want a ton of flights and as much data as possible. A reusable RL-10 replacement from XCOR flown on a suborbital or orbital vehicle that happened to rack up a ton of flights would be *very* interesting to them. At the time they were so desperate for a way to rack up the mileage on some engines that they offered to build us a free Centaur stage if we could wrap it into some sort of reusable vehicle design that could realistically get them at least 20-50 flights worth of engine time on the engine. Don't know if that's still on offer though. :-)

~Jon
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: Garrett on 09/24/2013 02:09 pm
Thanks for that great explanation Jon! Very interesting indeed.

Makes me wonder if the biggest contribution the suborbital industry will make to the orbital/BEO industry will be what you just talked about, i.e. racking up hundreds/thousands of rocket flight hours (and the training of hundreds of rocket engineers ...)
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: jongoff on 09/24/2013 02:25 pm
Thanks for that great explanation Jon! Very interesting indeed.

Makes me wonder if the biggest contribution the suborbital industry will make to the orbital/BEO industry will be what you just talked about, i.e. racking up hundreds/thousands of rocket flight hours (and the training of hundreds of rocket engineers ...)

Yeah, I'm not sure. With how much longer it's taken for companies like XCOR and Masten to get to a critical mass of talent, technology, and money, it's not as clear what role they'll play. That said, I'm willing to bet that an RLV orbital stage built by XCOR will likely be a lot more maintainable and long-lived than a SpaceX stage, assuming XCOR gets to that point (fingers crossed). So maybe, if things pick up from here, they may also be lending experience with high flight-rate reusability.

~Jon
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: simonbp on 09/26/2013 04:32 am
Well, Greason did say that their eventual orbital vehicle's second stage would be both reusable and hydrogen powered, so presumably that's what he has in mind for this eventually. But getting ULA to pay for development and maybe buy some engines in the meantime doesn't hurt.

I wonder how much impulse a Lynx with a hydrogen engine would have... Probably not as much as the kerosene version, but maybe enough to rack up some flight hours.
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: RanulfC on 09/26/2013 07:46 pm
Got to be asked/wondered: The RL-10 has been run on cryo-propane, which when "chilled" store into about the same volume as RP-1 with a much better ISP. I wonder if everyone would consider using it instead of LH2 in order to fit into a smaller, less expensive hull?

Randy
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: BrightLight on 09/30/2013 04:26 pm
I don't know the weight of the piston pump or the weight of a full-up engine or the ISP but 25,000lbf of thrust ain't so bad (the XLR-99 was about 59,000lbf).  It might be useful to have a couple of them on a sub-orbital aircraft, say flying at Mach 10 and be able to fly it 10 times in 10 days.
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: Joel on 10/07/2013 04:54 pm
I didn't see this linked anywhere.


http://www.airspacemag.com/space-exploration/The-Lynxs-Leap-223968551.html
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: Joel on 10/07/2013 05:59 pm

If the first stage of the future orbital vehicle is HTHL, why not make it a three-stage-to-orbit architecture?


The first stage takes off flying west gaining altitude but not much speed. After staging, the first stage then glides back (eastward) to the launch site. The second stage, which is not lifting body, takes off towards the east and is sized so that it can land vertically at the launch site without any boost-back needed. The third stage continues to orbit.
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: sublimemarsupial on 10/07/2013 08:38 pm

If the first stage of the future orbital vehicle is HTHL, why not make it a three-stage-to-orbit architecture?


Isn't that exactly what XCOR is already planning? From the article: "Greason won’t say much about more about the orbital vehicle than that it is planned as two rocket-powered stages launched from a carrier aircraft"

3 stages, just the first one is air breathing.
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: Joel on 10/07/2013 08:47 pm
Isn't that exactly what XCOR is already planning? From the article: "Greason won’t say much about more about the orbital vehicle than that it is planned as two rocket-powered stages launched from a carrier aircraft"

3 stages, just the first one is air breathing.


Yeah, you're right. I misread that quote.
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: Garrett on 10/07/2013 09:13 pm
I didn't see this linked anywhere.
http://www.airspacemag.com/space-exploration/The-Lynxs-Leap-223968551.html

Good article. Some nice info about the RCS engines.
Quote
Twelve of these engines, designated 3N22, will go on the spaceship that’s coming together elsewhere on the shop floor. Six of them will give the pilot pitch, yaw, and roll control at the apex of the ship’s suborbital flight, outside the atmosphere, where aerodynamic flight controls have no effect. Six more are backups, there in case something goes wrong with any of the first six.
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: Lurker Steve on 10/07/2013 09:20 pm
Isn't that exactly what XCOR is already planning? From the article: "Greason won’t say much about more about the orbital vehicle than that it is planned as two rocket-powered stages launched from a carrier aircraft"

3 stages, just the first one is air breathing.


Yeah, you're right. I misread that quote.

I thought I read that sub-orbital Lynx starts out with a air breathing engine as well.
If they "launch" Lynx from a carrier aircraft, that would actually make 2 air breathing stages, right ?

Or they just drop the jet engine from Lynx, and increase the fuel for the rocket engine in Lynx, going back to a 2-stage launcher.
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: kch on 10/07/2013 10:04 pm

I thought I read that sub-orbital Lynx starts out with a air breathing engine as well.

Hmmm ... don't remember anything about a jet engine for Lynx ... don't see it here, either:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=36K3xECryNQ

 :)
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: Joel on 10/07/2013 11:07 pm
3 stages, just the first one is air breathing.


Does the "carrier aircraft" really need to be air breathing? Could it not simply be a scale-up of the Lynx?
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: sublimemarsupial on 10/07/2013 11:12 pm
3 stages, just the first one is air breathing.


Does the "carrier aircraft" really need to be air breathing? Could it not simply be a scale-up of the Lynx?

Suppose that it could be a scaled-up lynx, nothing to rule that out.  In my opinion, though, lynx is prototyping systems for the second and third stages, and the "carrier aircraft" is just that, a traditional air-breathing plane.
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: Robotbeat on 10/07/2013 11:12 pm
Isn't that exactly what XCOR is already planning? From the article: "Greason won’t say much about more about the orbital vehicle than that it is planned as two rocket-powered stages launched from a carrier aircraft"

3 stages, just the first one is air breathing.


Yeah, you're right. I misread that quote.

I thought I read that sub-orbital Lynx starts out with a air breathing engine as well.
If they "launch" Lynx from a carrier aircraft, that would actually make 2 air breathing stages, right ?

Or they just drop the jet engine from Lynx, and increase the fuel for the rocket engine in Lynx, going back to a 2-stage launcher.
They aren't going to launch Lynx from a carrier aircraft, and Lynx never had a jet engine.
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: a_langwich on 10/07/2013 11:12 pm

If the first stage of the future orbital vehicle is HTHL, why not make it a three-stage-to-orbit architecture?


Isn't that exactly what XCOR is already planning? From the article: "Greason won’t say much about more about the orbital vehicle than that it is planned as two rocket-powered stages launched from a carrier aircraft"

3 stages, just the first one is air breathing.

Wait...the article goes in great length to explain that they chose Lynx to take off under its own power from the ground in view of a future two-stage-to-orbit design, how their design choices were ultimately driven with orbital craft in mind, and how that's a very different approach to Spaceship Two which is air-launched...then it ends with a short paragraph stating their future orbital design will be air-launched from a carrier aircraft, exactly like SS2 and its proposed orbital extensions.  Did I miss something there? 

Does that represent a radical shift in direction, or did they spent a lot of time designing a craft to go from runway to the Karman line knowing that wouldn't be useful for the next design?

The observation that XCOR's engines and Scaled's airframes and Richard Branson's money and marketing skills would make a good combination is still very apt.  It's better for the industry to have multiple players, though, and hopefully both companies will complete these projects.
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: fatjohn1408 on 10/08/2013 08:24 am
3 stages, just the first one is air breathing.


Does the "carrier aircraft" really need to be air breathing? Could it not simply be a scale-up of the Lynx?

I hope you are right. Air breathing carriers do not give enough oomph in altitude and velocity and initial fligth path angle to make it worth it from a performance point of view IMO.
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: Lurker Steve on 10/08/2013 04:00 pm
Isn't that exactly what XCOR is already planning? From the article: "Greason won’t say much about more about the orbital vehicle than that it is planned as two rocket-powered stages launched from a carrier aircraft"

3 stages, just the first one is air breathing.


Yeah, you're right. I misread that quote.

I thought I read that sub-orbital Lynx starts out with a air breathing engine as well.
If they "launch" Lynx from a carrier aircraft, that would actually make 2 air breathing stages, right ?

Or they just drop the jet engine from Lynx, and increase the fuel for the rocket engine in Lynx, going back to a 2-stage launcher.
They aren't going to launch Lynx from a carrier aircraft, and Lynx never had a jet engine.

How does it take off from the ground (HTHL) if there isn't an air-breathing engine ??

Was this just bad reporting ?
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: bubbagret on 10/08/2013 04:09 pm
 Watch the video for the answer. http://youtu.be/4yaNvBecEac
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: zt on 10/08/2013 04:25 pm
Isn't that exactly what XCOR is already planning? From the article: "Greason won’t say much about more about the orbital vehicle than that it is planned as two rocket-powered stages launched from a carrier aircraft"

3 stages, just the first one is air breathing.


Yeah, you're right. I misread that quote.

I thought I read that sub-orbital Lynx starts out with a air breathing engine as well.
If they "launch" Lynx from a carrier aircraft, that would actually make 2 air breathing stages, right ?

Or they just drop the jet engine from Lynx, and increase the fuel for the rocket engine in Lynx, going back to a 2-stage launcher.
They aren't going to launch Lynx from a carrier aircraft, and Lynx never had a jet engine.

How does it take off from the ground (HTHL) if there isn't an air-breathing engine ??

Was this just bad reporting ?

Lynx is (and always was) a rocketplane. LOX onboard, no air intakes.

http://www.airspacemag.com/space-exploration/The-Lynxs-Leap-223968551.html?c=y&story=fullstory
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: Robotbeat on 10/08/2013 04:45 pm
3 stages, just the first one is air breathing.


Does the "carrier aircraft" really need to be air breathing? Could it not simply be a scale-up of the Lynx?

I hope you are right. Air breathing carriers do not give enough oomph in altitude and velocity and initial fligth path angle to make it worth it from a performance point of view IMO.
That isn't their greatest performance advantage. They increase initial Isp far higher than sea level.
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: baldusi on 10/08/2013 07:10 pm
What about it taking off towed by some other airplane? It would save a lot of LOX.
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: Joel on 10/08/2013 07:41 pm
What about it taking off towed by some other airplane? It would save a lot of LOX.

I can't see how it would save "a lot" of LOX.

I think that a rocketplane first stage and a two non-lifting body vacuum-optimized cross-feeding rocket stages would be pretty awesome. You would get a really great pmf and all stages could return to launch site (first stage after gliding, second stage without gliding and third stage after orbital alignment).
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: simonbp on 10/08/2013 08:11 pm
Not all aircraft are airplanes. If your goal is to lift something heavy to altitude, and you don't care about forward speed, a dirigible would seem to be the best option.
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: baldusi on 10/08/2013 08:33 pm
What about it taking off towed by some other airplane? It would save a lot of LOX.

I can't see how it would save "a lot" of LOX.

Well, I thought of propellent and wrote LOX. And LOX would clearly boil off, while RP-1 won't. But my guess was that if you could tow it to 700km/h, at 10km of altitude, and extended a bit the nozzles, that's 200m/s of speed, plus another 30m/s (WAG) of drag losses, plus some isp improvement of expansion ratio. But the more important issue is that if you want to go closer to the equator, you can do it for "cheap", isp wise, since you use atmospheric optimized engines.
The secret, of course, is only if you can use a stock passenger line or cargo aircraft that you can rent on a per mission and optional basis. Preferably one with a home base close to the normal launch site. In other words, I'm not proposing to base it on a towed architecture, just to have the option of enhancing the performance when the mission has a small negative margin, or to get to closer to the equator missions.
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: simonbp on 10/09/2013 08:35 pm
A commercial airliner will not be able to lift an orbital vehicle the size that Xcor is talking about. Even a C-5 can only lift 120 tonnes. They're going to need a bigger boat plane.
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: Joel on 10/09/2013 08:45 pm
A commercial airliner will not be able to lift an orbital vehicle the size that Xcor is talking about. Even a C-5 can only lift 120 tonnes. They're going to need a bigger boat plane.

If it's a glider, why lift it? Better tow it.

What about towing an orbital vehicle without fuel to an equatorial launch site (e.g. high in the Andes), fuel and take off from there?
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: fatjohn1408 on 10/10/2013 02:48 pm
3 stages, just the first one is air breathing.


Does the "carrier aircraft" really need to be air breathing? Could it not simply be a scale-up of the Lynx?

I hope you are right. Air breathing carriers do not give enough oomph in altitude and velocity and initial fligth path angle to make it worth it from a performance point of view IMO.
That isn't their greatest performance advantage. They increase initial Isp far higher than sea level.

That can be endlessly discussed and should not be done in this thread. However, I stand by my earlier position that I hope lynx does not go that way.
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: RanulfC on 10/10/2013 09:18 pm
A commercial airliner will not be able to lift an orbital vehicle the size that Xcor is talking about. Even a C-5 can only lift 120 tonnes. They're going to need a bigger boat plane.

Maybe, maybe not. Consider Dan Delong's previous work assumed a 747 sized carrier aircraft and it's lift has gotten better since then:
http://www.xcor.com/products/vehicles/frequent_flyer_and_teledyne_brown_spaceplane.html

Randy
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: Danderman on 10/14/2013 07:01 pm
Getting back to the Lynx, if I understand the concept correctly, it will lift off the runway, using standard jet engines, and then fire a rocket engine at altitude.

Does this mean the Lynx uses the jet engines for landing?
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: Lars_J on 10/14/2013 07:03 pm
Getting back to the Lynx, if I understand the concept correctly, it will lift off the runway, using standard jet engines, and then fire a rocket engine at altitude.

No - what could possibly give you that idea? Where?

Lynx has been 100% rocket powered from the beginning. Watch the video linked to in this post: http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=19033.msg1106835#msg1106835
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: Joel on 10/14/2013 07:32 pm


I think that there is a confusion between the XCOR's suborbital vehicle "Lynx", which is and has always been a single-stage rocket plane, and XCOR's future orbital vehicle.


According to http://www.airspacemag.com/space-exploration/The-Lynxs-Leap-223968551.html?c=y&story=fullstory, the future orbital vehicle consists of "two rocket-powered stages launched from a carrier aircraft", but that's not a direct quote. That carrier aircraft may or may not have jet engines.

Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: deltaV on 10/14/2013 08:49 pm
Does anyone know if XCOR has an exclusivity agreement with ULA banning XCOR from selling their LH2/LOX engine to anyone else?
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: jongoff on 11/07/2013 01:56 pm
I chatted with Jeff Greason yesterday, and it sounds like the subscale pump-fed LOX/LH2 demo engine they're doing with ULA is in the same size-range as the Lynx engines. It would be kind of neat to do a four engine mini-taur/mini-ACES. Also, I didn't realize, but apparently the 25klbf RL-10 replacement is high enough pressure compared to the 7500lbf LOX/Methane engine they were testing with ATK back in the day, that the chambers for the two are probably really close to the same size. Sounds like they're making a lot of progress on that front.

I'm just looking forward to seeing pictures of their first test firings. So many commercial space people are knee-jerk anti LOX/LH2, but it seems like XCOR feels they've found a way to tame the stuff at a much lower cost point than had previously been assumed possible.

~Jon
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: QuantumG on 11/07/2013 07:59 pm
How many of us feel about LOX/LH2 is how most of us felt about turbopumps before SpaceX came along.

Now the amateur community is doing turbopumps.. so who knows what the future will bring.

Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: jongoff on 11/19/2013 08:55 pm
I actually heard about this (from a source other than Jeff Greason) the same day I chatted with Jeff, but it looks like XCOR has now hot-fire tested their 2500lbf LOX/LH2 subscale engine:

http://www.xcor.com/press/2013/13-11-19_XCOR_ULA_announce_hydrogen_milestone.html

************

Hot Fire: XCOR Aerospace and United Launch Alliance Achieve Major Propulsion Milestone in Liquid Hydrogen Engine Program

Nov. 19, 2013, Mojave, CA and Centennial, CO - XCOR Aerospace and United Launch Alliance (ULA) announced a significant milestone today, the first successful hot fire of the subscale 2500 lbf thrust XR-5H25 engine in the XCOR and ULA liquid hydrogen (LH2) engine development program.

“The first hot fire of any engine is a major milestone but the first firing of a liquid hydrogen engine in our LH2 program is an even bigger accomplishment,” noted XCOR Chief Executive Officer Jeff Greason. “The hot fire of this engine moves us forward on a path to routine tests and further demonstration of fully reusable, high reliability rocket engines for which we are known.”

“XCOR’s ability to develop inexpensive, innovative and out-of-the-box solutions to some of the most challenging problems in modern cryogenic rocket engine technology was on display in Mojave,” said George Sowers, vice president of Strategic Architecture at ULA. “It was a great first set of engine runs and we look forward to seeing the engine and XCOR’s unique piston pumps integrated together in 2014.”

Conceived as a lower-cost, risk-managed approach, the goal of the XCOR/ULA LH2 engine program is to produce and operate a subscale demonstration engine.   This demonstrator will enable a future decision to pursue development of a flight-ready cryogenic upper-stage engine in the 25,000 lbf thrust class.  This technology has significant growth potential due to its unique thermodynamic cycle and piston pump. The larger thrust XCOR XR-8H21 LH2 engine should cost significantly less to produce and be much easier to operate than competing upper stage rocket engine technologies.

XCOR Chief Operating Officer Andrew Nelson said “I was very impressed with how our team dedicated itself to achieving a task that has not been accomplished in at least a quarter century, maybe more; the development of a new way to do liquid hydrogen rocket engines that fundamentally breaks current cost, reliability and operational models.  Even more than that, it will be the first piston-pump-fed LH2 rocket engine anywhere.”

The 5H25 engine is intended as a testbed, but could also be suitable for future in-space use on upper stages, earth departure stages, landers, and probes. Nelson added, “This is a significant leap forward in the hope to deliver yet another line of innovation and business to XCOR. And it is only taking place right here.”

#  #  #

About XCOR Aerospace:  XCOR Aerospace is based in Mojave, California.  It is currently starting the process to create a new Research and Development Center in Midland, Texas and an operational and manufacturing site at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. XCOR® builds safe, reliable and reusable rocket-powered vehicles, propulsion systems, advanced non-flammable composites and rocket piston pumps. XCOR works with aerospace prime contractors and government customers on major propulsion systems, while also building Lynx®.  Lynx is a piloted, two-seat, fully reusable liquid rocket-powered vehicle that takes-off and lands horizontally. The Lynx-family of vehicles serves three primary missions depending on their specific type including: research & scientific missions, private spaceflight, and micro satellite launch (only on the Lynx Mark III). Lynx production models (designated Lynx Mark II) are designed to be robust, multi-mission (research / scientific or private spaceflight) commercial vehicles capable of flying to 100+ km in altitude up to four times per day. Lynx vehicles are available to customers in the free world on a wet lease basis to start their own manned space flight program. (www.xcor.com).

United Launch Alliance: ULA is a 50-50 joint venture owned by Lockheed Martin and The Boeing Company, and is the nation’s rocket company, bringing together two of the launch industry’s most experienced and successful teams – Atlas and Delta. ULA provides reliable, cost-efficient space launch services for the Department of Defense, NASA, the National Reconnaissance Office and other commercial organizations. ULA program management, engineering, test, and mission support functions are headquartered in Denver, Colo.  Manufacturing, assembly and integration operations are located at Decatur, Ala., and Harlingen, Texas. Launch operations are located at Cape Canaveral AFS, Fla., and Vandenberg AFB, Calif. For more information on ULA, visit the ULA Web site at www.ulalaunch.com, or call the ULA Launch Hotline at 1-877-ULA-4321 (852-4321). Join the conversation at www.facebook.com/ulalaunch and twitter.com/ulalaunch.

************

My commentary:

I hope that when they're done integrating the pumps, and doing all the testing and tweaking for this 2500lbf subscale engine, that they wrap it into a fully-integrated flightweight engine. A good T/W, high Isp, 2500lbf, LOX/LH2 engine could be pretty interesting for a wide range of upper stage and in-space applications. Particularly small lunar landers, and propulsion for first-generation *fully* reusable orbital launch vehicles.

~Jon
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: jongoff on 11/19/2013 08:56 pm
Oh, I forgot my other comment: W00t! Congrats guys! This was awesome!

~Jon
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: baldusi on 11/19/2013 10:39 pm
Four of those on the  moon could have a T/W of 1 with a vehicle of 27tonnes of mass. Incidentally, that's a fully loaded Centaur plus 6tonnes. Congrats to XCOR.
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: go4mars on 11/19/2013 10:49 pm
Very exciting to see this milestone!  Good comment Jon, a commercial off the shelf would be great for many applications.  I hope XCOR has the contractual freedom to offer that!
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: billh on 11/19/2013 11:39 pm
Excellent!

Why isn't the exhaust blue?
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: sublimemarsupial on 11/20/2013 12:19 am
Excellent!

Why isn't the exhaust blue?

Was wondering that too. It looks much more like the RS-68 exhaust, which is redish due to the ablative nozzle, than the SSME, which is purely regenerative.
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: guckyfan on 11/20/2013 04:30 am
Excellent!

Why isn't the exhaust blue?

Was wondering that too. It looks much more like the RS-68 exhaust, which is redish due to the ablative nozzle, than the SSME, which is purely regenerative.

I had wondered the same. Maybe that's it. For an early test it may well be an ablative nozzle.

Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: jongoff on 11/20/2013 06:56 am
Excellent!

Why isn't the exhaust blue?

Was wondering that too. It looks much more like the RS-68 exhaust, which is redish due to the ablative nozzle, than the SSME, which is purely regenerative.

I had wondered the same. Maybe that's it. For an early test it may well be an ablative nozzle.

No, XCOR never uses ablative nozzles AFAIK. I'm not sure why the color, but it could be impurities in the LH2 or something. I'll ask.

~Jon
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: jongoff on 11/22/2013 03:05 am
I got busy and forgot to post this, but I asked Doug Jones about the yellow flame, and this is what he said:

Quote
We found photos of ESA Vulcain engines that run red-orange, and the emission spectrum of hydrogen has lines at 656, 486, 434, and 410 nm. (Balmer 3,4,5,6 according to Wiki.) The blend seems to give a mostly orange hue. Compare to a Vulcain plume:

http://www.dlr.de/dlr/en/desktopdefault.aspx/tabid-10259/315_read-218/#gallery/1286

Next run I'm going to set up a mirror so I can get a mark one eyeball view of the plume. I doubt if I'll get a sunburn from a short exposure to the UV.
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: Garrett on 11/22/2013 11:32 am
I got busy and forgot to post this, but I asked Doug Jones about the yellow flame, and this is what he said:

Quote
We found photos of ESA Vulcain engines that run red-orange, and the emission spectrum of hydrogen has lines at 656, 486, 434, and 410 nm. (Balmer 3,4,5,6 according to Wiki.) The blend seems to give a mostly orange hue. Compare to a Vulcain plume:

http://www.dlr.de/dlr/en/desktopdefault.aspx/tabid-10259/315_read-218/#gallery/1286

Next run I'm going to set up a mirror so I can get a mark one eyeball view of the plume. I doubt if I'll get a sunburn from a short exposure to the UV.
The UV exposure shouldn't be too dangerous, but he should wear a pair of clear safety glasses just in case. The extra millimeter or two of plastic should reduce the UV exposure to his eyes quite a lot, without reducing the visible light view. Or he could set up a very thick plexiglass window in between him and the mirror.

Richard Feynman famously looked directly at a nuclear explosion during the Manhattan project by viewing it through a car window.
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: deltaV on 11/22/2013 01:18 pm
So why aren't SSME and RL-10 exhausts orange too? A difference in exhaust temperature perhaps?
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: Nomadd on 11/22/2013 02:37 pm
 I would expect them to start out fuel rich and work their way up, if only to keep temps down in the early tests.
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: Step55 on 11/22/2013 02:49 pm
I would expect them to start out fuel rich and work their way up, if only to keep temps down in the early tests.

Agree

Couple of random photos of H2/LOX engines firing during development.

Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: john smith 19 on 11/23/2013 03:02 pm
Oh, I forgot my other comment: W00t! Congrats guys! This was awesome!
Very impressive.  :)

Have they mentioned if the full scale unit would be single chamber or a cluster of these units?

I'm also curious if you they lose much Isp due to a combustion cycle, rather than tapping the main chamber cooling jacket for pump drive like the RL10.
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: jongoff on 11/23/2013 05:33 pm
Oh, I forgot my other comment: W00t! Congrats guys! This was awesome!
Very impressive.  :)

Have they mentioned if the full scale unit would be single chamber or a cluster of these units?

Definitely one bigger chamber for the 25klbf class unit. It turns out their 7500lbf LOX/Methane engine they did was about the right size (for a 25klbf LOX/LH2 system) if you ran it with LOX/LH2 at the full chamber pressure of a pump-fed system.

Quote
I'm also curious if you they lose much Isp due to a combustion cycle, rather than tapping the main chamber cooling jacket for pump drive like the RL10.

Who ever said they were running this gas-generator cycle? They've got their own patent-pending variant on expander cycle that should give similar Isp performance.

~Jon
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: russianhalo117 on 11/23/2013 05:34 pm
I actually heard about this (from a source other than Jeff Greason) the same day I chatted with Jeff, but it looks like XCOR has now hot-fire tested their 2500lbf LOX/LH2 subscale engine:

http://www.xcor.com/press/2013/13-11-19_XCOR_ULA_announce_hydrogen_milestone.html

************

Hot Fire: XCOR Aerospace and United Launch Alliance Achieve Major Propulsion Milestone in Liquid Hydrogen Engine Program

Nov. 19, 2013, Mojave, CA and Centennial, CO - XCOR Aerospace and United Launch Alliance (ULA) announced a significant milestone today, the first successful hot fire of the subscale 2500 lbf thrust XR-5H25 engine in the XCOR and ULA liquid hydrogen (LH2) engine development program.

“The first hot fire of any engine is a major milestone but the first firing of a liquid hydrogen engine in our LH2 program is an even bigger accomplishment,” noted XCOR Chief Executive Officer Jeff Greason. “The hot fire of this engine moves us forward on a path to routine tests and further demonstration of fully reusable, high reliability rocket engines for which we are known.”

“XCOR’s ability to develop inexpensive, innovative and out-of-the-box solutions to some of the most challenging problems in modern cryogenic rocket engine technology was on display in Mojave,” said George Sowers, vice president of Strategic Architecture at ULA. “It was a great first set of engine runs and we look forward to seeing the engine and XCOR’s unique piston pumps integrated together in 2014.”

Conceived as a lower-cost, risk-managed approach, the goal of the XCOR/ULA LH2 engine program is to produce and operate a subscale demonstration engine.   This demonstrator will enable a future decision to pursue development of a flight-ready cryogenic upper-stage engine in the 25,000 lbf thrust class.  This technology has significant growth potential due to its unique thermodynamic cycle and piston pump. The larger thrust XCOR XR-8H21 LH2 engine should cost significantly less to produce and be much easier to operate than competing upper stage rocket engine technologies.

XCOR Chief Operating Officer Andrew Nelson said “I was very impressed with how our team dedicated itself to achieving a task that has not been accomplished in at least a quarter century, maybe more; the development of a new way to do liquid hydrogen rocket engines that fundamentally breaks current cost, reliability and operational models.  Even more than that, it will be the first piston-pump-fed LH2 rocket engine anywhere.”

The 5H25 engine is intended as a testbed, but could also be suitable for future in-space use on upper stages, earth departure stages, landers, and probes. Nelson added, “This is a significant leap forward in the hope to deliver yet another line of innovation and business to XCOR. And it is only taking place right here.”

