XCOR Announces Lynx Test Schedule

Stephen Trimble over at Flight Global has an update on XCOR’s test schedule for the year:

  • July/August: Lynx Mark 1 roll out
  • October/November: Taxi tests
  • November/December: Short hop off runway followed by brief first flight

The article says that the fuselage is set for delivery during the week of Jan. 16, but my info is that that when it’s due to be completed then but that delivery is set for early February. Other highlights from the story:

  • First Lynx flight was delayed two years due to discovery of a deep stall problem. This accounts for the significant changes in the final design, including alterations to the wings. [Editor’s Note: Funding issues — partly resulting from by the economic meltdown — caused delays in both addressing that problem and building the prototype.]
  • XCOR will tender work packages for the cockpit pressure vessel and strakes in February.
  • Lynx Mark 2 will roll out about 9 months after tests begin on Mark 1.
  • The Mark 3 version will include the payload mount on top of the fuselage that will allow for launches of satellites into LEO.
  • Tourism is only about 10 percent of the roughly $6 billion “addressable market” for Lynx. Bigger markets include launching payloads and satellites.

Read the full story.

UPDATE: Trimble got almost everything wrong in this article. Clark Lindsey got a full reply from XCOR. I also had a