#  #  #

About XCOR Aerospace:  XCOR Aerospace is based in Mojave, California.  It is currently starting the process to create a new Research and Development Center in Midland, Texas and an operational and manufacturing site at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. XCOR® builds safe, reliable and reusable rocket-powered vehicles, propulsion systems, advanced non-flammable composites and rocket piston pumps. XCOR works with aerospace prime contractors and government customers on major propulsion systems, while also building Lynx®.  Lynx is a piloted, two-seat, fully reusable liquid rocket-powered vehicle that takes-off and lands horizontally. The Lynx-family of vehicles serves three primary missions depending on their specific type including: research & scientific missions, private spaceflight, and micro satellite launch (only on the Lynx Mark III). Lynx production models (designated Lynx Mark II) are designed to be robust, multi-mission (research / scientific or private spaceflight) commercial vehicles capable of flying to 100+ km in altitude up to four times per day. Lynx vehicles are available to customers in the free world on a wet lease basis to start their own manned space flight program. (www.xcor.com).

United Launch Alliance: ULA is a 50-50 joint venture owned by Lockheed Martin and The Boeing Company, and is the nation’s rocket company, bringing together two of the launch industry’s most experienced and successful teams – Atlas and Delta. ULA provides reliable, cost-efficient space launch services for the Department of Defense, NASA, the National Reconnaissance Office and other commercial organizations. ULA program management, engineering, test, and mission support functions are headquartered in Denver, Colo.  Manufacturing, assembly and integration operations are located at Decatur, Ala., and Harlingen, Texas. Launch operations are located at Cape Canaveral AFS, Fla., and Vandenberg AFB, Calif. For more information on ULA, visit the ULA Web site at www.ulalaunch.com, or call the ULA Launch Hotline at 1-877-ULA-4321 (852-4321). Join the conversation at www.facebook.com/ulalaunch and twitter.com/ulalaunch.

************

My commentary:

I hope that when they're done integrating the pumps, and doing all the testing and tweaking for this 2500lbf subscale engine, that they wrap it into a fully-integrated flightweight engine. A good T/W, high Isp, 2500lbf, LOX/LH2 engine could be pretty interesting for a wide range of upper stage and in-space applications. Particularly small lunar landers, and propulsion for first-generation *fully* reusable orbital launch vehicles.

~Jon
AND here is the equivalent ULA link: http://www.ulalaunch.com/site/pages/News.shtml#/159/
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: john smith 19 on 11/24/2013 02:05 pm
Definitely one bigger chamber for the 25klbf class unit. It turns out their 7500lbf LOX/Methane engine they did was about the right size (for a 25klbf LOX/LH2 system) if you ran it with LOX/LH2 at the full chamber pressure of a pump-fed system.
Handy.  :) . That sounds like they can lower the development risk and schedule quite a bit, provided the the shift in mixture ratio and injectors does not cause any trouble.   
Quote
Who ever said they were running this gas-generator cycle? They've got their own patent-pending variant on expander cycle that should give similar Isp performance.
Oops.  Demonstrating once again that's what's happens when you "assume." :)

All the stuff I've seen from John Whiteheads group at LLNL relied on hypergolic ignition or catalytic breakdown. I guess I'd assumed if the cycle was transferable between propellants it'd had also had to be combustion (or catalytic breakdown) based.  :(

But if it's an expander variant that would be the first wholly new expander engine since the late 50's.  :)  :) , so nearer 50 than 25 years.

And of course running an LO2/LH2 engine with an expander variant driven piston pump makes them unique.

[ edit In early papers Whitehead's team described their simulation process and estimated that at about 5000 lb thrust it would be more efficient to move to turbo pumps, however I think they were based on a catalytic or GG source of drive gas for the pump. Going to 25000lb suggests the expander variant changes everything  ]

That's just huge.  :)
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: baldusi on 11/24/2013 07:55 pm
But if it's an expander variant that would be the first wholly new expander engine since the late 50's.  :)  :) , so nearer 50 than 25 years.
Vinci and RD-0146 might beg to differ.
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: john smith 19 on 11/26/2013 05:16 pm
But if it's an expander variant that would be the first wholly new expander engine since the late 50's.  :)  :) , so nearer 50 than 25 years.
Vinci and RD-0146 might beg to differ.
I should have qualified that by "In the US" OT but has RD-0146 flown yet either?
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: russianhalo117 on 11/26/2013 08:10 pm
But if it's an expander variant that would be the first wholly new expander engine since the late 50's.  :)  :) , so nearer 50 than 25 years.
Vinci and RD-0146 might beg to differ.
I should have qualified that by "In the US" OT but has RD-0146 flown yet either?
RD-0146 series of engines have been fully developed and tested via test stands, but have not been flown on a rocket of any type towards the sky. When KVSK or KVTK flies toward 2018 that will be first flight.
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: simonbp on 11/26/2013 11:44 pm
(OT, but that's the Angara upper stage, right?)
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: aga on 11/27/2013 06:24 am
(OT, but that's the Angara upper stage, right?)
yes
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: QuantumG on 12/10/2013 10:16 pm
Great interview on the XCOR blog.

http://www.xcor.com/blog/xcoragu/

Quote from: Khaki Rodway
Lynx is designed for low cost, high frequency flights. By comparison–take sounding rockets as an example. Much of the research conducted at this level of the atmosphere currently involves sounding rockets, and those are about ten times the price of a Lynx flight, maybe a few flights per year per experiment.

And this ability for Lynx to fly at such low cost and high frequency makes high flight rates achievable, which is what makes the whole future of suborbital research so attractive. With increased frequency, you have the opportunity to test equipment in-situ and know much more about what to expect well before launch.

It really will be a different capability for science when Lynx starts flying.
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: go4mars on 12/11/2013 03:02 am
http://www.xcor.com/blog/xcoragu/
It really will be a different capability for science when Lynx starts flying.
I just finished spending some company money on high-res satellite imagery.  I wonder how XCOR prices and quality for "air photos?" will compare.   
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: Nick L. on 12/11/2013 04:02 am
Sorry if this is a dumb question - was the LH2/LOX demonstrator engine they hot-fired in November also powered by the piston pump? Or is that the next step from here? The press release seems to indicate the pump and engine haven't been integrated yet.

Nonetheless, what they have done already is extremely impressive, and I can't wait to see what comes next. :)
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: QuantumG on 12/11/2013 04:05 am
Was the LH2/LOX demonstrator engine they hot-fired in November also powered by the piston pump? Or is that the next step from here? The press release seems to indicate the pump and engine haven't been integrated yet.

That's correct.

Quote
“XCOR’s ability to develop inexpensive, innovative and out-of-the-box solutions to some of the most challenging problems in modern cryogenic rocket engine technology was on display in Mojave,” said George Sowers, vice president of Strategic Architecture at ULA. “It was a great first set of engine runs and we look forward to seeing the engine and XCOR’s unique piston pumps integrated together in 2014.”

http://www.xcor.com/press/2013/13-11-19_XCOR_ULA_announce_hydrogen_milestone.html
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: baldusi on 12/11/2013 01:16 pm
Great interview on the XCOR blog.

http://www.xcor.com/blog/xcoragu/

Quote from: Khaki Rodway
Lynx is designed for low cost, high frequency flights. By comparison–take sounding rockets as an example. Much of the research conducted at this level of the atmosphere currently involves sounding rockets, and those are about ten times the price of a Lynx flight, maybe a few flights per year per experiment.

And this ability for Lynx to fly at such low cost and high frequency makes high flight rates achievable, which is what makes the whole future of suborbital research so attractive. With increased frequency, you have the opportunity to test equipment in-situ and know much more about what to expect well before launch.

It really will be a different capability for science when Lynx starts flying.
Sounding rockets are 150km and up in apogee. At least MkI Lynx is 60km. And they plan to reach barely 100km with MkII. I don't know if they'll be ever able to do 450km that many experiments use. Remember that apogee also means microgravity and above atmosphere time. Not to mention different layers of the atmosphere and magnetic field.
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: simonbp on 12/11/2013 07:30 pm
But, that's just the vehicle itself. With the Mark III dorsal pod, you could launch something to a much higher suborbital trajectory.

Also IIRC, Mark I is a one-off prototype that won't be used for much science. Mark II will be the first real customer vehicle.
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: Elmar Moelzer on 12/11/2013 08:04 pm
Also, I believe that as they gain experience and funds, the capabilities of their vehicles will expand. Mark II might only make it 100 km, but Mark III or MarkIV might go much higher.
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: Garrett on 12/11/2013 08:19 pm
Also, I believe that as they gain experience and funds, the capabilities of their vehicles will expand. Mark II might only make it 100 km, but Mark III or Mark IV might go much higher.
And with Mark IX they should make it to the Moon ;)
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: Elmar Moelzer on 12/11/2013 08:20 pm
Also, I believe that as they gain experience and funds, the capabilities of their vehicles will expand. Mark II might only make it 100 km, but Mark III or Mark IV might go much higher.
And with Mark IX they should make it to the Moon ;)
Well they do have plans for an orbital system... ;)
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: QuantumG on 12/11/2013 09:38 pm
Great interview on the XCOR blog.

http://www.xcor.com/blog/xcoragu/

Quote from: Khaki Rodway
Lynx is designed for low cost, high frequency flights. By comparison–take sounding rockets as an example. Much of the research conducted at this level of the atmosphere currently involves sounding rockets, and those are about ten times the price of a Lynx flight, maybe a few flights per year per experiment.

And this ability for Lynx to fly at such low cost and high frequency makes high flight rates achievable, which is what makes the whole future of suborbital research so attractive. With increased frequency, you have the opportunity to test equipment in-situ and know much more about what to expect well before launch.

It really will be a different capability for science when Lynx starts flying.
Sounding rockets are 150km and up in apogee. At least MkI Lynx is 60km. And they plan to reach barely 100km with MkII. I don't know if they'll be ever able to do 450km that many experiments use. Remember that apogee also means microgravity and above atmosphere time. Not to mention different layers of the atmosphere and magnetic field.

Yes... what part of "a different capability" was confusing?
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: QuantumG on 01/22/2014 12:36 am
XCOR Raises $14.2 Million in Equity Financing

http://www.parabolicarc.com/2014/01/21/xcor-raises-142-million-equity-financing/

Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: sdsds on 01/22/2014 03:40 am
From FORM D, Notice of Exempt Offering of Securities
Quote
enter the total number of investors who already have invested in the offering:   6
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: Star One on 02/05/2014 08:53 pm
Some concept art here.

http://www.space.com/16044-xcor-lynx-space-plane-pictures.html
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: banjo on 02/08/2014 09:40 am
do anyone know if the lynx will be capable of an autonomous or remotely piloted landing should the pilot have a bad day?
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: rklaehn on 02/08/2014 10:22 am
do anyone know if the lynx will be capable of an autonomous or remotely piloted landing should the pilot have a bad day?

Almost definitely not. The whole philosophy of XCOR is to keep automation to a minimum. I think it is not even a fly by wire aircraft.
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: Star One on 02/08/2014 05:34 pm

do anyone know if the lynx will be capable of an autonomous or remotely piloted landing should the pilot have a bad day?

Almost definitely not. The whole philosophy of XCOR is to keep automation to a minimum. I think it is not even a fly by wire aircraft.

Surprised to hear that it's that stripped down a vehicle.
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: BrightLight on 02/27/2014 10:39 pm
What are the chances Xcor will make it to 100km altitude before Virgin Galactic II?
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: mheney on 02/28/2014 01:52 pm
I don't beleive the Mk 1 vehicle will get to 100 km - although I do believe they will break the 50 mile line. 
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: jongoff on 02/28/2014 02:29 pm
What are the chances Xcor will make it to 100km altitude before Virgin Galactic II?

The Lynx Mk I is only designed for ~65km altitude IIRC, so they'd have to get it into flight, and get their MkII designed, built, and flying...I have a high opinion of XCOR, but I'm pretty sure SS2 will be flying to 100km before then.

~Jon
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: Lars_J on 02/28/2014 03:59 pm
What are the chances Xcor will make it to 100km altitude before Virgin Galactic II?

Very, very slim. At least VG is flying real hardware, even though they are having propulsion issues - But XCOR has yet to reveal their vehicle, and they are not making any schedule proclamations at all. For all we know they are a year or more away from first flight. (and as Jon notes, that's only their 1st gen vehicle - it is the 2nd gen one that might reach 100km)
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: Robotbeat on 02/28/2014 04:01 pm
What are the chances Xcor will make it to 100km altitude before Virgin Galactic II?

Very slim. At least VG is flying real hardware, even though they are having propulsion issues - But XCOR has yet to reveal their vehicle, and they are not making any schedule proclamations at all. For all we know they are a year or more away from first flight.
No, they mentioned they want to do their first flight this year, so less than a year away.

...The lack of big schedule proclamations is a /good thing/, in my opinion. They're keeping their heads down and working hard.
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: Lars_J on 02/28/2014 05:28 pm
What are the chances Xcor will make it to 100km altitude before Virgin Galactic II?

Very slim. At least VG is flying real hardware, even though they are having propulsion issues - But XCOR has yet to reveal their vehicle, and they are not making any schedule proclamations at all. For all we know they are a year or more away from first flight.
No, they mentioned they want to do their first flight this year, so less than a year away.

...The lack of big schedule proclamations is a /good thing/, in my opinion. They're keeping their heads down and working hard.

Haven't they been about a year from first flight for a while now?
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: jongoff on 02/28/2014 06:30 pm
What are the chances Xcor will make it to 100km altitude before Virgin Galactic II?

Very slim. At least VG is flying real hardware, even though they are having propulsion issues - But XCOR has yet to reveal their vehicle, and they are not making any schedule proclamations at all. For all we know they are a year or more away from first flight.
No, they mentioned they want to do their first flight this year, so less than a year away.

...The lack of big schedule proclamations is a /good thing/, in my opinion. They're keeping their heads down and working hard.

Haven't they been about a year from first flight for a while now?

They actually have mentioned the goals of flying "this year" in previous years, so it's fair to exercise some skepticism. Me personally, I'll be stoked if they get off the ground this year. But they have a solid team, with real money, and have flown previous lower performance vehicles, so I give them good chances for success, just uncertain on the timing.

~Jon
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: parabolicarc on 02/28/2014 07:17 pm
I don't beleive the Mk 1 vehicle will get to 100 km - although I do believe they will break the 50 mile line.

The Lynx Mark I can't reach the 50 mile boundary. The Lynx Mark II is target at 62 miles and above. The company has always been clear on these goals.

The first Lynx is being assembled in the hangar. Parts of it have been coming in. Harry van Hulten, the founder of the SXC group that is selling tickets, spoke at the Griffith Observatory on Monday. The schedule he showed indicated initial flight tests in the third quarter, which would be this summer. He admitted that could slip depending upon how things go. One big item is the cockpit, which he showed a picture of undergoing its build at the contractor. It's getting close to being shipped to Mojave.

The schedule matters somewhat less to XCOR than it does to VG. XCOR doesn't have a famous billionaire making predictions every few months and then changing them when they don't come true.

Who gets to 62 miles first is an interesting question. Virgin Galactic can't get there with anything its flown with or the modified engine it plans to fly with later this year. Who's first to 100 km matters a great deal to Virgin. It matters much less to XCOR. Jeff Greason doesn't spend a lot of time worrying about what the neighbors are doing. He's focused on getting the first Lynx built and tested properly.

XCOR is in good shape financially. They closed on a $13 million Series B round at the end of 2013. That round is actually seeking $20 million, and it remains open I think til August. So, they might raise more money by then. 
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: QuantumG on 02/28/2014 09:48 pm
The blog has an interview with Jeff Greason, CEO.

http://www.xcor.com/blog/jeffgreason1/

Sounds like a great place to work.
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: jongoff on 02/28/2014 10:02 pm
The first Lynx is being assembled in the hangar. Parts of it have been coming in. Harry van Hulten, the founder of the SXC group that is selling tickets, spoke at the Griffith Observatory on Monday. The schedule he showed indicated initial flight tests in the third quarter, which would be this summer. He admitted that could slip depending upon how things go. One big item is the cockpit, which he showed a picture of undergoing its build at the contractor. It's getting close to being shipped to Mojave.

Yeah, I happened to see their cockpit earlier this month--we're looking at using the same contractor for some composite design/fabrication work we'll be doing at Altius, and they gave us a tour of their shop. It's a pretty amazingly complex design, but it was looking really close to done. If that's the last structural piece they need in-house before they can jump into structural integration, plumbing, and wiring, they might just get Lynx in the air this year. It'll be tight though. A friend from Scaled said their rule of thumb was that from the time that you have something that looks like the airplane in the shop until it's ready to fly can often be closer to a year. I'm keeping my fingers crossed though.

Quote
XCOR is in good shape financially. They closed on a $13 million Series B round at the end of 2013. That round is actually seeking $20 million, and it remains open I think til August. So, they might raise more money by then.

It's really impressive what XCOR has accomplished for ~1/10th what VG has had. I'm friends with a lot of VG guys and want to see them succeed too, but really want XCOR to also make it--they've earned it.

~Jon
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: jongoff on 02/28/2014 10:04 pm
The blog has an interview with Jeff Greason, CEO.

http://www.xcor.com/blog/jeffgreason1/

Sounds like a great place to work.

Agreed that was a great interview. I particularly liked some of his thoughts on where the market will go. I think he's dead-on that we'll see a mix of bigger expendable or semi-reusable launchers, but with most of the mass being lifted by smaller fully-reusable launchers. I like his vision of the future a whole lot more than some of the speculation I've seen about SpaceX's super-duper heavy lift vehicles/MCT (hope that comment doesn't cost me my SpaceX fanboy membership).

~Jon
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: Lars_J on 02/28/2014 10:46 pm
The blog has an interview with Jeff Greason, CEO.

http://www.xcor.com/blog/jeffgreason1/

Sounds like a great place to work.

Agreed that was a great interview. I particularly liked some of his thoughts on where the market will go. I think he's dead-on that we'll see a mix of bigger expendable or semi-reusable launchers, but with most of the mass being lifted by smaller fully-reusable launchers. I like his vision of the future a whole lot more than some of the speculation I've seen about SpaceX's super-duper heavy lift vehicles/MCT (hope that comment doesn't cost me my SpaceX fanboy membership).

Membership revoked!  >:(  ;D

On a more serious note - It would be nice to find out exactly what fully reusable orbital systems he has in mind. Even the Mark III will apparently use an expendable stage for LEO insertion.

So given the lack of details, I'm somewhat sceptical about these smaller fully reusable launch systems. With a larger LV you have more mass to work with to add things needed for recovery/reuse, and these small systems will have *very* tight margins, unless I'm mistaken about what size vehicle he is imagining. For example, if SpaceX can make a fully reusable F9R with at least 3-5mt payload to LEO, is a smaller air launched system going to be able to beat that for $/kg to LEO?

My point, I suppose, is that it seems to *me* that the sweet spot for a RLV size (payload vs flight rate) would be a bit bigger than what it seems like he has in mind.

I'm anxiously waiting to see what they have planned, though.
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: QuantumG on 02/28/2014 10:49 pm
For example, if SpaceX can make a fully reusable F9R with at least 3-5mt payload to LEO

I think that's what he means by small. At least that order anyway.


Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: Lars_J on 02/28/2014 11:42 pm
For example, if SpaceX can make a fully reusable F9R with at least 3-5mt payload to LEO

I think that's what he means by small. At least that order anyway.

You may be right, but that kind of payload would still require a launch system that is an order of magnitude larger than the Lynx Mark III. (If the concepts that show a Lynx launching a satellite is the Mark III)

So while he may see himself as a part of that coming market, they need to scale up BIGTIME to be able to do it.
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: Robotbeat on 02/28/2014 11:56 pm
I assume you guys have actually seen what Jeff Greason is thinking about when it comes to fully orbital reusable launch vehicles. He's not thinking of anything close to the Lynx  mark III in scale.

http://xcor.com/products/vehicles/frequent_flyer_and_teledyne_brown_spaceplane.html

They're thinking of a 2 stage to orbit reusable launch vehicle. Horizontal take-off, horizontal landing. The upper stage aircraft will be about the size of Lynx, I presume, but the first stage will be much, much larger (on the order of the Shuttle Orbiter). They will use hydrogen/oxygen as propellants. Greason mentioned them in a talk a while ago.
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: baldusi on 02/28/2014 11:58 pm
Wise development are done at  the smallest possible scale. Better learn about rocket reusability small than large. All the system lessons and operative experience will teach them how to design the bigger version.
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: jongoff on 03/01/2014 03:04 am
On a more serious note - It would be nice to find out exactly what fully reusable orbital systems he has in mind. Even the Mark III will apparently use an expendable stage for LEO insertion.

Two points:

1- When he talks about a future where most of the payload is delivered to space in small fully-reusable systems, he's not saying that all of those would be XCOR's fully-reusable systems. I'm sure he fully intends for XCOR to be a major player, but Jeff's always been an advocate for healthy industries with multiple strong players. He's not a monoculturist like the many of the cult-of-SLS/Orion or the cult-of-Elon. Back when I was still at Masten, XCOR several times bent over backwards to help us, even though we were technically competitors. I'm with Jeff that a strong industry with multiple healthy players using different approaches is a really, really good thing.

2- XCOR does have some TSTO RLV ideas in mind, and they've given some limited details (ie I'm pretty sure both stages will be piloted HTHL, possibly airlaunched, with the upper stage being LOX/LH2), but they're too early to really be worth them opening the kimono too far.

Quote
So given the lack of details, I'm somewhat sceptical about these smaller fully reusable launch systems. With a larger LV you have more mass to work with to add things needed for recovery/reuse, and these small systems will have *very* tight margins, unless I'm mistaken about what size vehicle he is imagining. For example, if SpaceX can make a fully reusable F9R with at least 3-5mt payload to LEO, is a smaller air launched system going to be able to beat that for $/kg to LEO?

A lot depends upon the flight rate and the turnaround time. There are diseconomies of scale as well as economies. I'm perfectly willing to believe that F9R will eventually work, and will be cheaper by a good margin than expendable vehicles. But will it ever get to fast enough turn-around to really be "gas and go"? I doubt it.

Quote
My point, I suppose, is that it seems to *me* that the sweet spot for a RLV size (payload vs flight rate) would be a bit bigger than what it seems like he has in mind.

I'm sure there's a lot of room for disagreement here, but I'm with Jeff. In order to get to a high enough flight rate to enable a good industry with at least 2-3 good players, each with multiple vehicles, you're talking about needing several hundred flights per year. I don't think you're going to get there with F9R. But who knows. We'll see.

Quote
I'm anxiously waiting to see what they have planned, though.

You and me both.

~Jon
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: jongoff on 03/01/2014 03:05 am
Wise development are done at  the smallest possible scale. Better learn about rocket reusability small than large. All the system lessons and operative experience will teach them how to design the bigger version.

Yeah, I think that Jeff's approach to reusability is a lot more likely to yield high-flight rate, gas-and-go reuse than Elon's. Though Elon seems to have found a great approach to get into basic reusability starting from an expendable vehicle.

~Jon
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: jongoff on 03/01/2014 03:08 am
For example, if SpaceX can make a fully reusable F9R with at least 3-5mt payload to LEO

I think that's what he means by small. At least that order anyway.

Actually, from previous conversations with Jeff, my guess is quite a bit smaller than that. When I last had a chance to chat with him on the topic, I think the numbers were closer to vehicles with one pilot and 300-1000lb of cargo (or 1-2 passengers).

~Jon
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: Lars_J on 03/01/2014 03:16 am
For example, if SpaceX can make a fully reusable F9R with at least 3-5mt payload to LEO

I think that's what he means by small. At least that order anyway.

Actually, from previous conversations with Jeff, my guess is quite a bit smaller than that. When I last had a chance to chat with him on the topic, I think the numbers were closer to vehicles with one pilot and 300-1000lb of cargo (or 1-2 passengers).

~Jon

Is it that much different? If a pilot will always be there, the pressurized cabin and life support for 1-3 people will surely mass a bit over a metric ton. Any piloted orbital space plane probably needs a dry mass of several metric tonnes. While not technically part of the cargo mass, that mass still has to be put in LEO.
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: Robotbeat on 03/01/2014 03:24 am
XCOR has done a lot of work on how to design a rocket engine that experiences essentially no wear while in use, so that it could conceivably be used thousands of times, and many, many times between extensive examination and/or refurb.
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: jongoff on 03/01/2014 03:39 am
Is it that much different? If a pilot will always be there, the pressurized cabin and life support for 1-3 people will surely mass several metric tons. While not technically part of the cargo mass, that mass still has to be put in LEO.

I think your "several metric tons" has a lot of assumptions built in. Dragon does mass several metric tonnes for 7 crew members. But Dragon isn't really an RLV. An RLV stage already has to have many of the things that make Dragon heavy (landing and recovery systems, TPS, RCS engines, etc). Those are already included in the RLV's dry mass and don't count towards the payload--that's why RLVs have worse payload to GLOW in the first place!

The question is really the marginal mass of the remaining subsystems needed for people. Personally I think that you could make a crew cabin for useful orbital missions, for three people, that massed less than 1000lb. Once again, that's not counting the rest of the dry mass that goes to things like RCS, reentry TPS, landing systems, etc. Just the amount that you could replace on an RLV with pure payload. You'd definitely have to put some real thought into how you operate, making docking systems that are really lightweight, how long of duration you really need for a real mission, etc.

Another data point is that the full Lynx spacecraft, which includes a pressurized crew cabin for two, weighs less than 4000lb dry. That's including engines, tanks, landing gear, other structures, pressurant gasses, etc. My guess is that the actual cockpit is well less than 1000lb of that (though it's hard to tell by just looking at it). Could it keep two people alive for days? No. But could it keep them long enough to be useful for orbital trips to and from a space facility? Probably.

Basically, I don't think it's at all the case that a fully-reusable vehicle with a 1-3 person capability has to be anywhere near as big as F9R.

~Jon
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: Lars_J on 03/01/2014 05:31 am
My concern (if you can call it that) ;) is that you are a bit optimistic about what an orbital space plane would mass - It is after all basically the equivalent of a small capsule *and* upper stage put together. Sure, some of the systems are duplicated and can be removed, but you also have additional TPS to deal with. Gemini is probably a decent size comparison, it and massed ~3t dry, didn't it? Yes - the obvious retort is "modern construction & materials", but many projects that one would have expected to come in lighter due to modern construction and materials always seem to end up weighing more that assumed.

As for the mass of Lynx - you have clearly seen more of it that most people have. But I would be cautious about using it as an example until it actually flies.

But I certainly hope you are right, Jon! :)

I look forward to seeing some more detail on what they have planned.
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: Robert Thompson on 03/01/2014 05:49 am
Is it reasonable to expect a captive carry test?
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: Robotbeat on 03/01/2014 06:02 am
Is it reasonable to expect a captive carry test?
Captive carry by what? The Lynx is self-propelled the whole way. They may do taxis at first, but certainly not captive carry.
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: QuantumG on 03/01/2014 06:35 am
Agreed. One of the nice things about having a powered aircraft (vs a glider) is that you can do the usual envelope expansion flight testing.
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: FutureSpaceTourist on 03/01/2014 06:49 am
Yeah, I think that Jeff's approach to reusability is a lot more likely to yield high-flight rate, gas-and-go reuse than Elon's. Though Elon seems to have found a great approach to get into basic reusability starting from an expendable vehicle.

I agree. What I'm less sure about is how far XCOR's approach will scale (at least without very high development costs). Large supersonic spaceplanes feel expensive to me. May be even long-term XCOR isn't interested in heavy-lift?
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: Robotbeat on 03/01/2014 06:59 am
Yeah, I think that Jeff's approach to reusability is a lot more likely to yield high-flight rate, gas-and-go reuse than Elon's. Though Elon seems to have found a great approach to get into basic reusability starting from an expendable vehicle.

I agree. What I'm less sure about is how far XCOR's approach will scale (at least without very high development costs). Large supersonic spaceplanes feel expensive to me. May be even long-term XCOR isn't interested in heavy-lift?
Im pretty confident XCOR doesn't care about heavy lift.
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: Robert Thompson on 03/01/2014 09:35 am
Is it reasonable to expect a captive carry test?
Captive carry by what? The Lynx is self-propelled the whole way. They may do taxis at first, but certainly not captive carry.
I was wondering what might be the first sight of Lynx in the air, and Dream Chaser's captive carry seemed a reasonable guess. I guess I kind of assumed Lynx used its prop to achieve max altitude, then did an unpowered glide back to the landing strip. I kind of figured it was a much lighter version of flying brick, and might need the same testing as DC got.
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: kch on 03/01/2014 09:54 am
Is it reasonable to expect a captive carry test?
Captive carry by what? The Lynx is self-propelled the whole way. They may do taxis at first, but certainly not captive carry.
I was wondering what might be the first sight of Lynx in the air, and Dream Chaser's captive carry seemed a reasonable guess. I guess I kind of assumed Lynx used its prop to achieve max altitude, then did an unpowered glide back to the landing strip. I kind of figured it was a much lighter version of flying brick, and might need the same testing as DC got.

Here's their flight animation video:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3a-l1tb1rPg

:)
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: Robert Thompson on 03/01/2014 04:22 pm
This is where I drop the question on an Lynx thread because I see I do not fully understand the significance of the captive carry test on a Dream Chaser. But I acknowledge that the Lynx video does evidence a Lynx returning with no exotic banking maneuvers. That's enough for me.  :-X
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: mheney on 03/01/2014 06:47 pm
Dream Chaser isn't self-powered in atmospheric flight.  So it can't do taxi tests, short hops, or other tests to expand the envelope without something towing it down the runway (pickup truck), or hauling it through the air and dropping it (a helicopter).  Lynx, on the other hand, can roll itself down the runway, do once-arounds, and continuously gather more and more light envelope experience under its own power.
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: Robert Thompson on 03/01/2014 07:24 pm
Thank you.
My tedious lapse/gap in knowledge on the Lynx was: Does it retain propellant after having reached target altitude. Answer is, yes.
My tedious gap in knowledge on Dream Chaser and captive carry is: Is this to verify performance for moments of inertia and control surfaces during banking maneuvers that are analogous to the Shuttle which came in at orbital re-entry speed. Answer is.... ?
My tedious conjecture was that Lynx may expend all its propellant reaching maximum possible target altitude and have to resort to control surfaces, gliding, and cross-range on return. And that a captive carry would simulate that regime of non-powered flight.
My Lynx question is moot. There is propellant remaining, analogous to the X-Racers, and Lynx does not 'burn out' all its ascent capability, leaving nothing but return glide. It was a missing piece of puzzle.
So one confirmation would be: Is Lynx's target altitude lower than its maximum achievable altitude? I don't know SS2 well, and I expect that with a hybrid, its target altitude and its maximum altitude are one and the same. (But then I hear it's throttle-able? Idk.)
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: mheney on 03/04/2014 09:03 pm
There's an assumption or two being made here.  I didn't say that Lynx retained fuel after an operational flight.  Lynx performs an unpowered gliding landing after a flight.  What I said was that, being self-powered, it doesn't need a carrier aircraft to do test flights. 
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: Robert Thompson on 03/04/2014 09:49 pm
Ok, thank you for that.
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: Danderman on 04/03/2014 08:48 pm
Spaceship Pilot Joins Rival Firm

http://www.spacenews.com/article/features/40089spaceship-pilot-joins-rival-firm

 Brian Binnie, who flew the prototype SpaceShipOne on its final X Prize-winning flight in 2004, has left manufacturer Scaled Composites for competitor XCOR Aerospace.

Both firms are building suborbital spaceships for commercial space travel. Scaled, which was hired by Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic, is building SpaceShipTwo, a six-passenger, two-pilot ship currently undergoing testing in Mojave, Calif.

Privately owned XCOR Aerospace, also based in Mojave, is working on a two-seater called Lynx.

Binnie, who served as Scaled’s program business manager as well as a test pilot, joins XCOR as chief engineer. He announced the new position on LinkedIn.com.
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: rusty on 04/04/2014 05:37 pm
Spaceship Pilot Joins Rival Firm

http://www.spacenews.com/article/features/40089spaceship-pilot-joins-rival-firm
 Brian Binnie, who flew the prototype SpaceShipOne on its final X Prize-winning flight in 2004, has left manufacturer Scaled Composites for competitor XCOR Aerospace. ...
Binnie, who served as Scaled’s program business manager as well as a test pilot, joins XCOR as chief engineer. He announced the new position on LinkedIn.com.
A bit different job title over at Yahoo Finance
http://finance.yahoo.com/news/xcor-aerospace-announces-brian-binnie-174100055.html
MOJAVE, Calif., April 3, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- XCOR Aerospace announced today that celebrated aviator, test pilot, engineer and commercial astronaut Brian Binnie has joined the company as Senior Test Pilot. As Senior Test Pilot, Binnie will be working with another celebrated pilot and astronaut, XCOR Chief Test Pilot and former Space Shuttle Pilot and Commander, US Air Force Colonel (Ret.) Richard (Rick) Searfoss. ...
Brian Binnie is a decorated aviator having piloted the Ansari X-Prize award winning flight that broke the winged aircraft altitude record previously held by the X-15. He also was the pilot of a unique prototype of a single stage to orbit system, the Roton Rocket Atmospheric Test Vehicle, from Rotary Rocket.
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: Llian Rhydderch on 04/05/2014 02:44 am
Spaceship Pilot Joins Rival Firm

http://www.spacenews.com/article/features/40089spaceship-pilot-joins-rival-firm
 Brian Binnie, who flew the prototype SpaceShipOne on its final X Prize-winning flight in 2004, has left manufacturer Scaled Composites for competitor XCOR Aerospace. ...
Binnie, who served as Scaled’s program business manager as well as a test pilot, joins XCOR as chief engineer. He announced the new position on LinkedIn.com.
A bit different job title over at Yahoo Finance
http://finance.yahoo.com/news/xcor-aerospace-announces-brian-binnie-174100055.html
MOJAVE, Calif., April 3, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- XCOR Aerospace announced today that celebrated aviator, test pilot, engineer and commercial astronaut Brian Binnie has joined the company as Senior Test Pilot. As Senior Test Pilot, Binnie will be working with another celebrated pilot and astronaut, XCOR Chief Test Pilot and former Space Shuttle Pilot and Commander, US Air Force Colonel (Ret.) Richard (Rick) Searfoss. ...
Brian Binnie is a decorated aviator having piloted the Ansari X-Prize award winning flight that broke the winged aircraft altitude record previously held by the X-15. He also was the pilot of a unique prototype of a single stage to orbit system, the Roton Rocket Atmospheric Test Vehicle, from Rotary Rocket.

Not so different any longer.  Space News has updated their article:  no longer calling him a chief engineer.  Now, merely a "senior engineer and test pilot".  So a bit closer to the Yahoo story.
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: bad_astra on 04/05/2014 04:11 am
Glad to see he will be going back up to space.
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: jongoff on 04/09/2014 06:48 pm
XCOR Press Release:

XCOR Aerospace Receives Lynx Mark I Cockpit

Vehicle Integration Commences

09 April 2014, Mojave, CA – XCOR Aerospace announced today that the XCOR® Lynx® Mark I cockpit has been delivered. AdamWorks engineers, along with XCOR engineers, performed several successful pressure tests before it was packed and shipped to XCOR .

The cockpit is the principal major subassembly XCOR needs to begin assembly of the Lynx suborbital spaceplane.

“The successful pressure testing of the Lynx cockpit and its delivery is a major milestone for us,” said XCOR Founder and CEO Jeff Greason. “This will enable us to accelerate toward integration, ground testing and first flight over the rest of this year.”

Andrew Nelson, Chief Operating Officer of XCOR added, “Our clients and partners are very happy to see this significant sign of progress.  I could not be more happy with our designers, engineers and team who have worked so hard on this major accomplishment. We are that much closer to suborbital operations.”

(http://xcor.com/press/2014/images/13-03-31_cockpit-arrival-2815-2.jpg)

**************
My comments:

This is pretty neat because this was the missing piece they needed before they could start assembling the primary structure of the vehicle, and start running wiring and plumbing. Still a stretch to be ready to fly by end of the year (a friend from Scaled's rule of thumb was it take about a year from when you have something airplane looking till first flight), but now that it's in, they can really start moving. Looking forward to more and more progress photos and blog posts in the coming months.

~Jon
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: BrightLight on 04/09/2014 07:36 pm
Earlier I posted a question - Can Lynx get to 100km before Virgin Galactic SS2. I have no clue but this is one more step closer. FWIW - XCOR seems to be taking small manageable steps towards a reusable sub-orbital rocket plane.  From what I've seen in posts, this approach might have truly great merit.
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: jongoff on 04/09/2014 08:19 pm
Earlier I posted a question - Can Lynx get to 100km before Virgin Galactic SS2. I have no clue but this is one more step closer. FWIW - XCOR seems to be taking small manageable steps towards a reusable sub-orbital rocket plane.  From what I've seen in posts, this approach might have truly great merit.

VG would have to screw up a lot for XCOR to beat them at this point. Lynx Mk1 can't make it to 100km, so they're at least one vehicle away from that point. SS2 would have to run into another year or two worth of delays for XCOR to catch up.

~Jon
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: Lars_J on 04/09/2014 09:14 pm
It is good to see progress!

Judging by the structural supporting braces/cross-sections that surround the cockpit, it looks like the final design is going to be more smooth and blended from wing to fuselage than the early concepts showed.
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: TrevorMonty on 04/09/2014 10:05 pm
Does anybody know their test plan?.
I'm guessing it will be something like following.
1) tethered flight (same as DC)
2) drop/glide and land
3) Powered taxi
4) Full powered takeoff and flight.
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: QuantumG on 04/09/2014 10:18 pm
Does anybody know their test plan?.
I'm guessing it will be something like following.
1) tethered flight (same as DC)
2) drop/glide and land
3) Powered taxi
4) Full powered takeoff and flight.

No.

They're planning to test it like an aircraft. Runway taxiing, touch-and-gos, envelope expansion.
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: Lurker Steve on 04/09/2014 10:51 pm
Does anybody know their test plan?.
I'm guessing it will be something like following.
1) tethered flight (same as DC)
2) drop/glide and land
3) Powered taxi
4) Full powered takeoff and flight.

No.

They're planning to test it like an aircraft. Runway taxiing, touch-and-gos, envelope expansion.

For aircraft testing, do you just assume your control surfaces will operate as designed ?

After tons of computer simulations and wind tunnel testing of course....
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: jongoff on 04/09/2014 11:15 pm
Does anybody know their test plan?.
I'm guessing it will be something like following.
1) tethered flight (same as DC)
2) drop/glide and land
3) Powered taxi
4) Full powered takeoff and flight.

No.

They're planning to test it like an aircraft. Runway taxiing, touch-and-gos, envelope expansion.

For aircraft testing, do you just assume your control surfaces will operate as designed ?

After tons of computer simulations and wind tunnel testing of course....

QuantumG skipped one step between runway taxiing and touch-and-gos, they also do some tests called runway hops. Because a rocket has such a high T/W, you can go from a stop to takeoff speed on a tiny fraction of the runway, so you can lift off a little, verify basic controls, and land again on the same runway. But yeah, basically you test the prototype expanding the envelope little by little--just like most if not all aircraft are tested.

~Jon
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: Lars_J on 04/09/2014 11:34 pm
For aircraft testing, do you just assume your control surfaces will operate as designed ?

After tons of computer simulations and wind tunnel testing of course....

Yep. I don't recall seeing the 787 or A380 towed into the air, or air-dropped. ;)
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: spacetech on 04/10/2014 04:03 am
NASA/NAVAIR did "drop tests" with subscale remote control models of the F/A-18E Super Hornet. The YF-16 was was famous for the high speed "taxi" test. An over responsive YF-16 ended up making its unofficial first flight.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qAp4RtGKbHE

Usually they can figure out CG and control response during high-speed taxi test. I'm sure they did high speed taxi tests with the 787, but short of borrowing a An-225 what could they use for captive test flights?
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: QuantumG on 04/10/2014 05:59 am
QuantumG skipped one step between runway taxiing and touch-and-gos, they also do some tests called runway hops.

That's what I was trying remember! A mate of mine had to do those with his home-built gyrocopter while the inspector watched.

Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: manboy on 04/10/2014 06:44 am
Does anybody know their test plan?.
I'm guessing it will be something like following.
1) tethered flight (same as DC)
2) drop/glide and land
3) Powered taxi
4) Full powered takeoff and flight.

No.

They're planning to test it like an aircraft. Runway taxiing, touch-and-gos, envelope expansion.

For aircraft testing, do you just assume your control surfaces will operate as designed ?

After tons of computer simulations and wind tunnel testing of course....

QuantumG skipped one step between runway taxiing and touch-and-gos, they also do some tests called runway hops. Because a rocket has such a high T/W, you can go from a stop to takeoff speed on a tiny fraction of the runway, so you can lift off a little, verify basic controls, and land again on the same runway. But yeah, basically you test the prototype expanding the envelope little by little--just like most if not all aircraft are tested.

~Jon
Very interesting, thanks for the input.
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: BrightLight on 05/15/2014 04:54 pm
Earlier I posted a question - Can Lynx get to 100km before Virgin Galactic SS2. I have no clue but this is one more step closer. FWIW - XCOR seems to be taking small manageable steps towards a reusable sub-orbital rocket plane.  From what I've seen in posts, this approach might have truly great merit.

VG would have to screw up a lot for XCOR to beat them at this point. Lynx Mk1 can't make it to 100km, so they're at least one vehicle away from that point. SS2 would have to run into another year or two worth of delays for XCOR to catch up.

~Jon
well....maybe
http://www.parabolicarc.com/2014/05/15/spaceshiptwo-reach-100-km-boundary-space/
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: andreto on 05/24/2014 06:36 pm
XCOR deserves to win this.
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: Garrett on 05/27/2014 03:01 pm
http://www.xcor.com/press/2014/14-05-27_CFIUS_approval_clears_XCOR_series_B_financing.html
Quote
Press Release
CFIUS Approval Clears XCOR Aerospace’s First Close of Series B Financing

XCOR Raises $14.2 Million of Investment Capital Led by Dutch Investors
27 May 2014, Mojave, CA – XCOR Aerospace announced today that the United States Treasury Department’s Committee on Foreign Investment in the US (CFIUS) has approved the Series B lead investment by Dutch investors. The first closing of XCOR’s new round of finance issued $14.2 million of Series B preferred shares. XCOR will use the funds to bring the XCOR® Lynx® suborbital spaceplane to market.

The Series B financing was led by Space Expedition Corporation (SXC) of The Netherlands. Michiel Mol and Mark Hoogendoorn of SXC will join the current five members on the XCOR Board of Directors. The first round also included many existing and new investors including: board member Esther Dyson, Pete Ricketts (co-owner of the Chicago Cubs), and a number of Silicon Valley entrepreneurs and early-stage investors. A smaller second closing is scheduled over the summer.

The SXC investment in XCOR signals a strong commitment to the commercial space industry by the Dutch entity, which is also XCOR’s lead wet-lease customer and general sales agent.  Michiel Mol said, “With this investment in XCOR, we’re closing ranks with our most strategic partner. We will take the next step together toward our first commercial spaceflight. I’m proud to become a part of this fantastically dedicated team of ‘future makers’ and game changers.”

Mark Hoogendoorn noted, “Investing in XCOR is much more than investing in innovative technology and a team of highly skilled engineers. Most of all, it’s investing in a long term vision we strongly believe in that will enable a new era of sustainable and regular space access that will positively impact all mankind.” 

Jeff Greason, Founder and CEO of XCOR, said, "We are very pleased to have this first closing of the Series B and welcome Michiel and Mark to the Board. This investment will allow us to accelerate and run in parallel several final developments in the critical path to first flight."

"This first closing of the Series B is a signal to the market that XCOR is moving ahead with its plans for commercial service and that we are nearer to that goal," said Andrew Nelson, Chief Operating Officer of XCOR.  “The Series B will remain open for a limited time as we complete discussions with a few more potential investors.”

Although SXC acquired a minority position without control provisions in XCOR, the company took the cautious route of submitting the investment to CFIUS for review prior to an official public announcement.  CFIUS agreed that no control provisions exist and that the investment is not a so-called “covered transaction.”

Cheers to Jeff Foust and Jon Goff for retweeting the announcement tweet
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: Star One on 05/28/2014 03:19 pm
Quote
PARIS — Commercial suborbital spaceplane service provider XCOR Aerospace has sold $14.2 million in preferred stock, most of it to its long-standing strategic partner, Space Expedition Corp. of the Netherlands, which will now have two representatives on XCOR’s seven-member board of directors, XCOR announced May 27.

The U.S. Treasury Deptartment’s Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States approved the transaction, XCOR said.

http://www.spacenews.com/article/financial-report/40711xcor-raises-14-million-in-equity-deal-with-dutch-partner
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: bad_astra on 05/28/2014 03:22 pm
That is really good news. They have some funding now.
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: Star One on 05/28/2014 03:25 pm
Can't help feeling once this starts flying it will progress much quicker to operational capability than VG.
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: BrightLight on 05/28/2014 04:44 pm
It appears that their rocket engine development is paced to create highly reliable, inexpensive to operate, reusable integrated systems, if the airframe is as well thought out as the engines, I do think that the Lynx will be a winner.  I think their paradigm is to optimize utility as opposed to optimized performance, this might be the ticket to success?
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: TrevorMonty on 05/28/2014 06:51 pm
That's good news, especially for us XCOR fans.
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: Elmar Moelzer on 05/28/2014 07:05 pm
Indeed great news! Go XCOR!
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: Lars_J on 05/28/2014 07:22 pm
It appears that their rocket engine development is paced to create highly reliable, inexpensive to operate, reusable integrated systems

That seems like a strong statement to make, given their lack of actually flying anything yet. What are you basing it on?
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: savuporo on 05/28/2014 07:29 pm
It appears that their rocket engine development is paced to create highly reliable, inexpensive to operate, reusable integrated systems

That seems like a strong statement to make, given their lack of actually flying anything yet. What are you basing it on?

Uh, they are long known for flying vehicles (http://www.xcor.com/gallery/main.php/v/vehicles/) like EZ-Rocket, and building systems for RRL rocket racers. They have demonstrated their engines in air and on ground for a long, long time now.
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: ChrisWilson68 on 05/28/2014 07:44 pm
It appears that their rocket engine development is paced to create highly reliable, inexpensive to operate, reusable integrated systems

That seems like a strong statement to make, given their lack of actually flying anything yet. What are you basing it on?

Uh, they are long known for flying vehicles (http://www.xcor.com/gallery/main.php/v/vehicles/) like EZ-Rocket, and building systems for RRL rocket racers. They have demonstrated their engines in air and on ground for a long, long time now.

Sticking a small rocket motor on the back of a kit-built airplane isn't really experience with space launch.
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: Lars_J on 05/28/2014 07:44 pm
It appears that their rocket engine development is paced to create highly reliable, inexpensive to operate, reusable integrated systems

That seems like a strong statement to make, given their lack of actually flying anything yet. What are you basing it on?

Uh, they are long known for flying vehicles (http://www.xcor.com/gallery/main.php/v/vehicles/) like EZ-Rocket, and building systems for RRL rocket racers. They have demonstrated their engines in air and on ground for a long, long time now.

True, but has the Lynx flown? Has its engine flown on another aircraft?

What they are doing with Lynx is going to take a magniture (or more) effort than their previous modded vehicles.

I'm just adding a note of caution... People said the same about VG shortly after SS1.
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: bad_astra on 05/28/2014 07:49 pm
It appears that their rocket engine development is paced to create highly reliable, inexpensive to operate, reusable integrated systems

That seems like a strong statement to make, given their lack of actually flying anything yet. What are you basing it on?

They have years of demonstrable experience with their rocket engines, whether they've been in space or not.
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: savuporo on 05/28/2014 07:54 pm
True, but has the Lynx flown? Has its engine flown on another aircraft?

What they are doing with Lynx is going to take a magniture (or more) effort than their previous modded vehicles.

I'm just adding a note of caution... People said the same about VG shortly after SS1.
No Lynx has not flown,  and the engine has not flown either.

However the statement "they are not flying anything yet" is obviously not true.

They also have spent apparently a magnitude more time inching closer to Lynx program than they did with their last vehicles.

Sticking a small rocket motor on the back of a kit-built airplane isn't really experience with space launch.
XCOR is not building a space launch vehicle, nor is it building a vehicle that would reach space. Lynx Mk 1 is not designed to go to space. It is an incremental step up from what they were doing before.


Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: ChrisWilson68 on 05/28/2014 08:11 pm
Sticking a small rocket motor on the back of a kit-built airplane isn't really experience with space launch.
XCOR is not building a space launch vehicle, nor is it building a vehicle that would reach space. Lynx Mk 1 is not designed to go to space. It is an incremental step up from what they were doing before.

Still on the XCOR web site, a press release from March 26, 2008 entitled "XCOR Aerospace Suborbital Vehicle to Fly Within Two Years -- New Vehicle called the Lynx":

http://xcor.com/press/2008/08-03-26_Lynx_suborbital_vehicle.html

More than six years later, they still haven't flown any version of Lynx.  They've taken money from lots of customers they've promised to fly into space, though.

Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: TrevorMonty on 05/28/2014 08:14 pm
Their long term goal is space flight but that require lots of $$$$. If they get the Lynx flying even once a day that is $35m annual revenue stream. All going well in few years they should be doing multiple flights a day from various locations.
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: BrightLight on 05/28/2014 08:29 pm
Sticking a small rocket motor on the back of a kit-built airplane isn't really experience with space launch.
XCOR is not building a space launch vehicle, nor is it building a vehicle that would reach space. Lynx Mk 1 is not designed to go to space. It is an incremental step up from what they were doing before.

Still on the XCOR web site, a press release from March 26, 2008 entitled "XCOR Aerospace Suborbital Vehicle to Fly Within Two Years -- New Vehicle called the Lynx":

http://xcor.com/press/2008/08-03-26_Lynx_suborbital_vehicle.html

More than six years later, they still haven't flown any version of Lynx.  They've taken money from lots of customers they've promised to fly into space, though.
I believe they got multiple airplanes flying, I also believe that they got their rocket engines FAA certified (need source?) for racing.  Clearly, they underestimated the difficulties in getting the Lynx system to flight ready status - and they are not pushing the technology, they appear to be maturing as they go along.
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: savuporo on 05/28/2014 08:50 pm
More than six years later, they still haven't flown any version of Lynx.  They've taken money from lots of customers they've promised to fly into space, though.

I am pretty sure they have not promised any customers to fly them to space, when they haven't ever announced any vehicle plans to reach space.
Also there is no question that they are taking things super slow - it has always been more a function of funding, hence all sorts of tangential development programs to keep the lights on.
"Customer flights two years from now" is a standard pretty dumb PR fare that these companies keep putting out, and XCOR is as guilty of this as any other outlet.

The subject raised here was
Quote
It appears that their rocket engine development is paced to create highly reliable, inexpensive to operate, reusable integrated systems

There is also absolutely no question that their rocket engine development so far has been creating highly reliable, inexpensive to operate and reusable systems. If they weren't inexpensive or reliable, the company would be defunct by now.


Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: ChrisWilson68 on 05/28/2014 09:36 pm
More than six years later, they still haven't flown any version of Lynx.  They've taken money from lots of customers they've promised to fly into space, though.

I am pretty sure they have not promised any customers to fly them to space, when they haven't ever announced any vehicle plans to reach space.

Haven't announced any vehicle plans to reach space?  Did you read the press release I linked to in the post you're replying to?  They absolutely announced "vehicle plans to reach space".  From the press release: "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" and "The Lynx will offer affordable access to space for individuals, researchers and educators" and "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."

How could anyone possibly be more clear that they're announcing "vehicle plans to reach space"?

As to whether they've promised customers to fly them to space, this press article says "Rides also are being sold on the Lynx for $95,000 each and will allow the company to take part in the space tourism industry. About 175 already have been purchased."

http://www.mrt.com/editors_picks/article_4345625e-c892-11e1-a3d2-001a4bcf887a.html

Also there is no question that they are taking things super slow - it has always been more a function of funding, hence all sorts of tangential development programs to keep the lights on.
"Customer flights two years from now" is a standard pretty dumb PR fare that these companies keep putting out, and XCOR is as guilty of this as any other outlet.

The subject raised here was
Quote
It appears that their rocket engine development is paced to create highly reliable, inexpensive to operate, reusable integrated systems

There is also absolutely no question that their rocket engine development so far has been creating highly reliable, inexpensive to operate and reusable systems. If they weren't inexpensive or reliable, the company would be defunct by now.

The rocket engines you're talking about are the little ones they mount on the back of kit planes.  Those are so small XCOR would have to be completely incompetent for them not to be reliable and inexpensive.  That's no evidence at all they can do large engines, let alone whole vehicles, more reliably or cheaply than the other companies doing them.
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: ChrisWilson68 on 05/28/2014 09:43 pm
More than six years later, they still haven't flown any version of Lynx.  They've taken money from lots of customers they've promised to fly into space, though.

I am pretty sure they have not promised any customers to fly them to space, when they haven't ever announced any vehicle plans to reach space.

How could anyone possibly be more clear that they're announcing "vehicle plans to reach space"?

As to whether they've promised customers to fly them to space, this press article says "Rides also are being sold on the Lynx for $95,000 each and will allow the company to take part in the space tourism industry. About 175 already have been purchased."

http://www.mrt.com/editors_picks/article_4345625e-c892-11e1-a3d2-001a4bcf887a.html

See also the page on their web site that is entitled "Purchase a Ticket to Space Aboard The Lynx".  This is where they actively solicit people to pay them to go to space on Lynx.

http://xcor.com/flytospace/
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: savuporo on 05/28/2014 10:22 pm
Haven't announced any vehicle plans to reach space?  Did you read the press release I linked to in the post you're replying to?  They absolutely announced "vehicle plans to reach space".  ..
Yeah i have and yes i know, since these announcements were made - they have been derided by many, including up in this thread and by myself, for this. PR BS and hype, and its dumb.
But at the same time have always said that even though their first Lynx vehicle will enter "commercial service" it will not go higher than 60 km or so, which is not space - and any even slightly informed observer knows that, and you can be sure any customer that has given them money, does, too.

Their engines ( of any size that they have built ) have proven reliable, and their previous rocket powered airplanes proved reliable and inexpensive, too. They are currently building yet another rocket powered airplane that is designed to go higher and faster than their previous rocket powered airplanes, "spaceship" marketing labels notwithstanding.

The statement "their rocket engine development is paced to create highly reliable, inexpensive to operate, reusable integrated systems" has a pretty solid basis.
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: ChrisWilson68 on 05/28/2014 11:13 pm
Haven't announced any vehicle plans to reach space?  Did you read the press release I linked to in the post you're replying to?  They absolutely announced "vehicle plans to reach space".  ..
Yeah i have and yes i know, since these announcements were made - they have been derided by many, including up in this thread and by myself, for this. PR BS and hype, and its dumb.
But at the same time have always said that even though their first Lynx vehicle will enter "commercial service" it will not go higher than 60 km or so, which is not space - and any even slightly informed observer knows that, and you can be sure any customer that has given them money, does, too.

First, you say they never claimed to be working on vehicles to go to space.  Then, when I point out that they did claim that, you say nobody should be dumb enough to actually believe them.

How exactly do you think that helps your case?

Their engines ( of any size that they have built ) have proven reliable, and their previous rocket powered airplanes proved reliable and inexpensive, too. They are currently building yet another rocket powered airplane that is designed to go higher and faster than their previous rocket powered airplanes, "spaceship" marketing labels notwithstanding.

The statement "their rocket engine development is paced to create highly reliable, inexpensive to operate, reusable integrated systems" has a pretty solid basis.

Their previous rocket powered airplane was a kit plane that they didn't design.  They just took an off-the-shelf design and added a small rocket motor.

I see nothing in either their history of broken promises or underwhelming small-scale rocketry that gives a "solid basis" for believing they will make a cheaper or more reliable system for access to suborbital space than anyone else.
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: QuantumG on 05/28/2014 11:19 pm
I see nothing in either their history of broken promises or underwhelming small-scale rocketry that gives a "solid basis" for believing they will make a cheaper or more reliable system for access to suborbital space than anyone else.

I'm still waiting for you to post a single "promise" that has been broken. I know you won't find one, because Jeff doesn't make promises. In fact, when he talks to the media he says things like "we expect and hope, which is not the same as a promise, ...", and frankly, I think I'm safe in saying that they don't really care what you believe.




Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: A_M_Swallow on 05/28/2014 11:29 pm
How is the life support system going?  The passengers and crew need oxygen at 60 km up.
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: savuporo on 05/29/2014 12:09 am
First, you say they never claimed to be working on vehicles to go to space.  Then, when I point out that they did claim that, you say nobody should be dumb enough to actually believe them.

How exactly do you think that helps your case?
I am an engineer, i read past the marketing BS, and i made it clear that i dislike the marketing BS and hyperbole, regardless of who puts it out.
Again, XCOR has always said their first Lynx version will not reach space - regardless of how many times the word "space" shows up in their PR.

Their "underwhelming small-scale rocketry" appears to be enough to score a cool $14M in series B funding which presumably puts their valuation somewhere north of $40M or so. Not a lot for all the years worth of sweat and determination, but well deserved.

By the way, i bought a computer part in about 1998 that was said to be "worlds fastest graphics card". I'm really starting to hate its decade long broken promises now.
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: Robotbeat on 05/29/2014 03:06 am
XCOR's Lynx has a better operational model than SS1 in the long term. And except for way back in 2008, XCOR has been very consistent about saying "it'll be ready when it's ready." Better than most companies, definitely.

ChrisWilson, what problem do you have with XCOR, again?
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: Lars_J on 05/29/2014 06:09 am
I shouldn't speak for him, but I don't think he has a problem - we are just reacting to the hyperbola of the statement that XCOR's "rocket engine development is paced to create highly reliable, inexpensive to operate, reusable integrated systems" when neither the A) engine nor B) the integrated system (LYNX) has flown yet.

Again, it may be proven true eventually, but given the history of the "newSpace" industry in the last decade, it seems presumptuous at this point.
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: savuporo on 05/29/2014 06:37 am
..hyperbola of the statement that XCOR's "rocket engine development is paced to create highly reliable, inexpensive to operate, reusable integrated systems" when neither the A) engine nor B) the integrated system (LYNX) has flown yet.
And neither XCOR, nor the original poster connected that statement to spaceflight, space launch vehicles, Lynx or the engine that is designed for Lynx. Hyperbole in this case is entirely modulated in by uninformed observers.
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: Lars_J on 05/29/2014 06:52 am
And neither XCOR, nor the original poster connected that statement to spaceflight, space launch vehicles, Lynx or the engine that is designed for Lynx.

Really? Have you taken a look at the thread title recently? And I suggest you read the post that triggered my comment, for context:
http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=19033.msg1205362#msg1205362
Yeah, one might reasonably assume that he/she is dicussing Lynx here, since Lynx is mentioned in the same sentence that I pulled the quote from.

Hyperbole in this case is entirely modulated in by uninformed observers.

Someone is getting a wee bit touchy about having their opinion challenged this morning/evening.
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: ChrisWilson68 on 05/29/2014 07:23 am
I shouldn't speak for him, but I don't think he has a problem - we are just reacting to the hyperbola of the statement that XCOR's "rocket engine development is paced to create highly reliable, inexpensive to operate, reusable integrated systems" when neither the A) engine nor B) the integrated system (LYNX) has flown yet.

Again, it may be proven true eventually, but given the history of the "newSpace" industry in the last decade, it seems presumptuous at this point.

Yeah, that's exactly what I think.  XCOR may or may not succeed in getting a highly reliable and cheap system for passenger access to suborbital space working.  I wish them well and I hope they succeed.  I just think the statements that we should be confident they will succeed are not justified.
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: Star One on 05/29/2014 11:54 am

I shouldn't speak for him, but I don't think he has a problem - we are just reacting to the hyperbola of the statement that XCOR's "rocket engine development is paced to create highly reliable, inexpensive to operate, reusable integrated systems" when neither the A) engine nor B) the integrated system (LYNX) has flown yet.

Again, it may be proven true eventually, but given the history of the "newSpace" industry in the last decade, it seems presumptuous at this point.

Yeah, that's exactly what I think.  XCOR may or may not succeed in getting a highly reliable and cheap system for passenger access to suborbital space working.  I wish them well and I hope they succeed.  I just think the statements that we should be confident they will succeed are not justified.

Nor is consistent negativity.
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: sghill on 06/18/2014 03:41 pm
For anyone who wants to try their luck (and support charity in the process) XCOR is offering 1 ticket to space for every $1 million raised through the Ugency Network of charities.

$10 gets you ten entries for the grand prize- an actual trip to space on the Lynx!

https://www.urgencynetwork.com/f/2438-46569-2861

It also gives the proponents and doubters of XCOR on this- rather testy- thread a chance to put their money where their mouth is, so to speak about XCOR actually flying. :)
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: QuantumG on 06/18/2014 10:17 pm
Alex Knapp has a new article about XCOR up at Forbes.

http://www.forbes.com/sites/alexknapp/2014/06/18/bootstrapping-to-the-stars/

Some interesting quotes in there.
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: Lar on 06/18/2014 11:24 pm
A bit less testiness would be a good thing. I expect we ALL wish XCOR well in their endeavours, and we can disagree about various aspects without losing our friendships.
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: zaitcev on 07/01/2014 02:42 am
I think I'm safe in saying that they don't really care what you believe.

It is not under discussion if Jeff Greason dismisses the critique made by an anonymous forum poster (who we will be calling "Chris"). The point here is if Chris' critique valid. You and Sav managed to drag him into the formal definition of promises made, an area where he's going to lose the Internet argument because Jeff is much too smart for that, as you observed. But that loss changes nothing in the fact that XCOR's program is delayed by many years. The story of the "flight fuselage" that magically transformed into "flight weight fuselage" after inspection at XCOR is but a small piece. It was a setback after setback like that and it was going on for many years. Chris identified just 4. Unfortunately, when a program drags out, its costs balloon. Also, it's going to be progressively more difficult to find suckers to put their money into the venture. If XCOR was only financed by the "day job" contracts, such as the piston pump, it would be nothing. But they also were entering into the ticket-selling schemes. That is going to have a PR impact sooner or later.
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: QuantumG on 07/01/2014 03:30 am
That is going to have a PR impact sooner or later.

People might start comparing them to Virgin Galactic?
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: woods170 on 07/01/2014 06:34 am
That is going to have a PR impact sooner or later.

People might start comparing them to Virgin Galactic?

Might start..? Where I live they started comparing XCOR to Virgin Galactic several years ago, shortly after the time some not-so-bright character came up with the whole space experience Curacao thingy.
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: QuantumG on 07/01/2014 06:43 am
Speaking of which...

Quote from: Press Release
XCOR Aerospace Acquires Space Expedition Corporation

SXC to become “XCOR Space Expeditions,” an Open, Global Platform for XCOR® Lynx® Flights

June 30, 2014, Mojave, CA — XCOR Aerospace announced today that it has closed the acquisition of all operational subsidiaries of Space Expedition Corporation, the previously independent Dutch company also known as SXC. SXC served as XCOR’s general sales agent for XCOR® Lynx® flight sales and as their lead wet lease customer. The new sales entity, XCOR Space Expeditions, will continue to focus on sales, commercial partnerships and participant (customer) training on a global level, and will serve as an open sales channel available for all future XCOR Lynx wet lease clients.

The acquisition signals XCOR’s commitment to being “the most active space flight company in the world” through a marked increase in integrated sales activities and multiple wet lease operations. As the most active spaceflight company in the world, XCOR is poised to become the company which delivers the most value for the price. With its high frequency of flights, XCOR will learn the most the quickest in the emerging commercial spaceflight industry and more customers will benefit from Lynx’s incredible in-the-cockpit experience.

XCOR CEO Jeff Greason noted that “For the past two years, SXC has provided XCOR Aerospace with an expanding roster of new customers and commercial partners. As XCOR Space Expeditions, we look forward to making the most of their expertise and insights with customers and commercial partners. With their sales and marketing engine now a part of the XCOR brand, we deepen the connection between customers and Lynx.”

“Both as a founder of SXC, and through my background in e-Business and Formula One, I understand that exceptional engineering and design are vital for performance and the overall customer experience,” said SXC co-founder and XCOR Aerospace board member Michiel Mol. “XCOR Aerospace is the best I’ve seen in spacecraft and rocket engine design. With this acquisition XCOR Space Expeditions will provide direct connection to the XCOR brand and more up-to-date information about Lynx for individual ticket holders, wet lease customers and commercial partners. The result is an integrated XCOR that will inspire our customers and investors, and deliver a more seamless and exciting experience overall.”

Detailed terms of the transaction were not disclosed. The all-stock transaction was reviewed by the United States Treasury Department’s Committee on Foreign Investment in the US (CFIUS) which determined the acquisition and exchange of shares was not a “covered transaction.”

http://www.xcor.com/press/2014/14-06-30_xcor_acquires_space_expedition_corporation.html

That's news, as XCOR has been trying to avoid being involved in the customer facing side for a while.

The website has already been updated: http://spacexc.com/en/home/

Quote
Founder    100,000 USD    +100 km    Lynx Mark II    Curacao, Mojave    Q3 2015
Future    100,000 USD    +100 km    Lynx Mark II    Curacao, Mojave    Q1 2016
Pioneer    95,000 USD     +60 km    Lynx Mark I    Mojave    Q4 2014

This schedule is indicative only and subject to change.

Indeed.
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: woods170 on 07/01/2014 07:15 am
The website has already been updated: http://spacexc.com/en/home/

Quote
Founder    100,000 USD    +100 km    Lynx Mark II    Curacao, Mojave    Q3 2015
Future    100,000 USD    +100 km    Lynx Mark II    Curacao, Mojave    Q1 2016
Pioneer    95,000 USD     +60 km    Lynx Mark I    Mojave    Q4 2014

This schedule is indicative only and subject to change.

Indeed.
I notice you being an Australian has not affected your British sense of understatement.
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: sdsds on 08/16/2014 06:33 pm
Wall Breaking Ceremony Marks Start of Hangar Rennovations
August 15, 2014, Midland, Texas—At 10am this morning, just feet from the runway which will rocket XCOR® Lynx® customers to space and back, Midland Development Corporation and XCOR Aerospace® invited local officials, contractors, Midland residents and local press to attend the kickoff of new renovations on the XCOR hangar with a ceremonial wall breaking inside of XCOR’s Commercial Spaceflight Research and Development Center Headquarters at Midland International Airport (MAF). [...]
The XCOR hangar will become the home of the first XCOR Lynx suborbital spacecraft, XCOR’s corporate headquarters, and its research and development facilities.
Hangar renovations are expected to commence immediately by local construction firm N.C. Sturgeon, with completion of hangar renovations by early summer of 2015.


http://xcor.com/press/2014/14-08-15_XCOR_breaking_down_walls_with_midland.html
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: sdsds on 08/29/2014 05:48 am
"I'm in the private space business because I don't feel like waiting 20 years for something to happen." --Jeff Greason
http://www.cnbc.com/id/101911569

:)
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: jongoff on 09/01/2014 12:43 pm
"I'm in the private space business because I don't feel like waiting 20 years for something to happen." --Jeff Greason

Jeff always seems to have a way of stating how I feel more eloquently than I could.

~Jon
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: Prober on 09/06/2014 12:25 pm
Up to a Point: A 'Space Corvette' in Every Garage 

http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2014/09/06/up-to-a-point-a-space-corvette-in-every-garage.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+thedailybeast%2Farticles+%28The+Daily+Beast+-+Latest+Articles%29

not a well written article; but some things of interest maybe to some.

Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: sdsds on 09/07/2014 05:55 am
"All my rocket ship disappointments are the result of there not being enough private companies like XCOR Aerospace."
  --PJ O'Rourke

http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2014/09/06/up-to-a-point-a-space-corvette-in-every-garage.html
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: prime8 on 09/12/2014 08:02 pm
Perhaps this topic has already been addressed in this thread but what's taking XCOR so long? It looks to me like they have a far superior propulsion system to Virgin and a significantly smaller and easier to build vehicle. When are they going to start powered flight?

I'm seriously interested from an engineering and management perspective. What are the challenges they are facing that are causing it to take them this long to reach powered flight?
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: Lars_J on 09/12/2014 09:42 pm
Perhaps this topic has already been addressed in this thread but what's taking XCOR so long? It looks to me like they have a far superior propulsion system to Virgin and a significantly smaller and easier to build vehicle. When are they going to start powered flight?

I'm seriously interested from an engineering and management perspective. What are the challenges they are facing that are causing it to take them this long to reach powered flight?

VG and Scaled Composites have a lot of aircraft experience - and spacecraft experience after SS1. What they have issues with is propulsion.

XCOR is the opposite of that. They appear to have a solid propulsion system, but are lacking in the air/spacecraft design and production. Their biggest obstacle is the Lynx itself, not the propulsion.
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: manboy on 09/14/2014 07:44 am
"I'm in the private space business because I don't feel like waiting 20 years for something to happen." --Jeff Greason
http://www.cnbc.com/id/101911569

:)
Meanwhile the Lynx is at least four years behind schedule.
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: mheney on 09/14/2014 04:02 pm
"I'm in the private space business because I don't feel like waiting 20 years for something to happen." --Jeff Greason
http://www.cnbc.com/id/101911569

:)
Meanwhile the Lynx is at least four years behind schedule.

Speaking as an XCor investor, I'd much rather the company takes the time they need to get it right rather than rush an dcut corners to meet an artificial deadline.  Add in the fact that I'm signed up to fly on the Lynx, and I'm even more inclined to be patient.


Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: Robert Thompson on 09/14/2014 04:48 pm
Can someone list off the predictions of year by year?
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: sdsds on 09/14/2014 07:34 pm
Can someone list off the predictions of year by year?

Here's one:

Greason, February, 2011: "Will fly when it is safe to fly."

I'd be surprised if you found very many statements, earlier or later than that, which were much different.
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: manboy on 09/15/2014 01:00 am
Can someone list off the predictions of year by year?
This is the press release from when Lynx was first announced.

http://xcor.com/press/2008/08-03-26_Lynx_suborbital_vehicle.html

For years the initial test flight was always two years away.
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: QuantumG on 09/15/2014 01:05 am
Can someone list off the predictions of year by year?
This is the press release from when Lynx was first announced.

http://xcor.com/press/2008/08-03-26_Lynx_suborbital_vehicle.html

For years the initial test flight was always two years away.

Welcome to the reality of shoestring development. If ya think you can do better, feel free to max out your own credit cards. That's literally what XCOR has been running on for years.
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: Robert Thompson on 09/15/2014 01:19 am
Does anyone know the annual budget for VG and XCOR?
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: manboy on 09/15/2014 01:25 am
Can someone list off the predictions of year by year?

Here's one:

Greason, February, 2011: "Will fly when it is safe to fly."

I'd be surprised if you found very many statements, earlier or later than that, which were much different.
Greason and representatives from XCOR Aerospace have listed timelines many occasions. Slips kept occurring so often that I eventually lost interest in the project.

March 2008 - "XCOR Aerospace Suborbital Vehicle to Fly Within Two Years" (http://xcor.com/press/2008/08-03-26_Lynx_suborbital_vehicle.html)

February 2010 - "The Mark I is expected to begin flight test in early 2011." (https://web.archive.org/web/20100226134036/http://www.xcor.com/products/vehicles/lynx_suborbital.html)

Feburary 2011 - "work is coming along nicely on building the first test flight vehicle which the company hopes to fly by the end of the year." (http://www.parabolicarc.com/2011/02/23/lynx-development-proceeds-test-flight/)

April 2011 - "Early next year, we will make the first sub-orbital flight, after which the final development will speed up tremendously. According to our schedule, we will be ready for commercial take-off by the end of 2013." (https://web.archive.org/web/20110415061317/http://spaceexperiencecuracao.com/blog/press-release-april-12-2011/)

August 2011 - "What we're looking at is flight test operations by next fall." (http://vimeo.com/27785809)

August 2012 - "The first test flights could begin as early as the end of this year." (http://www.popularmechanics.com/science/space/news/_xcor-lynx-dont-sleep-on-the-space-corvette-11644975)

September 2013 - "We're now working toward a rollout in late 2013 or, more likely, early next year." (http://www.space.com/22820-lynx-private-spaceship-jeff-greason.html)

Currently XCOR is planning on doing their initial test flights this winter. Personally I'm curbing my enthusiasm until I see something actually take off.

Can someone list off the predictions of year by year?
This is the press release from when Lynx was first announced.

http://xcor.com/press/2008/08-03-26_Lynx_suborbital_vehicle.html

For years the initial test flight was always two years away.

Welcome to the reality of shoestring development. If ya think you can do better, feel free to max out your own credit cards. That's literally what XCOR has been running on for years.
Maybe you should tell Greason that.
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: Robotbeat on 09/15/2014 02:46 am
I don't get the impatience here, unless you're a paying customer. They're trying to do something that hasn't really been done before, i.e. regular suborbital manned spaceflight for a price that even a (sufficiently motivated) middle class person could afford. They're kind of in a race with Virgin Galactic, who many thought was so far ahead for many years that XCOR's effort was laughable (although I think XCOR's concept of operations is definitely superior). Both companies have faced the inevitable sort of delays you get in this industry, but both are still above water and it seems likely to me that at least one will succeed.

Sit back from the keyboard, relax, and revel in the thought that this is even happening at all and not just some scifi fantasy. Jeff Greason has often said "It'll be ready when it's ready" when asked by persistent reporters. If people ask them when they're expecting to do whatever, I don't think it is dishonest if they say what their internal predictions are. Railing against them for being off in their estimate is pointless. QuantumG is right: if you're not actively doing something to make the future happen, then you have no right to complain about delays.
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: QuantumG on 09/15/2014 03:07 am
It seems to be taking so long, I've not been too sure why they wanted to develop so many engines with different fuels.  If you are a small biz, wouldn't a one fuel strategy be a little more affordable/take less time? 

Either way the engine demos have been superb.  Any flight is sure to be all over the front page news.

It's work for hire. They have to pay the bills.
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: TrevorMonty on 09/15/2014 03:33 am
They had a large cash injection recently which should speed things up. Last I heard they had all the bits to put the first vehicle together and were hoping to start testing by Christmas. Testing will start with taxiing under power then build up to flights, so don't expect to much to start with. There will most likely be the usual problems found while testing which add delays. Hopefully nothing that sends them back to the drawing board.
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: a_langwich on 09/15/2014 05:08 am
The original statement was that XCOR was four years behind their own predictions, and indeed the link http://xcor.com/press/2008/08-03-26_Lynx_suborbital_vehicle.html, issued by XCOR, does say two years after 2008.

What I don't get is why the fawning over Jeff Greason and XCOR and the animosity toward Richard Branson and Virgin Galactic.  You take it personally when someone suggests XCOR made wrong predictions, and assume some grave insult has been dealt to Greason, when over on the Space Ship Two thread someone says Branson has excessive ego--which IS a direct personal attack--and a dozen posts chime in agreeing, without a shred of evidence given or asked (and undoubtedly without an iota of personal knowledge from anyone involved).  There's a double standard here.

Above, statements like "cut some slack, what they are doing is hard" and "what right do you have to be impatient, unless you are a paying customer"  and "he's doing instead of waiting, what are you doing?" apply equally in both cases, but they'll get thrown out in a heartbeat here, and only show up after dozens and dozens of posts in the Space Ship Two thread (and it was probably me saying it).   

I get that people like Jeff Greason's honest, straightforward approach.  I like it too.  It's the way I want to conduct business.  But it's also fair to say Branson's enthusiastic vision-casting predictions, and his past history of delivering on said predictions sooner or later, are a part of why Virgin Galactic can raise the funds that XCOR has lacked.  In fact, the XCOR subsidiaries in Europe and China which are busily signing up customers, are likely making glowing (non-contractual) predictions much like Branson.  (See the April 2011 link above, which was a Branson-like prediction made by a person in sales for XCOR.)  People will take shot after shot at Branson for his lack of technical expertise, but you won't hear a whisper against Greason for his lack of fundraising and financial expertise.  People only talk in this thread about XCOR's engines, which are its one bright spot, while they only talk about Space Ship Two's engine, which is its one struggle.  Truth is, without an airframe and flight tests, there's no evidence XCOR has closed the design performance either, and Greason may know that--"turn out to be complicated"--but people have assumed everything would be wonderful if he had the money.

Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: Chris Bergin on 09/15/2014 11:00 am
Yeah, thread trimmed. The edited above is pretty fair and the END to that conversation (don't test me on that).

I have to say it's incredibly boring to have to deal with posts that I see as an attempt to kill a thread. My patience for such on a Monday morning is borderline at best.

Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: parabolicarc on 09/15/2014 05:06 pm
I have no idea what was edited/deleted, so I'm taking a shot in the dark here on a Monday morning....

If you ask XCOR about the delays, they'll tell you that they got hit by the Great Recession after announcing Lynx in 2008. They were in survival mode and unable to raise money and make much progress on the vehicle for about two years.

They will also tell you the more recent predictions were optimistic. Taking longer to get the elements of the ship designed, manufactured and assembled. It is what it is. XCOR are assembling the first Lynx as we speak in the hangar in Mojave, so things are moving forward.

XCOR has generally not made as many predictions as Virgin Galactic. And I think when they do, they genuinely believe what they're saying. They have been significantly off on all that, which they have no trouble admitting.

With Branson and Attenborough in particular, they've said a lot of things over the years. And I know that their statements have often been at odds with realities on the ground here in Mojave. I knew it, and I'm not even working on the program. Whether they are ill informed and genuinely believe what they're saying or they were merely spinning, I don't know. If they're ill informed, they have a problem with their folks in Mojave not giving them honest assessments. After a decade, you'd think someone would have done something about that.

As long as the discussion is focused on missed deadlines, the larger issues are ignored. To get Branson into space by February or March is a very rushed flight test program. Is that safe? Nobody I talk to thinks so. They believe it's crazy.
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: Robert Thompson on 09/15/2014 10:12 pm
I used every prediction of date, implicit or explicit, as a separate data point. I get XCOR converging to air early second half 2014. They'll have to make more year-out predictions to move that forward.

Whoever said 2008 financial crisis, thank you. That explains more than most.

Edit: Disclosure: My full investment in XCOR is one black polo with XCOR logo that hangs in my closet and I do not recall the last time I wore. But I think Greason is the Ben Franklin of New Space. Someone else might be Jefferson.
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: corrodedNut on 09/16/2014 11:27 am
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EYP0Z5PPU98

Quote
Andy Sullivan hits hole in one on KLM Open ... and her prize is a trip to space!

Andy Sullivan is on the moon after he landed his hole in one at the KLM Open space travel.

The English accomplished the feat in the 163-yard 15th hole on Sunday, and hit shot into contention at -12 in the Netherlands. It is the first time such an award has been featured in a golf tournament. A life-size model of the spacecraft (a Lynx Mark I) which will be in orbit Sillivan shown next to the 15th green.

When asked if he was going to make the trip, Sullivan said, "I'm still not sure, I'll see what he says the lady!"

The 28-year-old is in the 216th place in the world and has never won a European Tour title.

Sullivan pushed the ball two shots behind leader Paul Casey, but the prospect of the rocket launch may be playing on his mind more.

"With this award we want to create awareness among the public that space is now also accessible for everyone," said Michiel Mol XCOR space expeditions, who have offered the prize worth around 100,000.

'Travel to space can be made from the end of 2015 already have 300 reservations.'
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: a_langwich on 09/26/2014 06:29 pm
I have no idea what was edited/deleted, so I'm taking a shot in the dark here on a Monday morning....

If you ask XCOR about the delays, they'll tell you that they got hit by the Great Recession after announcing Lynx in 2008. They were in survival mode and unable to raise money and make much progress on the vehicle for about two years.

Yes, and the same recession affected VG, too.  In addition, they had the matter of lobbying for, designing, and building a spaceport, which they successfully accomplished.  And an explosion that killed three employees and injured three others.

My point wasn't that delays were unreasonable, it was that XCOR's delays are "it is what it is" and VG's delays become "more incompetence at VG, another embarrassment for that idiot Branson."

Quote
They will also tell you the more recent predictions were optimistic. Taking longer to get the elements of the ship designed, manufactured and assembled. It is what it is. XCOR are assembling the first Lynx as we speak in the hangar in Mojave, so things are moving forward.

Yes, after you've passed a deadline it's pretty easy to admit the prediction was optimistic. 


Quote
XCOR has generally not made as many predictions as Virgin Galactic. And I think when they do, they genuinely believe what they're saying. They have been significantly off on all that, which they have no trouble admitting.

You are comparing XCOR's head engineer against VG's marketing team.  That's not a fair comparison.  Of course the engineer will be more loathe to issue predictions and more conservative in making them.  And XCOR hadn't sold tickets for a while, so it had considerably less pressure for the first part of the time frame, and indeed Greason probably never sells tickets.  One would hope the engineering side of a company would not be working the marketing/PR angle as hard as the marketing/PR side.  Somebody has to sell tickets, and to sell tickets people will want to know "when am I going to be able to fly" and after the sale "are we there yet?  are we there yet?  are we there yet?"

Quote
As long as the discussion is focused on missed deadlines, the larger issues are ignored. To get Branson into space by February or March is a very rushed flight test program. Is that safe? Nobody I talk to thinks so. They believe it's crazy.

Why do you think Branson is going into space by February or March?  Surely, given everything you've just said about Branson and predictions, Branson and Mojave mismatches, you can draw a different conclusion.  The most reasonable inference is NOT that Branson will fly when he says and thus the flight test program will be rushed, it's that Branson will once again miss a deadline and the flight test program will be safe and reasonable.  And if that's the case, isn't that the same story as last week, and the week before, going back at least a half decade?  So why is that "the larger issue"?  Isn't that most likely just another missed deadline?  Come on, the wide-eyed wonder that Branson would be wrong is wearing a bit thin.

I'll agree, Branson really should say "it will be ready when it's ready" to the public, and a whole lot of unprintable things and some deadlines to VG and Scaled in private, tied to pay and/or employment.  And he probably should find a chief engineer he can trust who can manage the program better, and have them ready, because it seems likely at this point that some people need a change of scenery.  And truth is, if VG and Scaled can't find a way to make their boss look a little bit better soon, there will be a lot of people getting a change of scenery.  Scaled might stagger on for a little while, but what successes has it had since Rutan retired?

Don't think XCOR wouldn't get hit by the fallout if Branson decided to pull his money out of suborbital.  If you are a fan of the suborbital space industry, you really should be rooting for VG as well as XCOR, lest there be a ".sub bust".  Conversely, if Branson does succeed, XCOR will benefit greatly from positive PR and positive perceptions of suborbital trip providers.  For Branson, as he probably knows, all the delays and mispredictions will be forgotten by the public if he successfully gets the product going, in the same way all of Hubble's cost overruns and delays have been forgotten, and the way JWST's likely will too, once it is launched.

Back to the semi-present, when XCOR finally finishes the first Lynx in the hangar in Mojave, then they can roll it out and be where VG was five years ago.  You may suppose they'll have an easier time of it in flight testing, but that's just a supposition.  These vehicles really are pioneering very different flight profiles from anything done before, so it's reasonable to expect the unforeseen hiccups.
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: QuantumG on 09/26/2014 11:33 pm
Yes, and the same recession affected VG, too.  In addition, they had the matter of lobbying for, designing, and building a spaceport, which they successfully accomplished.  And an explosion that killed three employees and injured three others.

My point wasn't that delays were unreasonable, it was that XCOR's delays are "it is what it is" and VG's delays become "more incompetence at VG, another embarrassment for that idiot Branson."

That's the difference between having hundreds of millions of dollars and a billionaire to draw from, vs operating on the founder's credit cards and the kindness of strangers.

I thought Chris shut down this line of discussion.

Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: Star One on 09/29/2014 01:19 pm
It seems that ten percent of the passengers who have signed up with Xcor are Chinese nationals.

Quote
Du Xiyong, vice-president of XCOR's exclusive booking agency in China, Dexo Travel, says his company was surprised by its success selling tickets on China's biggest e-commerce site, Taobao.

"Most people have never heard of private space flights," he says.

"We hoped to boost awareness in China via Taobao, which boasts tens of millions of users. We didn't expect to sell any tickets on the platform. But the results exceeded our expectations.

"Spaceflight isn't like buying a luxury brand car or visiting beaches to enjoy oneself. It's more like a challenge for one's mind and spirit."

http://www.space-travel.com/m/reports/Galactic_getaway_999.html
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: Lars-J on 10/07/2014 03:48 pm
New(?) pictures of LYNX at SpaceRef: http://spaceref.biz/company/lynx-spacecraft-development-in-pictures.html

EDIT: these images show the 'Wing Strake' components built by FiberDyne: http://www.aero-news.net/getmorefromann.cfm?do=main.textpost&id=040f7855-abd6-45f9-a515-ceed142ca150

EDIT 2: I replaced the images with the full resolution ones from http://www.xcor.com/pressimages/ - the image names now indicate when the fuselage pictures were taken. (Aug 11 2014)

Image credit:  XCOR Aerospace / Mike Massee
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: TrevorMonty on 10/07/2014 09:59 pm
Article says Lynx is coming together, but no mention of when flight testing will start. It is probably a good thing not to give timelines, VG do and are always having to change them.
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: Vultur on 10/08/2014 07:26 am
Image credit:  XCOR Aerospace / Mike Massee

Looks cool. Is this the first vehicle for the test flights?
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: QuantumG on 10/08/2014 08:31 am
Image credit:  XCOR Aerospace / Mike Massee

Looks cool. Is this the first vehicle for the test flights?

Yes, it's the only vehicle right now :)
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: Moe Grills on 10/09/2014 07:48 pm
Article says Lynx is coming together, but no mention of when flight testing will start. It is probably a good thing not to give timelines, VG do and are always having to change them.

Not just that, but the workers have to do their job carefully.
Mistakes can kill, as we have learned from NASA, Soviet and commercial space history.

I luv seeing people actually working with their hands and brawn as well as brain.
It's wonderful seeing something like this actually come together.
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: Elmar Moelzer on 10/10/2014 05:02 am
I might be misinterpreting the pictures, but it looks to me like the first prototype will look quite different from the renderings that we have seen...
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: QuantumG on 10/10/2014 05:48 am
I might be misinterpreting the pictures, but it looks to me like the first prototype will look quite different from the renderings that we have seen...

maybe.. what makes you say that?

The skeleton rarely looks like the skin.
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: john smith 19 on 10/10/2014 05:54 am
New(?) pictures of LYNX at SpaceRef: http://spaceref.biz/company/lynx-spacecraft-development-in-pictures.html

EDIT: these images show the 'Wing Strake' components built by FiberDyne: http://www.aero-news.net/getmorefromann.cfm?do=main.textpost&id=040f7855-abd6-45f9-a515-ceed142ca150

EDIT 2: I replaced the images with the full resolution ones from http://www.xcor.com/pressimages/ - the image names now indicate when the fuselage pictures were taken. (Aug 11 2014)
That shot of the front of the vehicle seems to show a "bubble" windscreen. IIRC Greason was saying making a transparency for high temperature flight that's not flat was very tough.

This will fly up to M3? M5?
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: QuantumG on 10/10/2014 06:50 am
It's a double pressure vessel. The inside of the wind shield is curved but the outside isn't.
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: Lars-J on 10/10/2014 03:56 pm
It's a double pressure vessel. The inside of the wind shield is curved but the outside isn't.

Which seems slightly counter-intuitive, for a supersonic aircraft. ;) I would not be surprised if the final version of the "outside windshield" is more rounded.
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: Elmar Moelzer on 10/10/2014 06:19 pm
It's a double pressure vessel. The inside of the wind shield is curved but the outside isn't.
Ahh, got it and now that I look closely, I can see the same thing in the renderings!
I think I kinda understand why they are doing that.  I assume that a pressure vessel is easier with rounded shell and high temperature windshield is easier when it is flat?
 
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: docmordrid on 10/11/2014 02:45 am
It's a double pressure vessel. The inside of the wind shield is curved but the outside isn't.
Ahh, got it and now that I look closely, I can see the same thing in the renderings!
I think I kinda understand why they are doing that.  I assume that a pressure vessel is easier with rounded shell and high temperature windshield is easier when it is flat?

IIRC the main issue was cost - curved high temp/strength glass isn't cheap.
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: Elmar Moelzer on 10/11/2014 03:54 am
IIRC the main issue was cost - curved high temp/strength glass isn't cheap.
Understood.
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: john smith 19 on 10/11/2014 07:02 am
IIRC the main issue was cost - curved high temp/strength glass isn't cheap.
Yes. That's the reason why it's so tough.   :(

Producing bespoke curved glass transparencies is expensive even with window glass. Dealing with a much higher melting point material, even in fairly small parts,  calls for specialized equipment used by a limited number of suppliers.  IIRC that's why Virgin Galactic went with the small portholes.
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: Rocket Science on 10/11/2014 09:21 am
It's a double pressure vessel. The inside of the wind shield is curved but the outside isn't.

Which seems slightly counter-intuitive, for a supersonic aircraft. ;) I would not be surprised if the final version of the "outside windshield" is more rounded.
Look at the SR-71/YF-12 or X-15 all supersonic to hypersonic
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: simonbp on 10/13/2014 01:16 am
Plus, an optically flat windshield provides a less distorted picture for a space tourist's eyeball or a scientific instrument (XCOR's two markets).
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: Lars-J on 10/13/2014 01:20 am
Plus, an optically flat windshield provides a less distorted picture for a space tourist's eyeball or a scientific instrument (XCOR's two markets).

Not if you have two windshields, now you get the worst of both worlds. :) I see some practical reasons for it, but it strikes me as very... inelegant? None of the other examples listed have two windshields stacked of such different spacing and shape.

I know the holy works of "Saint Greason" should not be questioned lest you open yourself for attack ;), but curious minds do wonder sometimes.

I look forward to seeing it fly - sometime soon, I hope. Two months of progress should have been done since the latest pictures.
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: QuantumG on 10/13/2014 01:35 am
I've never seen the point of it. When you consider that they're also going to have pressure suits on, it's like belt and suspenders wasn't enough so they're also going to tie a rope around their hips (yah, metaphor!)

I can't remember when it was, but someone was talking this up as being a very safe design and a questioner innocently asked if the crew were going to have ejector seats, or at least parachutes, and there was an uncomfortable pause before the speaker tried to claim that the crew were safer without a bailout capability.

Whenever people make "safety innovations" they seem to forget that actually flying is an important prerequisite. Lack of safety is not the reason why no-one is flying on suborbital hops today - lack of flights is. If you want to make version 2 of your operational vehicle 10x safer because you have strong market demand for such a vehicle, go for it, but version 1 should just fly.

Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: Zed_Noir on 10/13/2014 01:42 am
Plus, an optically flat windshield provides a less distorted picture for a space tourist's eyeball or a scientific instrument (XCOR's two markets).

Not if you have two windshields, now you get the worst of both worlds. :) I see some practical reasons for it, but it strikes me as very... inelegant? None of the other examples listed have two windshields stacked of such different spacing and shape.
...
Well, there were the F-102 Delta Dagger & F-106 Delta Dart jet fighters with their flat panel front windshields comes to mind.

As for un-distorted view from the cockpit, there is always the overhead and side windshields.
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: Lars-J on 10/13/2014 01:45 am
Plus, an optically flat windshield provides a less distorted picture for a space tourist's eyeball or a scientific instrument (XCOR's two markets).

Not if you have two windshields, now you get the worst of both worlds. :) I see some practical reasons for it, but it strikes me as very... inelegant? None of the other examples listed have two windshields stacked of such different spacing and shape.
...
Well, there were the F-102 Delta Dagger & F-106 Delta Dart jet fighters with their flat panel front windshields comes to mind.

As for un-distorted view from the cockpit, there is always the overhead and side windshields.

You missed my point. Read it again. None of the examples listed (including your two new ones) has a rounded windshield inside a flat windshield.
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: baldusi on 10/13/2014 01:53 am

Plus, an optically flat windshield provides a less distorted picture for a space tourist's eyeball or a scientific instrument (XCOR's two markets).

Not if you have two windshields, now you get the worst of both worlds. :) I see some practical reasons for it, but it strikes me as very... inelegant? None of the other examples listed have two windshields stacked of such different spacing and shape.

I know the holy works of "Saint Greason" should not be questioned lest you open yourself for attack ;), but curious minds do wonder sometimes.

I look forward to seeing it fly - sometime soon, I hope. Two months of progress should have been done since the latest pictures.
The other's examples either didn't went to vacuum or the diameter of the pressure vessel wrt the window sized was much smaller. The inner glass has to be curved because it is part of the pressure vessel . The external is straight because doing glass heat shields curves is terribly expensive.
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: Robotbeat on 10/13/2014 01:54 am
I wonder, exactly how expensive?
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: jongoff on 10/13/2014 01:56 am
I've never seen the point of it. When you consider that they're also going to have pressure suits on, it's like belt and suspenders wasn't enough so they're also going to tie a rope around their hips (yah, metaphor!)

You do know that Randall Clague likes using the phrase "belt, suspenders, duct-tape" to describe his approach to safety, right?

~Jon
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: Zed_Noir on 10/13/2014 02:35 am
Plus, an optically flat windshield provides a less distorted picture for a space tourist's eyeball or a scientific instrument (XCOR's two markets).

Not if you have two windshields, now you get the worst of both worlds. :) I see some practical reasons for it, but it strikes me as very... inelegant? None of the other examples listed have two windshields stacked of such different spacing and shape.
...
Well, there were the F-102 Delta Dagger & F-106 Delta Dart jet fighters with their flat panel front windshields comes to mind.

As for un-distorted view from the cockpit, there is always the overhead and side windshields.

You missed my point. Read it again. None of the examples listed (including your two new ones) has a rounded windshield inside a flat windshield.
Looking through the HUD gun sight in the F-106 would be similar to the looking out Lynx's front windshields. IMO
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: Lars-J on 10/13/2014 04:38 am

Plus, an optically flat windshield provides a less distorted picture for a space tourist's eyeball or a scientific instrument (XCOR's two markets).

Not if you have two windshields, now you get the worst of both worlds. :) I see some practical reasons for it, but it strikes me as very... inelegant? None of the other examples listed have two windshields stacked of such different spacing and shape.

I know the holy works of "Saint Greason" should not be questioned lest you open yourself for attack ;), but curious minds do wonder sometimes.

I look forward to seeing it fly - sometime soon, I hope. Two months of progress should have been done since the latest pictures.
The other's examples either didn't went to vacuum or the diameter of the pressure vessel wrt the window sized was much smaller. The inner glass has to be curved because it is part of the pressure vessel . The external is straight because doing glass heat shields curves is terribly expensive.

The X-15 and SR-71 went pretty darn high up, even if they didn't reach the same altitude. But the cockpit was pressurized, *and* the crew were sitting in pressure suits.

XCOR chooses to do it this way, but that doesn't mean it *has* to be done that way. Shuttle dind't have a round bubble inside the cockpit windows. Cost may be a primary factor for XCor in this instance - But it can be done. Pressurized hulls can have flat windows - see every manned spacecraft ever flown.
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: john smith 19 on 10/13/2014 11:49 am
I wonder, exactly how expensive?
NASA formed  (IIRC) a small "Applied Physics" team to develop various tools, gadgets and processes to support Shuttle maintenance. One of them was  a device that used a prism to measure in detail surface damage to the Shuttle transparencies, to determine if they could be re-ground or if they were unsalvageable.

IIRC saving 1 layer of 1 panel saved somewhere between $20-50k (Sorry it's been a while and it was just one of those neat details I filed away).

This is for flat transparencies ultrasonically bonded to each frame.

I'm sure someone can supply the size of the Shuttle cockpit windows. Usual caveats, it's a NASA programme but I doubt there are many suppliers of this sort of material. Very clear. ground smooth to eliminate stress concentrations at the surface and capable of high temperatures.
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: Rocket Science on 10/13/2014 12:27 pm
They are also saving the weight and cost of building a pressure vessel that has to contain windows.  The outer panes will be for aero and thermal requirements. Their attempt is to separate the two is interesting and the sphere idea seems to be borrowed from submersibles... From my pilot’s perspective vision distortion and magnification for depth perception would be interesting to view first hand. They may use a HUD and synthetic vision for all we know for runway approach details, air data and altitude...
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: Elmar Moelzer on 10/13/2014 01:03 pm
They are also saving the weight and cost of building a pressure vessel that has to contain windows.  The outer panes will be for aero and thermal requirements. Their attempt is to separate the two is interesting and the sphere idea seems to be borrowed from submersibles... From my pilot’s perspective vision distortion and magnification for depth perception would be interesting to view first hand. They may use a HUD and synthetic vision for all we know for runway approach details, air data and altitude...
I don't think that the curved window will cause distortions as long as the thickness of the glass (or whatever it is) remains the same over the entire curvature. I mean there are helicopters with curved windows, have been for decades.
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: Rocket Science on 10/13/2014 01:12 pm
They are also saving the weight and cost of building a pressure vessel that has to contain windows.  The outer panes will be for aero and thermal requirements. Their attempt is to separate the two is interesting and the sphere idea seems to be borrowed from submersibles... From my pilot’s perspective vision distortion and magnification for depth perception would be interesting to view first hand. They may use a HUD and synthetic vision for all we know for runway approach details, air data and altitude...
I don't think that the curved window will cause distortions as long as the thickness of the glass (or whatever it is) remains the same over the entire curvature. I mean there are helicopters with curved windows, have been for decades.
I'm sure Jeff and the team have this covered...

Edit to add: Remember it will a lot thicker than a helo windscreen...
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: Moe Grills on 11/01/2014 04:12 am
I hate doing this, especially after today's tragedy, but how will the loss of life on the SS2 affect the development of the Lynx?
In essence, XCOR are now the only active space tourism vehicle developers and the Lynx the only viable space tourism vehicle left. The FAA and Richard Branson may effectively clip the wings of Virgin Galactic for a long time, and this may effect Lynx development and funding too.
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: zt on 11/01/2014 09:13 am
new photo posted.

http://www.xcor.com/blog/interstellar1/
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: TrevorMonty on 11/01/2014 11:14 am
Actually Blue are also targeting suborbital market, should see something happen within next year.
.

Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: Moe Grills on 11/01/2014 08:44 pm
new photo posted.

http://www.xcor.com/blog/interstellar1/

I pray that it's a safe design and careful assembly.
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: Joel on 11/01/2014 09:42 pm
Can the Lynx fly unmanned? If not, could such an ability be added?
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: Moe Grills on 11/02/2014 02:14 am
Can the Lynx fly unmanned? If not, could such an ability be added?
Why?
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: Joel on 11/02/2014 07:40 am
Can the Lynx fly unmanned? If not, could such an ability be added?
Why?
To mitigate risks until during the test phase. Cf. F9R test failure (which was not a major setback for SpaceX) and the recent SpaceShipTwo failure.
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: Moe Grills on 11/02/2014 03:57 pm
Can the Lynx fly unmanned? If not, could such an ability be added?
Why?
To mitigate risks until the test phase. Cf. F9R test failure (which was not a major setback for SpaceX) and the recent SpaceShipTwo failure.

Commendable purpose, agreed.

as far as unmanned mode? Well....automatic pilots have been around for something like 100 years since Mr. Sperry affixed a crude gyroscopic AP device to a primitive aircraft.
And I don't have to tell you that today's computerized systems are far superior to the good old analog automatic pilots.

The means are there in theory, but motive and opportunity?
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: Joel on 11/02/2014 04:06 pm
The means are there in theory, but motive and opportunity?
Not even considering the human dimension, it should be clear from the VG failure that a crash on a manned test flight could pose an existential threat to a company such as XCOR (without Branson's deep pockets). Motive enough?
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: mheney on 11/02/2014 04:31 pm
People are talking in this and the SpaceShipTwo threads as if an autopilot is a simple piece of technology that you can bolt in under the dash (next to the 8-track player) and have it fly a vehicle through a test program - the purpose of which is to characterize the performance of the vehicle and find out where the edges of the envelope are.  It turns out that people are much better at flying by "feel" than computers are, which is what you need to do to learn what the flight characteristics are.

This was 100% true 30 years ago; it may be 100% false 50 years from now, it is what it is today.
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: Joel on 11/02/2014 05:10 pm
I don't think anyone is claiming that it's easy to "bolt in an autopilot". But a retrofit should be feasible and not doing it from the onset was probably a bad design decision. In hindsight.
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: Lars-J on 11/02/2014 05:43 pm

I don't think anyone is claiming that it's easy to "bolt in an autopilot". But a retrofit should be feasible and not doing it from the onset was probably a bad design decision. In hindsight.
Why? This is designed as a piloted air/spacecraft that will never fly unmanned - and it is being done on a budget. And they will be gradually expanding the envelope, not full up missions from the start.

So please don't go around suggesting knee-jerk "safety features".
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: Kryten on 11/02/2014 05:46 pm

I don't think anyone is claiming that it's easy to "bolt in an autopilot". But a retrofit should be feasible and not doing it from the onset was probably a bad design decision. In hindsight.
Why? This is designed as a piloted air/spacecraft that will never fly unmanned - and it is being done on a budget. And they will be gradually expanding the envelope, not full up missions from the start.

So please don't go around suggesting knee-jerk "safety features".
All of those points could be applied to DC, yet that has an autopilot, and said autopilot has already prevented what would probably have been a serious injury or worse.
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: Vultur on 11/02/2014 06:08 pm
I'm not qualified to judge whether an autopilot is a good idea or not, but either way, one accident should not determine that one way or the other - VG's accident doesn't really tell us anything about Lynx.

If autopilots are a good idea to prevent risk to test pilots, then that should be broadly true, not necessarily specific to suborbital tourism, and it would have been true before the accident too.
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: hop on 11/02/2014 06:37 pm
All of those points could be applied to DC, yet that has an autopilot, and said autopilot has already prevented what would probably have been a serious injury or worse.
DC was a very much more expensive program, with very different requirements. For DC, there are strong reasons to want the vehicle to be able to fly a full orbital flight autonomously. It also needs to have guidance capable of flying the entry and managing the trajectory to get to the landing site autonomously, so going the last mile is not a huge additional effort.

This is very different from vehicles like SS2 and Lynx, which are meant to be high performance aircraft. They don't need to fly autonomously for their nominal operations, and the affordability is supposed to come by being developed and operated like an aircraft.

IMO, this rush to say that vehicles like SS2 and Lynx should be tested unmanned is deeply misguided. As I said in the other thread, losing an airframe is a major setback in this kind of program. If your confidence in the vehicle is so low that it's unacceptable to fly people, the risk of losing an airframe is unsustainable high.

It is demonstrably possible to develop high performance aircraft with a low rate of vehicle loss. Using rockets doesn't fundamentally change this. It's too early to say what the lessons of the SS2 tragedy will be, but I'm pretty confident that it won't be "the only safe way to develop a rocket plane is to fly without crew".
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: Joel on 11/02/2014 07:35 pm
It is demonstrably possible to develop high performance aircraft with a low rate of vehicle loss. Using rockets doesn't fundamentally change this. It's too early to say what the lessons of the SS2 tragedy will be, but I'm pretty confident that it won't be "the only safe way to develop a rocket plane is to fly without crew".
High performance aircraft crash all the time, but things like ejection seats prevent most accidents from being fatal. This year there have been non-fatal crashes of both a Russian T-50 and an American F-35.
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: zaitcev on 11/03/2014 01:52 am
High performance aircraft crash all the time, but things like ejection seats prevent most accidents from being fatal. This year there have been non-fatal crashes of both a Russian T-50 and an American F-35.

In the instance of the fire of F-35 ejection seat was not used. I do not think it could count as an argument.

As for T-50, I'm not aware of any hull losses in the trailing year. If you could provide the date of the mishap, it would help.
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: Joel on 11/03/2014 06:41 am
As for T-50, I'm not aware of any hull losses in the trailing year. If you could provide the date of the mishap, it would help.
I might have remembered wrong. My point was that most hull losses for high performance aircraft are non-fatal thanks to feature such as ejection seats (don't quote me on statistics though).
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: vt_hokie on 11/03/2014 06:50 am


As for T-50, I'm not aware of any hull losses in the trailing year. If you could provide the date of the mishap, it would help.

It was an engine fire on the ground, not a crash. Airframe (http://www.janes.com/images/assets/971/38971/1526400_-_main.jpg) reportedly to be repaired.
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: Zed_Noir on 11/03/2014 01:00 pm
As for T-50, I'm not aware of any hull losses in the trailing year. If you could provide the date of the mishap, it would help.
I might have remembered wrong. My point was that most hull losses for high performance aircraft are non-fatal thanks to feature such as ejection seats (don't quote me on statistics though).
Check the attrition loss rate for USN carrier aircraft. They usually lose about a dozen annually. If the rescue helo don't pick the crew up within the first half hour of them in the water, that is usually fatal.
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: JasonAW3 on 11/03/2014 01:14 pm
Unfortunately, craft in the past may have been lost to insuffucent or a damaged Thermal Protection System, but this has to be the first one lost due to early deployment of its TP System.
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: JasonAW3 on 11/03/2014 02:06 pm
People are talking in this and the SpaceShipTwo threads as if an autopilot is a simple piece of technology that you can bolt in under the dash (next to the 8-track player) and have it fly a vehicle through a test program - the purpose of which is to characterize the performance of the vehicle and find out where the edges of the envelope are.  It turns out that people are much better at flying by "feel" than computers are, which is what you need to do to learn what the flight characteristics are.

This was 100% true 30 years ago; it may be 100% false 50 years from now, it is what it is today.

This is not totally true today as most Jet Fighters utilize a fly by wire system in them that is processed through a set of onboard computers.  This started, primarily, with the F-16 and has gotten to the point where as most programmers put it, "The plane takes the flight control instructions and treats them as a suggestion of where the pilot wants to go, the computers figure out how to accomplish the flight instructions as closely as possible without destroying the plane."

     It has also been said that the F-117 and B-2 bombers could not be flown witout the craft's flight contol computers.  Yet your point about how drone pilots not having the needed physical experience to truely filter and fly drones in a proper manner isll taken.

     Proper haptic and physical feedback, to the level of an advanced simulator would likely come about as close as imaginable, short of setting up a centrifuge as part of a simulator.

     Whether or not this level of complexity is truely needed is open to conjecture, and the concept of "Just enough" simulation may be sufficent for this purpose as similar systems for driving instruction for Race Car Drivers seem to have proven quite successful thus far.
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: pagheca on 11/03/2014 02:34 pm
don't forget remote control is different from autopilot.

However, I got the impression that even today, while it is relatively easy to fly an aircraft (or a launch vehicle) by autopilot and under challenging circumstances...

[vid]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YBo6iWqLqwo[/vid]

...technology is still not mature to test and commission new vehicles.

I would be curious to know from people with direct knowledge - not necessarily pilots, as their opinion may be biased on this issue... :) - if my impression is correct.
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: baldusi on 11/03/2014 03:29 pm
I believe that the UAV revolution has brought a huge level of advancement on the are of autopilot for aircraft. But we are no on the COTS phase for an autopilot that can handle a development program. And both XCOR and Scale Components started about a decade ago. If I were to consider designing a suborbital plane today, it might sound a lot more reasonable to add a serious autopilot (or remote control) than when this programs started. I'm pretty sure that in 10 to 15 years, it will be a no-brainer. But today we are exactly at the point that's a difficult decision to justify. And 10 years ago it might have been considered ridiculous.
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: Robotbeat on 11/05/2014 01:27 am
Yeah, as far as I can tell, neither SS2 nor Lynx are good fits for remote or autonomous control.

If /I/ were to build a spaceplane, I would absolutely make it fly-by-wire and, if it were suborbital (and thus easily reused), then I'd test it 100 times unmanned before putting anyone in it. Good marketing for safety, plus would make the regulators happier and it wouldn't cost me that much (assuming I wanted autonomous or remote capability anyway, which I would).

But XCOR has the anti-fly-by-wire religion. They want a piloted freaking first/second stage (i.e. the one /on-top/ of the airliner, not just the very final stage) for their orbital design, from what I remember. I think that the as-likely-as-not eventual test failure will kill an expensive test pilot (really, really good ones probably make $10-20 million in interest-compounded lifetime earnings) and do damage to the company's image as well as the inevitable year-long stand-down such a high profile failure will cause. If you're going to invest hundreds of millions of dollars on a spaceplane, a dozen million on a remote/autonomous capability is definitely not too much to ask, IMHO, and would allow you to fly the spacecraft packed just with unmanned cargo/experiments, too.


I don't think it's /wrong/ to fly SS2 or Lynx piloted-only, I just wouldn't make that decision if I were in charge.
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: S.Paulissen on 11/05/2014 03:28 am
That is not what fly by wire means.  :-) 

I think what you meant was automated flight control computer.

http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fly-by-wire

As for others attempting to make fighter jet/ss2 comparisons to make the case for automated flight control it doesn't really hold much water.  Many of these fighters were designed using a concept called relaxed  stability.  It required the use of flight control to fly the plane and integrating the pilots commands for direction because creating an airframe that was always on the edge of it's stability allowed for faster response and maneuverability.

http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Relaxed_stability

Edit: fixing phone failure.
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: Robotbeat on 11/05/2014 03:43 am
No, I understand what fly by wire is. Lots easier to integrate remote or autonomous capability if you already have fly-by-wire.
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: S.Paulissen on 11/05/2014 03:52 am
My mistake.  And you are correct it does.  The rest of my post stands and was obviously not directed at you :-).
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: spacetech on 11/05/2014 04:27 am
Yeah, as far as I can tell, neither SS2 nor Lynx are good fits for remote or autonomous control.

If /I/ were to build a spaceplane, I would absolutely make it fly-by-wire and, if it were suborbital (and thus easily reused), then I'd test it 100 times unmanned before putting anyone in it. Good marketing for safety, plus would make the regulators happier and it wouldn't cost me that much (assuming I wanted autonomous or remote capability anyway, which I would).

But XCOR has the anti-fly-by-wire religion. They want a piloted freaking first/second stage (i.e. the one /on-top/ of the airliner, not just the very final stage) for their orbital design, from what I remember. I think that the as-likely-as-not eventual test failure will kill an expensive test pilot (really, really good ones probably make $10-20 million in interest-compounded lifetime earnings) and do damage to the company's image as well as the inevitable year-long stand-down such a high profile failure will cause. If you're going to invest hundreds of millions of dollars on a spaceplane, a dozen million on a remote/autonomous capability is definitely not too much to ask, IMHO, and would allow you to fly the spacecraft packed just with unmanned cargo/experiments, too.


I don't think it's /wrong/ to fly SS2 or Lynx piloted-only, I just wouldn't make that decision if I were in charge.
I don't know about the Lynx specifically, but some 'winged vehicles' are stable subsonic, but not nearly as stable in supersonic flight. F-15s have stability augmentation systems, as does the F-14A. These systems are not really fly-by-wire although they reduce the pilot workload significantly.

On the flip side, the F/A-18 does have manual reversion on the pitch control, even though its a fly-by-wire design. The YF-17 Cobra was not fly-by-wire and flew safely during its development. The difference is that the F/A-18 is flown to the edge of the envelope and the YF-17 was restricted to a limited envelope. This is partially to avoid an unexpected loss of control.

I suspect the reason why Scaled and XCOR avoid fly-by-wire is the complexity if its not strictly required. The physical component cost is not as much of a limit, although the development cost may be the limit.
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: ChrisWilson68 on 11/05/2014 06:07 am
I suspect the reason why Scaled and XCOR avoid fly-by-wire is the complexity if its not strictly required. The physical component cost is not as much of a limit, although the development cost may be the limit.

I suspect it's more about doing what they have experience with.  If the people at Scaled and XCOR came from a background of building drones, they'd likely have made different design decisions.  People do what they know.
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: QuantumG on 11/05/2014 06:10 am
The people at XCOR came from building rocket powered helicopters.
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: simonbp on 11/05/2014 10:02 pm
The people at XCOR came from building rocket powered helicopters.

Manned rocket-powered helicopters...

Right from the beginning, Lynx had a much more extensive test program in mind than SS2. XCOR planned to have a test program that mimicked what they did during the Rocket Racer development, with several flights per day gradually opening up the envelop from rocket-powered taxis to black sky. This would be after gaining many, many hours of ground test time  for the engines.

In contrast, VG/Scaled has been extremely reticent to fire SS2's engine, either on the ground or in flight. Ironically, that inexperience of how the vehicle handled at supersonic speeds could have been a major contributor to the accident.

Manned test flights are always risky, but XCOR has already been doing much more than VG/Scaled to retire as much risk as possible.
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: Robotbeat on 11/06/2014 12:52 am
The people at XCOR came from building rocket powered helicopters.

Manned rocket-powered helicopters...

Right from the beginning, Lynx had a much more extensive test program in mind than SS2. XCOR planned to have a test program that mimicked what they did during the Rocket Racer development, with several flights per day gradually opening up the envelop from rocket-powered taxis to black sky. This would be after gaining many, many hours of ground test time  for the engines.

In contrast, VG/Scaled has been extremely reticent to fire SS2's engine, either on the ground or in flight. Ironically, that inexperience of how the vehicle handled at supersonic speeds could have been a major contributor to the accident.

Manned test flights are always risky, but XCOR has already been doing much more than VG/Scaled to retire as much risk as possible.
Totally agree. I really like XCOR's approach (but again, I'd probably include unmanned capability from the start anyway). Unless you're flying people, I just don't think it makes a lot of sense these days to do spacecraft manned. Especially like a flyback booster or something.
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: RanulfC on 11/06/2014 08:52 pm
If /I/ were to build a spaceplane, I would absolutely make it fly-by-wire and, if it were suborbital (and thus easily reused), then I'd test it 100 times unmanned before putting anyone in it. Good marketing for safety, plus would make the regulators happier and it wouldn't cost me that much (assuming I wanted autonomous or remote capability anyway, which I would).

...And you'd totally miss the point of MANNED suborbital spacecraft :)

We don't fly manned aircraft "unmanned" on test flights only UNMANNED ones because we are testing them AS WE WOULD FLY THEM which is the main, and pretty much ONLY point.

By flying "unmanned" you are in fact NOT testing or "proving" your safety as much as you don't TRUST the vehicle to fly safetly manned :)

Marketing wise you've just lined up all your PR effort against a wall and shot it :) Both Burt and XCOR realize and except that if you WANT a spacecraft that is "treated" like an aircraft you have to test AND operate it like it IS an aircraft. It still doesn't quite work that way in real life (and the FAA has made the call that it will in fact NOT be treated that way) but its a start.

Randy
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: ChrisWilson68 on 11/06/2014 09:05 pm
If /I/ were to build a spaceplane, I would absolutely make it fly-by-wire and, if it were suborbital (and thus easily reused), then I'd test it 100 times unmanned before putting anyone in it. Good marketing for safety, plus would make the regulators happier and it wouldn't cost me that much (assuming I wanted autonomous or remote capability anyway, which I would).

...And you'd totally miss the point of MANNED suborbital spacecraft :)

No, doing some extra testing before sending people up doesn't miss the point.

We don't fly manned aircraft "unmanned" on test flights only UNMANNED ones because we are testing them AS WE WOULD FLY THEM which is the main, and pretty much ONLY point.

That makes no sense.  By that reasoning, they shouldn't have flown SS2 with only two test pilots, they should have flown it with two test pilots and several paying passengers because that's "as we would fly them".

Testing as you fly means to the extent it's practical, not that making it exactly the same overrides all other concerns.  It's not really testing if you're just flying exactly as you would do a real mission, it's just a real mission.

By flying "unmanned" you are in fact NOT testing or "proving" your safety as much as you don't TRUST the vehicle to fly safetly manned :)

Even more nonsense.  Obviously, we don't blindly trust brand new vehicles.  Testing doesn't mean we don't think we'll get to a vehicle we can trust, it's part of achieving that trust.

Marketing wise you've just lined up all your PR effort against a wall and shot it :) Both Burt and XCOR realize and except that if you WANT a spacecraft that is "treated" like an aircraft you have to test AND operate it like it IS an aircraft. It still doesn't quite work that way in real life (and the FAA has made the call that it will in fact NOT be treated that way) but its a start.

Only potential customers who are complete morons would say that a vehicle is less safe because it was tested without a crew first.

Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: Space Ghost 1962 on 11/06/2014 09:20 pm
Randy's right up to this point. But Chris can't be denied either.

I think that with SS2 anomaly there may be pressure to fly and qualify in novel environments/envelope unmanned first.

This might not have saved SS2, because it WAS flown successfully manned for over a year. Who is to say that after you qualify the vehicle for "manned", that then it has another anomaly, which you decide should have been checked for in "unmanned" testing. Point being that there are limits on such bounded testing.

I think the issue is more about the cost of testing driving unwise business decisions to limit the extent of testing.

If unmanned testing can lower the cost of testing while increasing the frequency AND severity (test to near destruction), it has a place in increasing effectiveness here.

But Randy's point will still remain - you must test with people, with pilots. There will be anomalies.
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: Robotbeat on 11/06/2014 11:14 pm
Yeah, I think you'd test with pilots eventually (before passengers), but the platform itself is incredibly dangerous to begin with and in my opinion it's better to get as many bugs out before risking life. That's part of the advantage of reusability: test flights are cheap.
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: QuantumG on 11/07/2014 12:18 am
The XCOR solution is to slowly expand the envelope the way aircraft have been tested for decades. After extensive ground testing of the engines, they'll be doing integrated vehicle hold-down testing, followed by taxi tests (which is probably the first time crew will be in the vehicle while the engines are firing), followed by touch-and-go testing, followed by flying around at low altitude, followed by higher altitude flights, etc, etc.

Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: Moe Grills on 11/07/2014 12:54 am
  Let's throw in a real world scenario: a flat spin.

Are the pilots (pro or rookie) for the Lynx rocket plane being trained how to deal with a potentially deadly flat spin? I imagine that the Lynx rocket plane is fully capable of entering into that dangerous circumstance.
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: QuantumG on 11/07/2014 01:01 am
XCOR's Pilots: http://www.xcor.com/team/pilots.html

Kinda thinking they've forgotten more about flying than we've ever known.
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: hop on 11/07/2014 02:22 am
Yeah, I think you'd test with pilots eventually (before passengers), but the platform itself is incredibly dangerous to begin with and in my opinion it's better to get as many bugs out before risking life. That's part of the advantage of reusability: test flights are cheap.
Test flights can be cheap*, but airframes are not. If you can only afford to build a few, losing them is a big problem whether or not anyone is on board. Flying uncrewed is likely to increase the risk of losing a vehicle significantly.

You also introduce some significant regulatory and operational hassles. Lynx with a pilot flies as an experimental aircraft. While I don't know for certain, it seems very unlikely you would be able to fly an equivalent vehicle as a UAV from Mojave. You would probably need a dedicated range like Spaceport America, which either puts you far from your production facility, or puts your production facility in the middle of nowhere.

* Not so much in the case of SS2 with a motor refurb every flight.
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: jongoff on 11/07/2014 03:32 am
Yeah, I think you'd test with pilots eventually (before passengers), but the platform itself is incredibly dangerous to begin with and in my opinion it's better to get as many bugs out before risking life. That's part of the advantage of reusability: test flights are cheap.

I still liked the incredulity this idea (turning SS2 or Lynx into a UAV for its flight test program) gets from people with actual experience designing, building, and operating high performance UAVs.

~Jon
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: Robotbeat on 11/07/2014 03:44 am
Yeah, I think you'd test with pilots eventually (before passengers), but the platform itself is incredibly dangerous to begin with and in my opinion it's better to get as many bugs out before risking life. That's part of the advantage of reusability: test flights are cheap.

I still liked the incredulity this idea (turning SS2 or Lynx into a UAV for its flight test program) gets from people with actual experience designing, building, and operating high performance UAVs.

~Jon
Hey, I would've designed SS2 or Lynx different in the first place (because of my biases). Neither could be easily modified to be autonomous or remote at this point.
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: Joel on 11/07/2014 06:25 am
If you add a capability of fly-by-wire and flying remotely, you might later be able to operate the rocket plane with a single pilot and have one more paying passenger.
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: Lars-J on 11/07/2014 07:02 am

If you add a capability of fly-by-wire and flying remotely, you might later be able to operate the rocket plane with a single pilot and have one more paying passenger.

You have a talent for comedy. "Hey, we don't trust the plane enough to fly it ourselves, but go ahead and strap in!"

Remote control isn't a cure-all, despite what you recent UAV converts might think. If you think that it is so dangerous to fly a prototype then you probably haven't managed the risk properly. A program like Lynx or SS2 won't last if unmanned prototypes keep falling out of the sky either.

Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: Joel on 11/07/2014 07:19 am
If you add a capability of fly-by-wire and flying remotely, you might later be able to operate the rocket plane with a single pilot and have one more paying passenger.
You have a talent for comedy. "Hey, we don't trust the plane enough to fly it ourselves, but go ahead and strap in!"

Remote control isn't a cure-all, despite what you recent UAV converts might think. If you think that it is so dangerous to fly a prototype then you probably haven't managed the risk properly. A program like Lynx or SS2 won't last if unmanned prototypes keep falling out of the sky either.
I meant having one pilot instead of two, but I guess that would only apply to SS2, since Lynx only has one pilot to begin with. For Lynx, ability for remote landing would add extra safety. If something happens to the pilot, the plane can still come down safely. So investing in remote piloting during test phase could translate into lower cost and/or extra safety during operational phase. Two birds with one stone.

Also, try being respectful. I develop and implement algorithms for model-based control and trajectory optimization for a living. My most important application is flight control of UAVs (rigid wing + quadcopters).
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: wtrix on 11/07/2014 11:49 am
  Let's throw in a real world scenario: a flat spin.

Are the pilots (pro or rookie) for the Lynx rocket plane being trained how to deal with a potentially deadly flat spin? I imagine that the Lynx rocket plane is fully capable of entering into that dangerous circumstance.

Because Lynx has RCS on board, the pilot is not limited to using aerodynamic surfaces only for a control of the craft. Thus, exiting flat spin or transfering to normal spin is easier.
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: Rocket Science on 11/07/2014 12:23 pm
  Let's throw in a real world scenario: a flat spin.

Are the pilots (pro or rookie) for the Lynx rocket plane being trained how to deal with a potentially deadly flat spin? I imagine that the Lynx rocket plane is fully capable of entering into that dangerous circumstance.

Because Lynx has RCS on board, the pilot is not limited to using aerodynamic surfaces only for a control of the craft. Thus, exiting flat spin or transfering to normal spin is easier.
If you are comparing it to SS2 which has nose and wing tip RCS...
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: wtrix on 11/07/2014 12:57 pm
  Let's throw in a real world scenario: a flat spin.

Are the pilots (pro or rookie) for the Lynx rocket plane being trained how to deal with a potentially deadly flat spin? I imagine that the Lynx rocket plane is fully capable of entering into that dangerous circumstance.

Because Lynx has RCS on board, the pilot is not limited to using aerodynamic surfaces only for a control of the craft. Thus, exiting flat spin or transfering to normal spin is easier.
If you are comparing it to SS2 which has nose and wing tip RCS...

So? Every airframe is differnet. Some are even immune to flat spin. SS2 has possibly easier time coming out of flat spin through feathering instead of using RCS. However as you correcly point out, RCS may not be powerful enough to force the aircraft into dive. Instead some oscillating and playing together with aerodynamic surfaces may be needed.

Nevertheless. Flat spin training is definately needed.
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: Rocket Science on 11/07/2014 01:24 pm
  Let's throw in a real world scenario: a flat spin.

Are the pilots (pro or rookie) for the Lynx rocket plane being trained how to deal with a potentially deadly flat spin? I imagine that the Lynx rocket plane is fully capable of entering into that dangerous circumstance.

Because Lynx has RCS on board, the pilot is not limited to using aerodynamic surfaces only for a control of the craft. Thus, exiting flat spin or transfering to normal spin is easier.
If you are comparing it to SS2 which has nose and wing tip RCS...

So? Every airframe is differnet. Some are even immune to flat spin. SS2 has possibly easier time coming out of flat spin through feathering instead of using RCS. However as you correcly point out, RCS may not be powerful enough to force the aircraft into dive. Instead some oscillating and playing together with aerodynamic surfaces may be needed.

Nevertheless. Flat spin training is definately needed.
From my pilot’s perspective one can never train enough for unusual attitudes... I presume you are speaking about upright and inverted flat spins... A simple drogue chute can be incorporated...
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: Star One on 11/07/2014 02:32 pm
Bleeding edge aircraft are still flown manned for a very good reason, you'll probably still find that even the most sophisticated of vehicles are tested in this way because if something goes wrong which they often do when testing at the limits of technology that a man is more likely to be able to keep the vehicle flying and bring it home safely than even the best automated system. I would put good money on it probably being the case that for example when the LRS-B, which is probably going to be the most sophisticated test program at the moment,  gets declassified that it has been tested & flown by pilots not machines.

So I don't see why this or SS2 should be any different in that respect, I've still got more faith in a person still than a machine in these cases.
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: Lars-J on 11/07/2014 03:32 pm
If you add a capability of fly-by-wire and flying remotely, you might later be able to operate the rocket plane with a single pilot and have one more paying passenger.
You have a talent for comedy. "Hey, we don't trust the plane enough to fly it ourselves, but go ahead and strap in!"

Remote control isn't a cure-all, despite what you recent UAV converts might think. If you think that it is so dangerous to fly a prototype then you probably haven't managed the risk properly. A program like Lynx or SS2 won't last if unmanned prototypes keep falling out of the sky either.
I meant having one pilot instead of two, but I guess that would only apply to SS2, since Lynx only has one pilot to begin with. For Lynx, ability for remote landing would add extra safety. If something happens to the pilot, the plane can still come down safely. So investing in remote piloting during test phase could translate into lower cost and/or extra safety during operational phase. Two birds with one stone.

Also, try being respectful. I develop and implement algorithms for model-based control and trajectory optimization for a living. My most important application is flight control of UAVs (rigid wing + quadcopters).

Ok, so maybe the sarcasm was a bit over the top. And I did assume that you mean the Lynx, being in this thread. But still...

There is a reason that no passenger carrying aircraft have ever been flown for the first time unmanned. As far as I know. Not even piloted military aircraft. It just doesn't happen.

Given the rationale that you mention, you would think that big manufacturers like Boeing or Airbus with billion dollar developments, their fly-by-wire systems, AND auto-pilots well capable of flying the thing - They STILL never do unmanned test flights. Why? Because they damned well know that if their expensive plane is that likely to fall out of the sky that they cannot risk a pilot, then they shouldn't fly. Period.

But this is a space-plane you say. All different? Perhaps. But Lynx is a system that they will be able to do very gradual test envelope expansion on. Even more so than SS2 which requires it to be dropped from a carrier aircraft.
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: Joel on 11/07/2014 04:18 pm
Given the rationale that you mention, you would think that big manufacturers like Boeing or Airbus with billion dollar developments, their fly-by-wire systems, AND auto-pilots well capable of flying the thing - They STILL never do unmanned test flights. Why? Because they damned well know that if their expensive plane is that likely to fall out of the sky that they cannot risk a pilot, then they shouldn't fly. Period.

But this is a space-plane you say. All different? Perhaps. But Lynx is a system that they will be able to do very gradual test envelope expansion on. Even more so than SS2 which requires it to be dropped from a carrier aircraft.
I think it's naive to believe that crashes can be avoided, even "gradually expanding the test envelope". Which development of supersonic aircraft has been without crashes? A fatal crash (like SS2's) could spell the end of the Lynx program, an unmanned crash probably less so. Multiple fatal crashes most definitely would. The cost of a crash is not just the cost of building new hardware. Concerning that they "They STILL never do unmanned test flights", they obviously do unmanned test flights of unmanned vehicles (a Reaper isn't exactly cheap), so it's not like it's impossible. Is the risk of crash higher? Possibly.
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: Lars-J on 11/07/2014 04:51 pm
Given the rationale that you mention, you would think that big manufacturers like Boeing or Airbus with billion dollar developments, their fly-by-wire systems, AND auto-pilots well capable of flying the thing - They STILL never do unmanned test flights. Why? Because they damned well know that if their expensive plane is that likely to fall out of the sky that they cannot risk a pilot, then they shouldn't fly. Period.

But this is a space-plane you say. All different? Perhaps. But Lynx is a system that they will be able to do very gradual test envelope expansion on. Even more so than SS2 which requires it to be dropped from a carrier aircraft.
I think it's naive to believe that crashes can be avoided, even "gradually expanding the test envelope". Which development of supersonic aircraft has been without crashes? A fatal crash (like SS2's) could spell the end of the Lynx program, an unmanned crash probably less so. Multiple fatal crashes most definitely would. The cost of a crash is not just the cost of building new hardware. Concerning that they "They STILL never do unmanned test flights", they obviously do unmanned test flights of unmanned vehicles (a Reaper isn't exactly cheap), so it's not like it's impossible. Is the risk of crash higher? Possibly.

Obviously. You test as you fly, so it makes sense to test fly UAV's unmanned. And manned aircraft manned. See the pattern?
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: QuantumG on 11/08/2014 12:00 am
A fatal crash (like SS2's) could spell the end of the Lynx program, an unmanned crash probably less so. Multiple fatal crashes most definitely would. The cost of a crash is not just the cost of building new hardware.

Do go on.. how do you imagine crashes during the flight testing phase of the vehicle could end the Lynx program?

Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: Joel on 11/08/2014 06:44 am
Do go on.. how do you imagine crashes during the flight testing phase of the vehicle could end the Lynx program?
I mean crashes that result in the death of the pilot. It would create the image of a company that treats pilots as expendables. Which would hurt investors and/or potential customers? Also, it would create long blackout periods during crash investigations. But it's just my speculation.
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: QuantumG on 11/08/2014 08:40 am
Do go on.. how do you imagine crashes during the flight testing phase of the vehicle could end the Lynx program?
I mean crashes that result in the death of the pilot. It would create the image of a company that treats pilots as expendables. Which would hurt investors and/or potential customers?

I think the general public has a pretty firm grasp on the concept of a "test pilot".

Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: john smith 19 on 11/08/2014 09:15 am
Not sure if this would be better in the SS2 thread but here's one professional's take on the risk

Newsgroups: rec.aviation.military
From: [email protected] (Mary Shafer)
Subject: Re: QUOTES- Aviation related
Date: Tue, 16 Jan 1996 22:03:05 GMT

On Thu, 11 Jan 1996 15:53:28 -0800, Brian varine <[email protected]> said:

Brian> I remember ROTFL on a post a while back where Mary Shafer said
Brian> something like

Brian> "Absolute safety is for those people without the balls to
Brian> accept reality" or something to that effect.

Brian> How about correcting me on this one?

I wrote, "Insisting on absolute safety is for people who don't have
the balls to live in the real world."

It appeared on sci.space or sci.space.shuttle in 1989 or 1990 during
one of the cyclical "why did NASA blow up the shuttle" threads or on
rec.military during a "how dare those pilots crash the taxpayers'
airplanes" thread, also a cyclical thread.  I had gotten to a point of
complete exasperation when I wrote this.

Here's the whole thing:

   But, no matter what you do, it will never be perfectly, 100% risk-free
   to fly.  Or to drive, or to walk, or to do anything.

   One of our pilots here died when he waited too long to eject from a
   spinning aircraft.  He was wrong; he should have jumped out earlier.
   He failed in his duty, IMO.

   One of our engineers was walking his dog when a car driven by a kid
   jumped the curb and hit him.  Only his leg was broken.  But he walks
   his dog again, now.  Who know better than him the danger?

   There's no way to make life perfectly safe; you can't get out of it alive.

   You can't even predict every danger.  How can you guard against a hazard
   you can't even conceive of?

   I agree that the days of "kick the tires and light the fires" are gone,
   but insisting on perfect safety is the single most reliable way of
   killing an aerospace project.

   I've been on both sides of the FRR (Flight Readiness Review) process
   for a number of aeronautical projects.  Experienced engineers try to
   think of everything that can go wrong.  But airplanes can still
   surprise the best team.

   I've had to sign a form, certifying that to the best of my knowledge
   everything that we're going to do on a flight is safe.  I've never
   seriously asked myself "What will I say to the AIB (Accident
   Investigation Board)" because once one starts on that, the form will
   never be signed, the flight will never be flown, and the research will
   never be done.

   But I have asked myself "Have I told everybody exactly what we're
   going to do and what the _known_ risks are and are we agreed that
   these risks are acceptable" and when I can answer that "yes" I sign
   the form.  That also answers the question of what I'd say to the AIB.

   I'm not talking about abstract theories here, I'm talking about test
   pilots that I've known for decades.  Believe me, I _know_ exactly what
   the consequences of a mistake on my part could mean.  The reminders
   are all around me: Edwards AFB—killed in the XB-49, Lilly
   Ave—first NASA pilot killed at what's now Dryden, Love Rd—I _saw_
   Mike's burning F-4 auger into the lakebed, with him in it.  But once
   I've done my best, like everybody else on the team, it's time to go
   fly the airplane.

   Insisting on perfect safety is for people who don't have the balls to
   live in the real world.


Mary Shafer               NASA Dryden Flight Research Center, Edwards, CA
SR-71 Flying Qualities Lead Engineer     Of course I don't speak for NASA
[email protected]                               DoD #362 KotFR 
URL http://www.dfrc.nasa.gov/People/Shafer/mary.html.

For us this is an academic exercise. For her these were people with faces, families and lives that had ended. BTW in another post she mentioned that the pilot loss rate at Dryden was about 1 pilot a year throughout the decade.

Test flying has become safer, it will never (by its nature) be safe.

I'll note that XCOR has to start flying before it can worry about having a crash, and I hope that will start happening soon  I'll wish Jeff, Doug and Oleta good luck with that.  :(
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: Rocket Science on 11/08/2014 11:37 am
Not sure if this would be better in the SS2 thread but here's one professional's take on the risk

Newsgroups: rec.aviation.military
From: [email protected] (Mary Shafer)
Subject: Re: QUOTES- Aviation related
Date: Tue, 16 Jan 1996 22:03:05 GMT

On Thu, 11 Jan 1996 15:53:28 -0800, Brian varine <[email protected]> said:

Brian> I remember ROTFL on a post a while back where Mary Shafer said
Brian> something like

Brian> "Absolute safety is for those people without the balls to
Brian> accept reality" or something to that effect.

Brian> How about correcting me on this one?

I wrote, "Insisting on absolute safety is for people who don't have
the balls to live in the real world."

It appeared on sci.space or sci.space.shuttle in 1989 or 1990 during
one of the cyclical "why did NASA blow up the shuttle" threads or on
rec.military during a "how dare those pilots crash the taxpayers'
airplanes" thread, also a cyclical thread.  I had gotten to a point of
complete exasperation when I wrote this.

Here's the whole thing:

   But, no matter what you do, it will never be perfectly, 100% risk-free
   to fly.  Or to drive, or to walk, or to do anything.

   One of our pilots here died when he waited too long to eject from a
   spinning aircraft.  He was wrong; he should have jumped out earlier.
   He failed in his duty, IMO.

   One of our engineers was walking his dog when a car driven by a kid
   jumped the curb and hit him.  Only his leg was broken.  But he walks
   his dog again, now.  Who know better than him the danger?

   There's no way to make life perfectly safe; you can't get out of it alive.

   You can't even predict every danger.  How can you guard against a hazard
   you can't even conceive of?

   I agree that the days of "kick the tires and light the fires" are gone,
   but insisting on perfect safety is the single most reliable way of
   killing an aerospace project.

   I've been on both sides of the FRR (Flight Readiness Review) process
   for a number of aeronautical projects.  Experienced engineers try to
   think of everything that can go wrong.  But airplanes can still
   surprise the best team.

   I've had to sign a form, certifying that to the best of my knowledge
   everything that we're going to do on a flight is safe.  I've never
   seriously asked myself "What will I say to the AIB (Accident
   Investigation Board)" because once one starts on that, the form will
   never be signed, the flight will never be flown, and the research will
   never be done.

   But I have asked myself "Have I told everybody exactly what we're
   going to do and what the _known_ risks are and are we agreed that
   these risks are acceptable" and when I can answer that "yes" I sign
   the form.  That also answers the question of what I'd say to the AIB.

   I'm not talking about abstract theories here, I'm talking about test
   pilots that I've known for decades.  Believe me, I _know_ exactly what
   the consequences of a mistake on my part could mean.  The reminders
   are all around me: Edwards AFB—killed in the XB-49, Lilly
   Ave—first NASA pilot killed at what's now Dryden, Love Rd—I _saw_
   Mike's burning F-4 auger into the lakebed, with him in it.  But once
   I've done my best, like everybody else on the team, it's time to go
   fly the airplane.

   Insisting on perfect safety is for people who don't have the balls to
   live in the real world.


Mary Shafer               NASA Dryden Flight Research Center, Edwards, CA
SR-71 Flying Qualities Lead Engineer     Of course I don't speak for NASA
[email protected]                               DoD #362 KotFR 
URL http://www.dfrc.nasa.gov/People/Shafer/mary.html.

For us this is an academic exercise. For her these were people with faces, families and lives that had ended. BTW in another post she mentioned that the pilot loss rate at Dryden was about 1 pilot a year throughout the decade.

Test flying has become safer, it will never (by its nature) be safe.

I'll note that XCOR has to start flying before it can worry about having a crash, and I hope that will start happening soon  I'll wish Jeff, Doug and Oleta good luck with that.  :(
I created a thread for general comments here:

http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=36038.0

Feel free to copy over your good post John...

Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: TrevorMonty on 11/20/2014 08:26 pm
In regards to RL10 replacement that XCOR is developing with ULA, XCOR also have long term plans for it in a considerable larger space plane.

This video is titled "XCOR and the Trillion Dollar Space Industry - Andrew Nelson (SETI Talks)". Andrew mentions it at 57min mark.
As a side note there is talk about suborbital safety at 47min.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EaB4u6ChoOo
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: Moe Grills on 11/24/2014 07:16 pm
  I like reading about long term plans for XCOR, but we all would like to see the first model Lynx roll out of the production hanger. From what I've learned IMHO I see the airframe for Lynx finished before New Year or in the first month of 2015. Avionics and propulsion systems installed may take a few months longer. I think it will rollout out of the hanger before the cameras by July/04...My 2 cents worth.
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: rusty on 11/26/2014 11:56 am
For Lynx, ability for remote landing would add extra safety. If something happens to the pilot, the plane can still come down safely. So investing in remote piloting during test phase could translate into lower cost and/or extra safety during operational phase.
As a backup to pilots, auto or remote piloting is definitely viable. Remote piloting usually precedes all manned flights in model form. The experience gained from test pilots greatly improves the accuracy of remote piloting, both of which are the only means of developing autopilot (computers can't compute what they've never known). But the best piloting, the preferred and safest route will always be an experienced pilot in the seat.
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: TrevorMonty on 11/27/2014 09:04 pm
  I like reading about long term plans for XCOR, but we all would like to see the first model Lynx roll out of the production hanger. From what I've learned IMHO I see the airframe for Lynx finished before New Year or in the first month of 2015. Avionics and propulsion systems installed may take a few months longer. I think it will rollout out of the hanger before the cameras by July/04...My 2 cents worth.
Erik Seed house was on Space show 24Nov talking about his Bigelow book. He is working a XCOR book for release next year with input from XCOR, said Lynx testing should start in middle of next year.
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: BrightLight on 12/18/2014 09:31 pm
XCOR continues to make solid progrerss on the Lynx spaceplane:
http://www.xcor.com/press/2014/14-12-18_Lynx_development_in_pictures_carry_through_spar.html
I look forward to when a Lynx vehicle makes it to the Von Karmen line.
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: Lars-J on 12/18/2014 09:37 pm
XCOR continues to make solid progrerss on the Lynz spaceplane:
http://www.xcor.com/press/2014/14-12-18_Lynx_development_in_pictures_carry_through_spar.html
I look forward to when a Lynx vehicle makes it to the Von Karmen line.

Nice! Here are the two images from the press release, attached:
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: Rocket Science on 12/19/2014 12:55 am
Nice looking ship with a sensible KISS... I wish them continued progress and look forward to its first flight! :)
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: Robotbeat on 12/19/2014 01:05 am
Now they just need to actually fly! Part of me is impatient, but not really. I have faith that XCOR has the best concept, by a significant margin. They'll do it.
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: QuantumG on 12/19/2014 01:10 am
The hope being that once they start flying they'll soon after start making money and then we'll really get to see what they can do.
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: BrightLight on 12/19/2014 01:48 am
From my humble perspective, XCOR appears to be taking slow, gradual steps in the build to get a viable space plane.  I hope they are successful and learn from the others how to build a business plan and a vehicle that can make money and fly cheaply and often.
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: Moe Grills on 12/19/2014 09:32 pm
  Thinking ahead to 2015, when this craft rolls out, and has to undergo taxiing and braking tests, will they tow the craft upto landing speed by a wheeled vehicle? Or use its own rocket motors for such a ground motion test?
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: QuantumG on 12/20/2014 12:02 am
They'll probably do tow tests first.
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: BrightLight on 02/01/2015 01:53 pm
Some testing done on the Lynx:
"After the spar was installed the entire structure, from front to back was load tested to the equivalent of 6G re-entry, while in the test area the cabin was pressurized to 11 PSI, the first pressure test after being bonded to the fuselage"
Just more Build A Little, Test A Little.
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: Robotbeat on 02/22/2015 12:43 am
What's the status, here?

We're going to run out of "learning period."
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: SpacemanInSPACE on 03/03/2015 06:05 am
I think Xcor has greater potential over VG at flying to orbit. Also Jeff Greason seems like such a cool guy.
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: Lars-J on 03/03/2015 04:14 pm
I think Xcor has greater potential over VG at flying to orbit. Also Jeff Greason seems like such a cool guy.

He does. But sadly that doesn't add any delta-V to the performance of the vehicle. ;)
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: MattMason on 03/16/2015 04:56 pm
XCOR has a new CEO.

http://www.astrowatch.net/2015/03/xcor-announces-jay-gibson-as-new-ceo.html (http://www.astrowatch.net/2015/03/xcor-announces-jay-gibson-as-new-ceo.html)
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: Robotbeat on 03/16/2015 11:36 pm
Jeff Greason was apparently looking for a CEO to replace himself for quite a while. Jeff is going to be chairman, so still will be critical for strategic decisions, but I think he's looking to take on a more technical role.
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: TrevorMonty on 04/13/2015 06:22 pm
XCOR have a tweet showing picture of a fullsize model of a 25klb engine. My guess is the RL10 replacement which ULA will announce today.
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: Zond on 05/02/2015 05:43 pm
Quote
Greason, on when Lynx prototype will fly: the wings don’t arrive until fall, and it won’t fly before the wings arrive.
https://twitter.com/jeff_foust/status/594546350588497923 (https://twitter.com/jeff_foust/status/594546350588497923)
At this rate they'll be lucky if the Lynx flies in 2016.
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: Lars-J on 05/03/2015 12:16 am

Quote
Greason, on when Lynx prototype will fly: the wings don’t arrive until fall, and it won’t fly before the wings arrive.
https://twitter.com/jeff_foust/status/594546350588497923 (https://twitter.com/jeff_foust/status/594546350588497923)
At this rate they'll be lucky if the Lynx flies in 2016.

Yikes. Yes, so much for the imminent reveal of the completed Lynx. (This is the impression spread by many people who have connection at XCOR - some on this forum)
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: docmordrid on 05/03/2015 02:05 am
Quote
Greason, on when Lynx prototype will fly: the wings don’t arrive until fall, and it won’t fly before the wings arrive.
https://twitter.com/jeff_foust/status/594546350588497923 (https://twitter.com/jeff_foust/status/594546350588497923)
At this rate they'll be lucky if the Lynx flies in 2016.

In this same Q&A Greason stated he prefers  horizontally integrated companies to vertical.  A strange comment given the apparent long delays  getting Lynx's wings.
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: Moe Grills on 05/06/2015 10:03 pm
Quote
Greason, on when Lynx prototype will fly: the wings don’t arrive until fall, and it won’t fly before the wings arrive.
https://twitter.com/jeff_foust/status/594546350588497923 (https://twitter.com/jeff_foust/status/594546350588497923)
At this rate they'll be lucky if the Lynx flies in 2016.

In this same Q&A Greason stated he prefers  horizontally integrated companies to vertical.  A strange comment given the apparent long delays  getting Lynx's wings.

I've read this book before, haven't I? It was about Virgin Galactic and all of their delays and setbacks.
Welcome to the rocket-ship development and testing delay syndrome, Mr. Greason. You have company.
Well, at least Blue Origin has hardware that has flown, and it almost made the Karman Line too.
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: QuantumG on 05/06/2015 11:07 pm
I've read this book before, haven't I? It was about Virgin Galactic and all of their delays and setbacks.
Welcome to the rocket-ship development and testing delay syndrome, Mr. Greason. You have company.
Well, at least Blue Origin has hardware that has flown, and it almost made the Karman Line too.

It really is worth pointing out at this point that you don't have either. Show some respect for the people who are actually doing.
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: Paul Adams on 05/06/2015 11:22 pm
Of all the rides that will (hopefully) be available, I will chose Lynx. Not because of the price, but rather sitting in the co-pilots seat. Being weightless and floating around a cabin has its attractions, but getting a 'pilots' view all the way up and back is what interests me.
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: QuantumG on 05/06/2015 11:27 pm
Of all the rides that will (hopefully) be available, I will chose Lynx. Not because of the price, but rather sitting in the co-pilots seat. Being weightless has it's and floating around a cabin has its attractions, but getting a 'pilots' view all the way up and back is what interests me.

I can't remember if it was at a conference or in a private conversation that I head (so I apologize if it was in a private conversation to whoever it was that told me) but I understand XCOR are not opposed to the possibility of actually training up pilots to fly the Lynx themselves. I don't think any other provider will be offering that possibility any time soon :)
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: meekGee on 05/07/2015 05:53 am
Quote
Greason, on when Lynx prototype will fly: the wings don’t arrive until fall, and it won’t fly before the wings arrive.
https://twitter.com/jeff_foust/status/594546350588497923 (https://twitter.com/jeff_foust/status/594546350588497923)
At this rate they'll be lucky if the Lynx flies in 2016.

In this same Q&A Greason stated he prefers  horizontally integrated companies to vertical.  A strange comment given the apparent long delays  getting Lynx's wings.

I've read this book before, haven't I? It was about Virgin Galactic and all of their delays and setbacks.
Welcome to the rocket-ship development and testing delay syndrome, Mr. Greason. You have company.
Well, at least Blue Origin has hardware that has flown, and it almost made the Karman Line too.

In comparison to VG, XCOR has a much better concept for a vehicle and engine, and is working with a much smaller budget.

Between the two, they are by far the more impressive and have my vote.

BO is a different breed altogether.  The suborbital business is almost an afterthought - it is a step on the way to full orbital HSF technology.  I wouldn't put BO in the same category as XCOR and VG.

Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: Robotbeat on 05/07/2015 10:09 pm
"BO is a different breed altogether.  The suborbital business is almost an afterthought - it is a step on the way to full orbital HSF technology.  I wouldn't put BO in the same category as XCOR and VG."
I'm not sure I agree. XCOR is more interested in the orbital market than you might think, they bought their current space in Texas keeping in mind that it'd be big enough for the orbital vehicle. They are just as interested in orbital flights, and their engine technology is also being considered for ULA's vehicle just like Blue Origin's is.

I would say it's a spectrum. All 3 are interested in suborbital market and intend to make a significant amount of money in that market, but all 3 want to go full orbital at some point. Virgin is less focused on orbital (except for microlaunch) than the other two, and Blue Origin is arguably closer to full orbital than the other two (certainly through its ULA partnership), but all 3 are definitely shooting for it.

(Interestingly for XCOR, their full orbital system is supposed to be fully reusable from the get-go. I really hope they get more funding.)
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: meekGee on 05/08/2015 12:07 am
"BO is a different breed altogether.  The suborbital business is almost an afterthought - it is a step on the way to full orbital HSF technology.  I wouldn't put BO in the same category as XCOR and VG."
I'm not sure I agree. XCOR is more interested in the orbital market than you might think, they bought their current space in Texas keeping in mind that it'd be big enough for the orbital vehicle. They are just as interested in orbital flights, and their engine technology is also being considered for ULA's vehicle just like Blue Origin's is.

I would say it's a spectrum. All 3 are interested in suborbital market and intend to make a significant amount of money in that market, but all 3 want to go full orbital at some point. Virgin is less focused on orbital (except for microlaunch) than the other two, and Blue Origin is arguably closer to full orbital than the other two (certainly through its ULA partnership), but all 3 are definitely shooting for it.

(Interestingly for XCOR, their full orbital system is supposed to be fully reusable from the get-go. I really hope they get more funding.)

VG and XCOR can talk about orbital...   But it's either a microsat launcher off of the suborbital platform (and that's not orbital HSF, and is really just a "jobs program" for the suborbital platform), or a brand new vehicle that has nothing to do with the suborbital one.

You don't really think you can scale LYNX or SS2 to carry enough fuel for an orbital launch, right?

BO is aiming to build a bone-fide orbital launch system.  The current system is just a stepping stone.  It is a rocket and a capsule, and THAT you can scale to orbital technology, especially as we know that they're working on an BE-4.

BO is just slower than SpaceX.   XCOR and VG are not even on the same road.
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: QuantumG on 05/08/2015 11:38 am
XCOR's crewed orbital vehicle is basically Lynx on top of a winged first stage. (The difference being, basically, details.) It's the original ideas for the shuttle, but done right.



Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: Rocket Science on 05/08/2015 11:48 am
Of all the rides that will (hopefully) be available, I will chose Lynx. Not because of the price, but rather sitting in the co-pilots seat. Being weightless has it's and floating around a cabin has its attractions, but getting a 'pilots' view all the way up and back is what interests me.

I can't remember if it was at a conference or in a private conversation that I head (so I apologize if it was in a private conversation to whoever it was that told me) but I understand XCOR are not opposed to the possibility of actually training up pilots to fly the Lynx themselves. I don't think any other provider will be offering that possibility any time soon :)
That would be a great entry in my pilot's log book... Sign me up! :)
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: abaddon on 05/08/2015 02:10 pm
It's the original ideas for the shuttle, but done right.
On paper.

http://tinyurl.com/n34ejpm
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: Gliderflyer on 05/08/2015 04:03 pm
Lynx construction update: http://xcor.com/press/2015/15-05-08_XCOR_aerospace_announces_strakes_bonded_to_Lynx_mark_I.html
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: Lars-J on 05/08/2015 04:23 pm
Lynx construction update: http://xcor.com/press/2015/15-05-08_XCOR_aerospace_announces_strakes_bonded_to_Lynx_mark_I.html
So... not much progress? Those strakes were already on site back in August 2014 (http://www.xcor.com/pressimages/images/14-08-11_lynx-assembly-1250.jpg) (perhaps even earlier). And now, 9 months later, a press release about them being bonded to the fuselage?

First image: Aug 11, 2014

Second image: April 22, 2015
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: matthewkantar on 05/08/2015 04:45 pm
So... not much progress? Those strakes were already on site back in August 2014 (http://www.xcor.com/pressimages/images/14-08-11_lynx-assembly-1250.jpg) (perhaps even earlier). And now, 9 months later, a press release about them being bonded to the fuselage?

Glue takes time to set dude. *smiley*

Matthew
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: meekGee on 05/08/2015 05:38 pm
XCOR's crewed orbital vehicle is basically Lynx on top of a winged first stage. (The difference being, basically, details.) It's the original ideas for the shuttle, but done right.

I have a problem with this.

Lynx is a suborbital airplane, and can do 1 km/sec?  2?
... and cannot return from anywhere near orbital velocity,
... and I doubt it can even stay in vacuum for more than a few minutes.

So the winged first stage you describe has to do the bulk of the launch work (6-7 km/sec), and then put Lynx in an environment it cannot survive in.

But a winged stage that does 6-7 km/sec looks like STS - it's all fuel tank.  You know how the rocket equation works - you're basically where Shuttle is after the SRBs burn off.

---

So maybe the winged first stage only takes it to 2-3 km/sec, and then a super-lynx does the rest - but then super-lynx becomes the shuttle.

---

Your best bet is building something that's like a mini-dream-chaser, and putting it on top of a rocket - but then there's zero commonality with Lynx.

That's what I mean by "not on the same road".   XCOR could build a winged-reentry orbital vehicle, and then an orbital launch system (or go buy one) - but the current Lynx effort doesn't really help them get there.
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: Kansan52 on 05/08/2015 06:06 pm
In the photos, the prototype seems to being built inside a tent. Would the best guess be to control the enviornment while bonding and other 'fumey' work?

The second picture clearly shows it's run out room. Of course, being a tent they could expand the room.

Sure seems starved for cash. They seem to have progressed further than Rocketplane (before that company became Rocketplane/Kistler) but it seems scary close to having the same fate.
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: QuantumG on 05/09/2015 12:55 am
Sure seems starved for cash. They seem to have progressed further than Rocketplane (before that company became Rocketplane/Kistler) but it seems scary close to having the same fate.

XCOR is more than cash starved.. they're hand to mouth. This is what "sustainable" looks like.. when Lynx starts pulling in revenue we'll see a different XCOR.
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: meekGee on 05/09/2015 03:18 am
Sure seems starved for cash. They seem to have progressed further than Rocketplane (before that company became Rocketplane/Kistler) but it seems scary close to having the same fate.

XCOR is more than cash starved.. they're hand to mouth. This is what "sustainable" looks like.. when Lynx starts pulling in revenue we'll see a different XCOR.

Yup.  XCOR's story is the polar opposite of VG.

Careful engineering, discipline, but no star power and no money pouring down from the sky.

There's really no excuse for VGs timeline.  But XCOR's is fully understandable, and admirable.
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: simonbp on 05/10/2015 06:39 pm
It is to a large extent a side effect of XCOR's reliance on actively piloted systems. That worked great when they were flying kitplanes, but margins of safety required for a piloted suborbital vehicle are so much higher that Lynx Mk. I is turning into a money pit. If they had bit the bullet a few years ago and decided to focus on a half-scale, unpiloted Lynx, they'd be racking up the flight hours now and actually earning cash from flying experiments. Instead, they have a half-built hanger queen with no wings yet.

On the other side of the fence (literally, until XCOR finally vacates Mojave), Masten's focus on super-autonomous VTVL has allowed Xombie to become a world-class avionics test facility and the company to become cash-flow positive. It would be ironic (but perhaps not surprising) if the first XCOR engine to reach orbit is attached to a Masten launch vehicle...
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: jongoff on 05/11/2015 05:54 am
It is to a large extent a side effect of XCOR's reliance on actively piloted systems. That worked great when they were flying kitplanes, but margins of safety required for a piloted suborbital vehicle are so much higher that Lynx Mk. I is turning into a money pit. If they had bit the bullet a few years ago and decided to focus on a half-scale, unpiloted Lynx, they'd be racking up the flight hours now and actually earning cash from flying experiments. Instead, they have a half-built hanger queen with no wings yet.

On the other side of the fence (literally, until XCOR finally vacates Mojave), Masten's focus on super-autonomous VTVL has allowed Xombie to become a world-class avionics test facility and the company to become cash-flow positive. It would be ironic (but perhaps not surprising) if the first XCOR engine to reach orbit is attached to a Masten launch vehicle...

I'm not sure this is a fair characterization. Xombie is an awesome vehicle. It was fun building it, and it gives me a lot of pride that Masten is still flying it, and making a lot of money from flying it. But really, Xombie is only a little higher performance than EZ Rocket or X-Racer. Now, if Masten starts putting Xaero-B through it's paces this year, and can have better luck than Blue Origin on crashes, that might be something.

But I don't think one should write-off what XCOR is doing here. This is their first time doing something this complex, it's a lot more complex than anything Masten has done to-date, and I have a ton of respect for their organization. If I had to place my bets though, I think it'll take a lot of good luck on Masten's part or bad luck on XCOR's part for Masten to beat XCOR to a 60km+ capable vehicle.

Am I still a big fan of VTVL and my old company? Heck yeah. But I think some of this commentary on XCOR, making it sound like a floundering company living hand to mouth seems overly pessimistic for a company that's now up to almost 100 employees (5x what Masten is today), and has raised over $20M in investment money for their vehicle. Am I as optimistic at how soon they'll fly? Not really. But I don't have any doubts they will.

Not sure if that added anything,

~Jon
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: TrevorMonty on 05/11/2015 09:29 am
The $20m they raised last year is why they building Lynx now. The cash injection allowed XCOR to order all the parts and not worry about how they are going to pay next month's paychecks. If they can show solid progress I expect more money will become available if need be.
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: sanman on 05/11/2015 06:02 pm
XCOR has crossed an assembly milestone in attaching strakes to the Lynx structure:

http://www.satnews.com/story.php?number=920569046&menu=1

Quote
The strakes make up a large portion of the Lynx aerodynamic shell. Each strake is partitioned into four independent fuel tanks that are pressurized during flight and supply kerosene to the Lynx engines. Each strake also houses a main landing gear assembly and two reaction control thrusters that the Lynx will use to make attitude adjustments while outside of the atmosphere.

Definition of strake:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Strake_%28aeronautics%29
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: Lars-J on 05/11/2015 10:42 pm
sanman, look back in the thread. That strake story was posted 3 days ago, which triggered the recent discussion about their progress (or lack thereof).

But I think some of this commentary on XCOR, making it sound like a floundering company living hand to mouth seems overly pessimistic for a company that's now up to almost 100 employees (5x what Masten is today), and has raised over $20M in investment money for their vehicle. Am I as optimistic at how soon they'll fly? Not really. But I don't have any doubts they will.

~Jon

Jon, but I distinctly recall that several sources (including you? apologies if I'm wrong) were dropping hints that we would see taxi test and an integrated airframe very soon. And this was months ago.

EDIT: some post references (which were nowhere near as specific as I recalled, but still)..
http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=19033.msg1060504#msg1060504 (2 yrs ago)
http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=19033.msg1166050#msg1166050 (by parabolic arc)
http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=19033.msg1181134#msg1181134 (1+ year ago, cockpit delivered, argued by XCOR to be a pacing item)

Were the sources wrong or did they exaggerate? Because there seems to be some amount of "re-calibrating" expectations in the last few days. From "XCOR flying any time soon now" to "XCOR doing great just staying in business".

It could be way off base - but that is certainly my impression.
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: QuantumG on 05/11/2015 11:07 pm
Were the sources wrong or did they exaggerate?

No.. there was an unforeseen delay on the wings.

Quote from: Lars-J
there seems to be some amount of "re-calibrating" expectations in the last few days. From "XCOR flying any time soon now" to "XCOR doing great just staying in business".

I can't speak for Jon, but it's always been my position that XCOR is a business that Jeff keeps above water by sheer force of will and when they fly it should be recognized as not just miraculous, but also inspirational too. Consider that they started this business with nothing but a bunch of hungry mouths to feed and the limits of their credit cards.

Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: sanman on 05/11/2015 11:58 pm
Way back - 13 years ago, almost to the week - I remember posting some article about Corona Discharge Ignition. I'd always wondered if Mr Greason found it useful enough to use in one of his engines:

https://groups.google.com/forum/?hl=en#!search/corona$20discharge$20ignition/sci.space.tech/LH8g_fpQq5g/dEmeq9Fvna0J (https://groups.google.com/forum/?hl=en#!search/corona$20discharge$20ignition/sci.space.tech/LH8g_fpQq5g/dEmeq9Fvna0J)

I was similarly wondering if it might even be useful for ULA's Integrated Vehicle Fluids engine.
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: jongoff on 05/12/2015 09:16 pm
Jon, but I distinctly recall that several sources (including you? apologies if I'm wrong) were dropping hints that we would see taxi test and an integrated airframe very soon. And this was months ago.

Were the sources wrong or did they exaggerate? Because there seems to be some amount of "re-calibrating" expectations in the last few days. From "XCOR flying any time soon now" to "XCOR doing great just staying in business".

It could be way off base - but that is certainly my impression.

I wasn't trying to drop hints, just make a prediction. One that was obviously, in hindsight, way off. I'm not an XCOR investor, just a friend who gets tours ever few years when I make it out to Mojave. I really did think they were going to be flying last year--they had all the pieces out, I thought, and I didn't expect them to run into all the technical delays that they did. I don't think that XCOR is doing great just staying in business--they are making progress, just a heck of a lot slower than I had thought a few years ago. Some recalibrating of expectations on when they'll be flying is definitely in order--for instance, at this point I'm doubtful their first flight will be before Space Access next April.

Sorry if I made it sound like I had more of an inside track on how things were going there than I did.

~Jon
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: Lars-J on 05/12/2015 09:19 pm
Sorry if I made it sound like I had more of an inside track on how things were going there than I did.

~Jon

Oh, no problem - looking back at your posts I clearly read more into them than what was actually there.
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: jongoff on 05/12/2015 09:21 pm
I can't speak for Jon, but it's always been my position that XCOR is a business that Jeff keeps above water by sheer force of will and when they fly it should be recognized as not just miraculous, but also inspirational too. Consider that they started this business with nothing but a bunch of hungry mouths to feed and the limits of their credit cards.

I think they're doing a little better than that recently, but that was where they were at for a long time. But I agree that part of why I want to see XCOR successful is to show that you don't have to have a founder with net worth >$250M to have a shot of success. Showing that you can bootstrap an aerospace company far enough to be able to raise money then bring a non-trivial capability to market is important for getting more investment into the market.

I also have non-selfish reasons for wanting them to be successful (namely that I'm friends with many of the core team and want to see their hard work pay off).

~Jon
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: Robotbeat on 05/13/2015 12:37 am
My selfish reason for wanting them to succeed is that their mode of operations (should they succeed in beginning operations) probably has the best chance of getting cost-per-passenger-to-Karman-Line down to around the ~$10k/person range eventually, a level that I could probably muster up enough money for when I retire (without losing the trust of my wife).
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: BrightLight on 06/10/2015 03:17 am
One more piece of the Lynx build:

http://www.xcor.com/press/2015/15-06-09_XCOR_Selects_Matrix_Composites_to_Develop_Lynx_Chines.html

http://www.parabolicarc.com/2015/06/09/xcor-selects-matrix-corp-supply-lynx-chine-panels/

looking forward to seeing this bird at the Von Karman line!
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: JazzFan on 06/10/2015 05:53 pm
That is one pretty bird. 

(http://www.xcor.com/press/2015/images/15-04_XCOR_Lynx_chines.jpg)
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: manboy on 06/13/2015 07:21 am
Sure seems starved for cash. They seem to have progressed further than Rocketplane (before that company became Rocketplane/Kistler) but it seems scary close to having the same fate.

XCOR is more than cash starved.. they're hand to mouth. This is what "sustainable" looks like.. when Lynx starts pulling in revenue we'll see a different XCOR.

Yup.  XCOR's story is the polar opposite of VG.

Careful engineering, discipline, but no star power and no money pouring down from the sky.

There's really no excuse for VGs timeline.  But XCOR's is fully understandable, and admirable.
We have no way of knowing that.
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: Katana on 06/13/2015 08:34 pm
New $5M from VC, no cash starvation now.

http://www.forbes.com/sites/alexknapp/2015/05/26/chinese-venture-firm-haiyin-capital-is-investing-in-space-company-xcor/
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: ChrisWilson68 on 06/14/2015 04:49 am
New $5M from VC, no cash starvation now.

http://www.forbes.com/sites/alexknapp/2015/05/26/chinese-venture-firm-haiyin-capital-is-investing-in-space-company-xcor/

$5 million really isn't very much for a program to build a passenger ship going to space.  I wouldn't say it's enough to say there's no more cash starvation for Lynx.
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: Star One on 06/14/2015 09:08 am

New $5M from VC, no cash starvation now.

http://www.forbes.com/sites/alexknapp/2015/05/26/chinese-venture-firm-haiyin-capital-is-investing-in-space-company-xcor/

$5 million really isn't very much for a program to build a passenger ship going to space.  I wouldn't say it's enough to say there's no more cash starvation for Lynx.


They seem to think it's an amount that will get them much closer to completion so hardly insignificant.
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: Mariusuiram on 06/14/2015 10:27 am
New $5M from VC, no cash starvation now.

http://www.forbes.com/sites/alexknapp/2015/05/26/chinese-venture-firm-haiyin-capital-is-investing-in-space-company-xcor/

I get the impression its more important than just the cash:

1. Its cash in during delays in producing their product, extending their ramp and allowing more marketing (as mentioned in the article)
2. Its a new investor who is making a very small investment and could step up in a later round. Adding to a base of investors who have knowledge and faith in the company when they try to progress
3. It should help them improve promotion and access in China which is potentially a huge market. It mentions that 10% of pre-sales are Chinese. That figure could definitely keep growing considering the disposable income available to the ultra-rich there.
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: meekGee on 06/16/2015 12:22 am
New $5M from VC, no cash starvation now.

http://www.forbes.com/sites/alexknapp/2015/05/26/chinese-venture-firm-haiyin-capital-is-investing-in-space-company-xcor/

$5 million really isn't very much for a program to build a passenger ship going to space.  I wouldn't say it's enough to say there's no more cash starvation for Lynx.

Yup.

It's payroll for a year.  Not peanuts, but it's a good bit of oxygen.
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: manboy on 07/21/2015 11:06 am
XCOR Space Expeditions announced that it will raise the price of a flight aboard XCOR Lynx from $100,000 to $150,000 effective January 1st, 2016.

http://www.xcor.com/news/ticket-price-change/
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: CameronD on 07/23/2015 08:16 am
Forget the rest of new space, XCOR does it all.  Wow!

..without actually doing anything much.

Like the offerings from a couple of other companies - they'll be doing more when they actually fly.  ::)
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: savuporo on 08/24/2015 05:01 pm
http://www.mrt.com/business/development/article_38ce081a-4a00-11e5-8df8-f3d2bdc67589.html
Quote
Peck estimated that XCOR is six to nine months away from the Lynx 1’s first flight.

Hey that's a lot shorter than the classic 'two years from flight'. They are getting closer to the first flight by a month in about every six months. Whats that, 3-4 years in real time ?
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: Robotbeat on 08/29/2015 06:24 pm
http://www.mrt.com/business/development/article_38ce081a-4a00-11e5-8df8-f3d2bdc67589.html
Quote
Peck estimated that XCOR is six to nine months away from the Lynx 1’s first flight.

Hey that's a lot shorter than the classic 'two years from flight'. They are getting closer to the first flight by a month in about every six months. Whats that, 3-4 years in real time ?
Hey, I'll settle for that, provided it works as well as they say it will!
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: Moe Grills on 10/11/2015 09:47 pm
  Correct me if I am wrong, but I have seen a photo of the Lynx Mark 1 spacecraft assembly NOW fitted with wings recently. If I am correct with this info then we should start a debate on the "safety" of the Lynx Mark 1 as it reaches Mach 1, Max Q at low-altitudes and the dangers of a flat-spin during re-entry.
The Lynx Mark 1 may be as dangerous as? SS2?
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: MattMason on 10/11/2015 11:55 pm
  Correct me if I am wrong, but I have seen a photo of the Lynx Mark 1 spacecraft assembly NOW fitted with wings recently. If I am correct with this info then we should start a debate on the "safety" of the Lynx Mark 1 as it reaches Mach 1, Max Q at low-altitudes and the dangers of a flat-spin during re-entry.
The Lynx Mark 1 may be as dangerous as? SS2?

Spaceship Two's incident wasn't due to the wings but a premature deployment of the wing's feathering system.

A closer analogue would be the X-15 incident where it went into a flat spin with astronaut Mike Adams, eventually leading to his death from other factors.

Wings alone aren't a formula for doom, if tests and simulations are properly conducted.
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: Gliderflyer on 10/12/2015 06:50 am
  Correct me if I am wrong, but I have seen a photo of the Lynx Mark 1 spacecraft assembly NOW fitted with wings recently.

The wings aren't quite done yet. In a recent talk, Jeff Greason mentioned they would be done around December I think.
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: ChrisWilson68 on 10/12/2015 07:28 am
http://www.mrt.com/business/development/article_38ce081a-4a00-11e5-8df8-f3d2bdc67589.html
Quote
Peck estimated that XCOR is six to nine months away from the Lynx 1’s first flight.

Hey that's a lot shorter than the classic 'two years from flight'. They are getting closer to the first flight by a month in about every six months. Whats that, 3-4 years in real time ?
Hey, I'll settle for that, provided it works as well as they say it will!

They've been talking for an awfully long time.  Remember the original X Prize?  Back in 2003 XCOR said they weren't bothering with winning the X Prize because it would distract them from getting to commercial suborbital passenger service quickly.

Then there was the Rocket Racing League where different teams flying XCOR-built rocket planes would be racing against each other and drawing huge crowds and corporate sponsorships.

XCOR seems to be progressing with their ULA partnership for an upperstage engine, which gives them some credibility, but we have to weigh that against a lot of rosy projections on the rocket plane front that haven't materialized.
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: jongoff on 10/13/2015 05:59 am
http://www.mrt.com/business/development/article_38ce081a-4a00-11e5-8df8-f3d2bdc67589.html
Quote
Peck estimated that XCOR is six to nine months away from the Lynx 1’s first flight.

Hey that's a lot shorter than the classic 'two years from flight'. They are getting closer to the first flight by a month in about every six months. Whats that, 3-4 years in real time ?
Hey, I'll settle for that, provided it works as well as they say it will!

They've been talking for an awfully long time.  Remember the original X Prize?  Back in 2003 XCOR said they weren't bothering with winning the X Prize because it would distract them from getting to commercial suborbital passenger service quickly.

Then there was the Rocket Racing League where different teams flying XCOR-built rocket planes would be racing against each other and drawing huge crowds and corporate sponsorships.

XCOR seems to be progressing with their ULA partnership for an upperstage engine, which gives them some credibility, but we have to weigh that against a lot of rosy projections on the rocket plane front that haven't materialized.

Bootstrapping a rocket company without any billionaire backers is definitely an approach that's not for the impatient or the faint of heart! They've only really had enough money to make this happen for 1-2yrs, even though they've been around for 15. They have accomplished a lot in that time, but yeah it can be agonizingly slow when you aren't able to secure enough outside capital to move quickly. They've also made a fair deal of mistakes along the way (like the rest of us). I still think they'll beat everyone but Blue Origin into regular suborbital flight operations.

~Jon
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: MattMason on 11/03/2015 03:03 pm
AmericaSpace has a November 2 article on the construction status with photos (http://www.americaspace.com/?p=88160).

The photos also show a rather curious homebrewed wind tunnel device constructed from a Ford F-250 pickup.

You can't make this stuff up.
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: ChrisWilson68 on 11/03/2015 05:21 pm
It looks like they're making good progress on Lynx.  There's still obviously a long way to go.

I wish them well, but it still rubs me the wrong way that on the one hand XCOR makes a big point of emphasizing how it's taking a long time because they're doing cutting edge research and development and nobody has ever done this before, and on the other hand they're selling tickets and have been selling tickets for years.

They say "The fact is that we are in a process in which you just can’t rush things. For the first time in history we are developing a genuinely instantly reusable launch vehicle and there’s no building instructions, best practices or timeline available for something so ground breaking." and "it’s ready when it’s ready." -- that's fine, except it's XCOR that's been repeatedly making these predictions about when they're going to fly, and selling tickets based on these predictions.

They're just as bad as Virgin Galactic in this way, which is pretty bad.
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: zt on 11/03/2015 09:24 pm
Let's hope they're much better than Virgin Galactic at safety. If I were them, I would release a study of the effect of human factors on the design of their cockpit or something like that.
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: Gliderflyer on 11/04/2015 02:10 am

The photos also show a rather curious homebrewed wind tunnel device constructed from a Ford F-250 pickup.

You can't make this stuff up.

It is not unheard of to use trucks for wind tunnels. Scaled Composites used a similar creation to test full scale models of the tail for SpaceShipOne. It is talked about 34 minutes into this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wz8wlcUPz90#t=34m (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wz8wlcUPz90#t=34m)
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: parabolicarc on 11/04/2015 04:59 pm
http://www.mrt.com/business/development/article_38ce081a-4a00-11e5-8df8-f3d2bdc67589.html
Quote
Peck estimated that XCOR is six to nine months away from the Lynx 1’s first flight.

Hey that's a lot shorter than the classic 'two years from flight'. They are getting closer to the first flight by a month in about every six months. Whats that, 3-4 years in real time ?
Hey, I'll settle for that, provided it works as well as they say it will!

They've been talking for an awfully long time.  Remember the original X Prize?  Back in 2003 XCOR said they weren't bothering with winning the X Prize because it would distract them from getting to commercial suborbital passenger service quickly.

Then there was the Rocket Racing League where different teams flying XCOR-built rocket planes would be racing against each other and drawing huge crowds and corporate sponsorships.

XCOR seems to be progressing with their ULA partnership for an upperstage engine, which gives them some credibility, but we have to weigh that against a lot of rosy projections on the rocket plane front that haven't materialized.

The Rocket Racing League never really developed into anything. That wasn't the fault of XCOR. In fact, XCOR ended up suing RRL over alleged failure to pay for work that they did. it's a shame that didn't work out because it would have given the company a lot of operational experience flying rockets that would have proved useful for the Lynx. And brought in income to fund the space plane program.
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: Gliderflyer on 11/16/2015 03:50 pm
XCOR has a press release on the Lynx flight simulator: http://www.xcor.com/news/xcor-develops-lynx-simulator-in-partnership-with-protobox-llc-and-air-force-research-lab/
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: jongoff on 11/23/2015 03:16 pm
Wow, XCOR just announced that both Jeff Greason and Dan DeLong have left the company "to pursue other interests": http://www.xcor.com/news/founders-stepping-back-marks-new-phase-in-xcor-lynx-development/

I had seen via LinkedIn last week that Dan had left, but I hadn't expected Jeff to leave too (though Jeff will technically retain a board seat).

Not sure how to digest this info. But I do wish XCOR, Jeff, and Dan the best going forward.

~Jon
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: Rocket Science on 11/23/2015 03:28 pm
Wow, XCOR just announced that both Jeff Greason and Dan DeLong have left the company "to pursue other interests": http://www.xcor.com/news/founders-stepping-back-marks-new-phase-in-xcor-lynx-development/

I had seen via LinkedIn last week that Dan had left, but I hadn't expected Jeff to leave too (though Jeff will technically retain a board seat).

Not sure how to digest this info. But I do wish XCOR, Jeff, and Dan the best going forward.

~Jon
I'm still picking my jaw off the floor Jon... :o Thank you for posting the "puzzling" news....

I'll add my best wishes to them both as well.

Edit to add:
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: jongoff on 11/23/2015 03:59 pm
Apparently Aleta Jackson was also let go. That makes 3 out of the 4 founders. The official story is that they left to pursue other interests, but I wonder if they were forced out. It's possible that in their fundraising they ended up giving up enough board seats that their investors took over...

Jon
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: Jim Davis on 11/23/2015 04:52 pm
The official story is that they left to pursue other interests, but I wonder if they were forced out.

It's hard to see this in any other light. "Left to pursue other interests" is corporate speak for "we fired the chumps".

I certainly wish Greason, DeLong, and Jackson all the best.
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: Elmar Moelzer on 11/23/2015 06:22 pm
Wow, this is dire news, indeed. I think the company is done. Whenever investors take over from founders, it usually is the end. What does a wallstreet guy know about rockets (or anything else for that matter)?
Best wishes to Greason and the others that left! Hope to see more interesting work from you soon! I guess, I wont be hoping for anything from Xcor now.

Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: savuporo on 11/23/2015 06:27 pm
Wow, this is dire news, indeed. I think the company is done. Whenever investors take over from founders, it usually is the end. What does a wallstreet guy know about rockets (or anything else for that matter)?
Best wishes to Greason and the others.

The majority investors in XCOR are not 'wallstreet guys'. I think this change might actually be for the better. Greason's team was probably good early on to get the thing bootstrapped, but to move into operations it is entirely possible that the new team will actually do better.
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: Elmar Moelzer on 11/23/2015 06:32 pm
The majority investors in XCOR are not 'wallstreet guys'. I think this change might actually be for the better. Greason's team was probably good early on to get the thing bootstrapped, but to move into operations it is entirely possible that the new team will actually do better.
So, who are they, then? And I have yet to see a company that got better after the founders left it.
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: jongoff on 11/23/2015 06:45 pm
The official story is that they left to pursue other interests, but I wonder if they were forced out.

It's hard to see this in any other light. "Left to pursue other interests" is corporate speak for "we fired the chumps".

I certainly wish Greason, DeLong, and Jackson all the best.

I don't know for sure, but agree that's definitely what it looks like. You always hear about stories where investors decide to sack the existing team and replace them with their own picks, but it hits closer to home when it's people you know.

~Jon
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: jongoff on 11/23/2015 06:49 pm
Wow, this is dire news, indeed. I think the company is done. Whenever investors take over from founders, it usually is the end. What does a wallstreet guy know about rockets (or anything else for that matter)?
Best wishes to Greason and the others that left! Hope to see more interesting work from you soon! I guess, I wont be hoping for anything from Xcor now.

I wouldn't write XCOR off entirely, even if I can't help but think their odds of making it to flight have decreased somewhat. XCOR has grown a ton since when it was started (up to ~100 employees from what I've heard), and it very well might be the case that new management might be better at the transition to operations. It could also be a huge mistake. Only time will tell, but I've got enough friends still at XCOR that I'll be hoping for their success, even if at the same time I'm sad to see Jeff, Dan, and Aleta shown the door of their own startup.

~Jon
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: savuporo on 11/23/2015 07:23 pm
The majority investors in XCOR are not 'wallstreet guys'. I think this change might actually be for the better. Greason's team was probably good early on to get the thing bootstrapped, but to move into operations it is entirely possible that the new team will actually do better.
So, who are they, then? And I have yet to see a company that got better after the founders left it.

http://www.parabolicarc.com/2014/05/27/xcor-raises-142-million-investment-capital-led-dutch-investors/

That's ~15 Million from the dutch partner. The new board members they got after that are mostly with European software - well, finance software  - and telecom industry backgrounds.

This year,
http://www.parabolicarc.com/2015/05/22/xcor-receives-funding-chinese-venture-capital-firm/
http://www.parabolicarc.com/2015/05/26/report-haiyin-capital-invested-5-million-xcor/

That's another ~5M - but these are more of your 'fund manager' types. Definitely not Wall Street though.



Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: Elmar Moelzer on 11/23/2015 08:19 pm
The majority investors in XCOR are not 'wallstreet guys'. I think this change might actually be for the better. Greason's team was probably good early on to get the thing bootstrapped, but to move into operations it is entirely possible that the new team will actually do better.
So, who are they, then? And I have yet to see a company that got better after the founders left it.

http://www.parabolicarc.com/2014/05/27/xcor-raises-142-million-investment-capital-led-dutch-investors/

That's ~15 Million from the dutch partner. The new board members they got after that are mostly with European software - well, finance software  - and telecom industry backgrounds.

This year,
http://www.parabolicarc.com/2015/05/22/xcor-receives-funding-chinese-venture-capital-firm/
http://www.parabolicarc.com/2015/05/26/report-haiyin-capital-invested-5-million-xcor/

That's another ~5M - but these are more of your 'fund manager' types. Definitely not Wall Street though.
Well, that is the types I meant. All the same type... Of course none of them know anything about rockets.
So my point remains.
Of course there is always the chance that I am wrong and I really hope that I am.
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: HMXHMX on 11/24/2015 05:55 am
What Jeff Greason and Dan DeLong are apparently doing next: http://agile.aero
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: kch on 11/24/2015 06:06 am
What Jeff Greason and Dan DeLong are apparently doing next: http://agile.aero

Sounds promising!  Intriguing logo ... :D
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: Elmar Moelzer on 11/24/2015 11:25 am
What Jeff Greason and Dan DeLong are apparently doing next: http://agile.aero
Best of luck to them!
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: Jim Davis on 11/24/2015 12:53 pm
Quote
But the integrated vehicles are still developed with older, slower methods.   Agile Aero intends to bring modern rapid prototyping to complete vehicles, for space launch, for hypersonic air vehicles, and for innovative aircraft.

A cynic might wonder why the fine folks at Agile Aero couldn't manage this while at XCOR.
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: docmordrid on 11/24/2015 02:40 pm
Quote
But the integrated vehicles are still developed with older, slower methods.   Agile Aero intends to bring modern rapid prototyping to complete vehicles, for space launch, for hypersonic air vehicles, and for innovative aircraft.

A cynic might wonder why the fine folks at Agile Aero couldn't manage this while at XCOR.

Different flight regime, horizontal, and no deep pockets billionaire writing checks.
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: TrevorMonty on 11/24/2015 03:07 pm
Quote
But the integrated vehicles are still developed with older, slower methods.   Agile Aero intends to bring modern rapid prototyping to complete vehicles, for space launch, for hypersonic air vehicles, and for innovative aircraft.

A cynic might wonder why the fine folks at Agile Aero couldn't manage this while at XCOR.

Different flight regime, horizontal, and no deep pockets billionaire writing checks.
Even with deep pockets its not easy, taken Blue Origin 15yrs to do it and Virgin are still trying.
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: Lars-J on 11/24/2015 04:15 pm
Quote
But the integrated vehicles are still developed with older, slower methods.   Agile Aero intends to bring modern rapid prototyping to complete vehicles, for space launch, for hypersonic air vehicles, and for innovative aircraft.

A cynic might wonder why the fine folks at Agile Aero couldn't manage this while at XCOR.

Careful.... There are many members of the "church of Jeff Greason" around here. The man can do no wrong.  ;)
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: Rocket Science on 11/24/2015 04:40 pm
What Jeff Greason and Dan DeLong are apparently doing next: http://agile.aero

Sounds promising!  Intriguing logo ... :D
Indeed... Looks like a version of Shuttle II... ;)
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: jongoff on 11/25/2015 05:33 pm
Quote
But the integrated vehicles are still developed with older, slower methods.   Agile Aero intends to bring modern rapid prototyping to complete vehicles, for space launch, for hypersonic air vehicles, and for innovative aircraft.

A cynic might wonder why the fine folks at Agile Aero couldn't manage this while at XCOR.

Different flight regime, horizontal, and no deep pockets billionaire writing checks.
Even with deep pockets its not easy, taken Blue Origin 15yrs to do it and Virgin are still trying.

Yeah, XCOR's delays and issues are less surprising with their relative level of funding compared to Blue Origin (<1/20th) and Virgin (<1/10th). I still get the feeling that they probably made their fair share of mistakes that made things worse though.

~Jon
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: jongoff on 11/25/2015 05:45 pm
Quote
But the integrated vehicles are still developed with older, slower methods.   Agile Aero intends to bring modern rapid prototyping to complete vehicles, for space launch, for hypersonic air vehicles, and for innovative aircraft.

A cynic might wonder why the fine folks at Agile Aero couldn't manage this while at XCOR.

Careful.... There are many members of the "church of Jeff Greason" around here. The man can do no wrong.  ;)

I may be a member of "The Church of Greason", but that doesn't mean I believe in Greasonal Infallibility. :-)

I'll be the first to admit that while I'm a huge Jeff Greason fan, Jim's question was the first one that popped into my mind as well--if they really have the secrets to fast development of flight vehicles, why was Lynx development so painfully slow?

We don't really know a lot about the inner workings and challenges of XCOR. There may be explanations for why Lynx is running so late, and why Jeff, Dan, and Aleta were all let go that completely absolve them of all mistakes, but those seem only somewhat likely. I really like the three of them, and think they're really talented, but my guess is they probably have a list of lessons learned, mistakes made, etc. that directly led to where we are today. I hope at some point we can get more insight into what they think went wrong (and a few other perspectives as well because objectivity is so hard in situations like this), and what lessons we ought to draw.

I'm not saying that to diss them in any way. Having run a bootstrapped aerospace company now for five years, it's mind blowing how much harder it really is than it seems looking from the outside. I just guess a lot of why I'm so personally curious is that I feel like what I'm trying to do at Altius in some ways parallels what XCOR has tried to do--bootstrap off of contract R&D to get enough experience, clout, and IP to be able to raise the funds to go after bigger projects--and I'd like to make sure I don't step in the same...mud piles.

~Jon
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: Elmar Moelzer on 11/25/2015 05:48 pm
Quote
But the integrated vehicles are still developed with older, slower methods.   Agile Aero intends to bring modern rapid prototyping to complete vehicles, for space launch, for hypersonic air vehicles, and for innovative aircraft.

A cynic might wonder why the fine folks at Agile Aero couldn't manage this while at XCOR.

Different flight regime, horizontal, and no deep pockets billionaire writing checks.
Even with deep pockets its not easy, taken Blue Origin 15yrs to do it and Virgin are still trying.

Yeah, XCOR's delays and issues are less surprising with their relative level of funding compared to Blue Origin (<1/20th) and Virgin (<1/10th). I still get the feeling that they probably made their fair share of mistakes that made things worse though.

~Jon
I am sure that they made plenty of mistakes and after the war, everyone is a better general.
I think that they got very far with very moderate levels of funding.
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: jongoff on 11/25/2015 06:18 pm
Yeah, XCOR's delays and issues are less surprising with their relative level of funding compared to Blue Origin (<1/20th) and Virgin (<1/10th). I still get the feeling that they probably made their fair share of mistakes that made things worse though.
I am sure that they made plenty of mistakes and after the war, everyone is a better general.
I think that they got very far with very moderate levels of funding.

And I wouldn't count XCOR as being "done" quite yet. As someone else pointed out somewhere, Masten had a management shakeup 2-3yrs ago (after I left), and is actually doing really well at the moment. Like I did for Rotary Rocket, I'm going to give the team still at XCOR, and Jeff, Dan, and Aleta the benefit of the doubt, and see where things go from here.

~Jon
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: Lars-J on 11/25/2015 06:32 pm
I am sure that they made plenty of mistakes and after the war, everyone is a better general.
I think that they got very far with very moderate levels of funding.

But... have they gotten very far? There hasn't been much to show yet. People who have connections to XCOR (professionally or through friends) always seem to say that are making a lot of progress, with something ready to show soon.

But as a distant observer, I have to admit that I'm not seeing it. Pictures of the hardware so far has hinted at a very slow process, with no completed Lynx anytime soon. So what am I missing here?
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: TrevorMonty on 11/25/2015 06:41 pm
With XCOR finally building flight Lynx, I'm surprised they left. So many years of blood, sweat and tears to leave a few months before test flights start.
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: jongoff on 11/25/2015 08:18 pm
With XCOR finally building flight Lynx, I'm surprised they left. So many years of blood, sweat and tears to leave a few months before test flights start.

I'm not so confident they're only "a few months before test flights start". The latest pictures still didn't have the wings on it. With the slow pace of progress recently, I'm wondering if it'll be in the air (even with runway hops) before the end of next year, unfortunately. I hope I'm wrong, but I've been consistently overoptimistic about their progress so far. I'm still supportive, just putting more caution into my cautiously optimistic.

~Jon
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: yg1968 on 11/28/2015 04:22 pm
An update from October:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IhToTk_qiLQ
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: Lars-J on 11/30/2015 04:36 pm
Charles Lurio ( https://twitter.com/TheLurioReport ) tweeted some answers from Greason about his departure:

Quote
(1/X) Much news this week on Jeff Greason & XCOR as well as hopes for new "Agile Aero, Inc." E.g. To ques. "Why did you leave XCOR?" Ans..
Quote
(2/X) Greason:"Jay Gibson reorg'd such that I no longer managed Lynx, & efforts to pursue next-gen. projects [in] XCOR didn’t find footing."
Quote
(3/X) Greason: "[My passion] to contribute to the successful development of space... is as strong as ever, so that’s where I’m headed."

Neither XCOR nor Jeff Greason look great coming out of this, IMO.
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: FutureSpaceTourist on 11/30/2015 05:13 pm
Neither XCOR nor Jeff Greason look great coming out of this, IMO.

It is consistent though with the view the CEO expressed in the October video, ie they have to get flying. After all these years, I can't argue with that. BOs successful test flight just reinforces its importance IMHO.
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: Elmar Moelzer on 11/30/2015 05:43 pm
Neither XCOR nor Jeff Greason look great coming out of this, IMO.

It is consistent though with the view the CEO expressed in the October video, ie they have to get flying. After all these years, I can't argue with that. BOs successful test flight just reinforces its importance IMHO.
Cant compare XCOR to Blue. Two very different companies, with very different funding patterns. Irregular and relatively low funding streams mean slower development than regular and relatively high funding streams. And yet it took Blue what? 15 years to get to this point?
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: FutureSpaceTourist on 11/30/2015 06:17 pm
Funding models are irrelevant from a customer's point of view. The BO test is significant because they've successfully been to space and thus have significantly more credibility that they will succeed and in the not too distant future.

Granted that in terms of customer experience they are closer to VG than XCOR (probably on price too). But XCOR have been months from finishing Lynx construction for years now. Customer confidence matters.
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: Lars-J on 11/30/2015 08:39 pm
SpaceNews has a new article on this development by Jeff Foust: http://spacenews.com/xcor-co-founders-establish-new-company/

Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: QuantumG on 11/30/2015 09:53 pm
The BO test is significant because they've successfully been to space and thus have significantly more credibility that they will succeed and in the not too distant future.

It's 2004 all over again.
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: tobi453 on 11/30/2015 10:07 pm
The BO test is significant because they've successfully been to space and thus have significantly more credibility that they will succeed and in the not too distant future.

It's 2004 all over again.

Not yet. They have to repeat it two times and then put it in a museum. :D
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: Gliderflyer on 12/01/2015 01:50 am
Another article on Agile Aero:  http://www.geekwire.com/2015/xcor-aerospace-founders-launch-new-startup-agile-aero-for-frontier/
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: jongoff on 12/01/2015 05:34 am
The BO test is significant because they've successfully been to space and thus have significantly more credibility that they will succeed and in the not too distant future.

It's 2004 all over again.

Not yet. They have to repeat it two times and then put it in a museum. :D

Pretty sure that never happened.  AFAIK the only thing Blue has in a museum is a little jet engine thing that they played with really early in company history.  I believe that only flew once, but its been a while since I visited the exhibit.

QuantumG and tobi were aluding to how SS1 was suppose to have changed everything with it's X-prize flights in 2004, where they flew three times and then retired to a museum. Unlike SS1 though, I think that New Shepherd is scaled properly so they can actually put it into operational service if it flies reliably enough. SS1 was always too much of a stunt plane for useful operational service. I'm not expecting the suborbital rocket nerd rapture to hit now, but I think the industry is about to become a lot more real (finally).

~Jon
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: sdsds on 12/01/2015 05:47 am
I imagine the early Lynx passengers would have felt safer had Greason remained in control of Lynx development and test.
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: Lars-J on 12/01/2015 05:14 pm
I imagine the early Lynx passengers would have felt safer had Greason remained in control of Lynx development and test.

Yes, but only for as long as the legend of Jeff "saint" Greason lives on. But at this point, Lynx is not ready. And it won't fly for a while. So when/if it does succeed, it will be *in spite* of Greason, not because of him.
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: savuporo on 12/01/2015 05:24 pm
Yes, but only for as long as the legend of Jeff "saint" Greason lives on.
What "legend" are you referring to ?
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: Lars-J on 12/01/2015 06:09 pm
Yes, but only for as long as the legend of Jeff "saint" Greason lives on.
What "legend" are you referring to ?

The legend of his infallibility, how the man can do no wrong?  ;) Just see the comment section on the SpaceNews article, it is in full force there, explaining how this is great for Greason and XCOR.
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: savuporo on 12/01/2015 06:35 pm
Yes, but only for as long as the legend of Jeff "saint" Greason lives on.
What "legend" are you referring to ?

The legend of his infallibility, how the man can do no wrong?  ;) Just see the comment section on the SpaceNews article, it is in full force there, explaining how this is great for Greason and XCOR.
I don't see any legends. I see people questioning the logic of not accomplishing much and then launching a new venture based on the non-accomplishments. I see people wishing the man well in a new venture - i do, too.
I see completely clueless comments about 'building an orbital RLV'. No, you don't do that with three people without billions of dollars in the bank, especially given the track record. Oh, and no, 'orbital rockets are now easy' is still as clueless as it ever was, but then that's just internet and comments.


Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: HMXHMX on 12/02/2015 05:59 am
So uhhhm, last news report I thought Brian Binnie was supposed to have left VG to be at XCOR.  But his LinkedIn page says maybe not.  I never understood why they wanted to try so many propellants with their engines. 

I always thought XCOR engines were intended to get a vehicle like Spaceship One to a higher performance liquid engine. 

The business case just seemed to stall when Branson formed VG.  The Blue Origin demo last week was likely enough that XCOR has appeared to investors that they have fallen deeply behind in the space tourism game.

Keep an eye out for Agile Aero pilots (figuratively of course).


Brian left Scaled for XCOR, not VG.
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: Lars-J on 12/02/2015 06:37 am
An update from October:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IhToTk_qiLQ

Wow, I did not get around to watching this video until now. But watching it, it definitely helps explain the schism that appears to have driven a wedge between the new management and some of the founders. A conflict between "we got to fly and be profitable" vs "we need to keep tweaking the design" perhaps...
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: sdsds on 12/02/2015 06:49 am
I think everyone watching the industry, including Greason, has witnessed SpaceX doing some amazingly "agile" aerospace engineering. They have designed and successfully flown quite a few vehicles, and vehicle modifications, and vehicle maneuvers. Grasshopper. Octaweb. Grid fins. Supersonic retro-propulsion. Etc.

Greason in particular has been in a position to see from "close up" how SpaceX does this; imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.

On the safety question, though: I would climb aboard a rocket blessed by St. Greason with much less hesitation than one blessed by Saint Musk or Saint Bezos. Greason just seems to know those issues a heck of a lot better....
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: Lars-J on 12/02/2015 07:13 am
On the safety question, though: I would climb aboard a rocket blessed by St. Greason with much less hesitation than one blessed by Saint Musk or Saint Bezos. Greason just seems to know those issues a heck of a lot better....

But this I just don't get... Why? Because Greason made some very insightful comments during the Augustine committee? What has he actually developed that has been a successful aerospace product? Where does this belief in his ability to A) get things done and B) make them safe come from? I really want to know.
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: john smith 19 on 12/02/2015 07:41 am
But this I just don't get... Why? Because Greason made some very insightful comments during the Augustine committee? What has he actually developed that has been a successful aerospace product? Where does this belief in his ability to A) get things done and B) make them safe come from? I really want to know.
What you're missing is XCOR has been around 20 years and established a reputation as something of a "goto" house for rocket engines and parts, typically on fixed price contracts. They've delivered what they said they can deliver when they said they would. They have delivered working hardware when other contractors have just delivered Powerpoints.

Possibly the key project was something called the "Rocket Racing League" which was a plan to set up an air racing competition. The plan was to specify a standard engine and XCOR were developing this.

This meant developing an engine to run hundreds of times with no maintenance while maintaining safe operating margins.  They have also been involved with the FAA certification safety rules for reusable rocket vehicles, moving from only allowing "astronauts" to fly to "spaceflight participants."

Meanwhile they have continued to raise funds for their 1st generation Lynx vehicle which looks much  closer to being passenger ready (albeit a single passenger) than anything Blue has built so far.
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: ChrisWilson68 on 12/02/2015 02:09 pm
The majority investors in XCOR are not 'wallstreet guys'. I think this change might actually be for the better. Greason's team was probably good early on to get the thing bootstrapped, but to move into operations it is entirely possible that the new team will actually do better.
So, who are they, then? And I have yet to see a company that got better after the founders left it.

The majority of successful companies really made it big only after the founders left.  For example, the McDonald brothers had a local success with their hamburger place, but it was only after Ray Crock bought them out that McDonald's became a nationwide chain.

The skills needed to found a company are very different from those needed to scale a company.

Of course, there are also cases where outsiders take over and a company fails.  But there are just as many cases where the founders stay and the company fails.

The point is, we shouldn't over-generalize one way or another.  We don't really know if XCOR will be more or less likely to succeed without its founders.
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: jongoff on 12/02/2015 03:22 pm
An update from October:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IhToTk_qiLQ

Wow, I did not get around to watching this video until now. But watching it, it definitely helps explain the schism that appears to have driven a wedge between the new management and some of the founders. A conflict between "we got to fly and be profitable" vs "we need to keep tweaking the design" perhaps...

Interesting, I also just watched the video thanks to your comment. I definitely agree that the sentiment Jay gave in that talk is the right attitude for where the company is currently at. They really need to get Lynx flying, and flying reliably, as soon as possible. His comments about the other founders are interesting, because the XCOR founders had always given me an impression that they were more business savvy than that--I'd be surprised if they really didn't have urgency to get Lynx flying and stop tweaking the design. I think they knew as well as the rest of us that if they took too long they were either going to run out of money, or end up ceding the market to competitors.

That said, regardless of where their heart or focus was, there's no way of knowing how efficiently they were executing--was this a case where the project really was just a lot more complicated than they had anticipated going in? Was their funding situation so spotty that they ran into a lot of delays due to that that we couldn't see from the outside (I know how excruciatingly slow progress can be when undercapitalized)? Or was it one where the previously management really was doing a poor job of executing effectively? Or a mix of all of the above? I don't think we have enough data to tell what mix of those or other explanations explain why Lynx has taken so long.

Going forward, it'll be interesting to see what happens. Jay is at least saying the right things about the need to execute better, to get to market quickly, and the need to focus more on customers and what they want than just on obsessing about product details and technology. I hope he can make things work. From what I hear there's been a few more people who've left since Jeff, Dan, and Aleta did. If they can survive that brain drain, and focus hard, hopefully they can yet get Lynx into flight operations.

As someone trying to run a bootstrapped aerospace startup, I'm hoping to learn what I can from what XCOR has done right, and what they screwed up.

~Jon
Title: Re: XCOR and the Lynx rocket
Post by: savuporo on 12/02/2015 04:04 pm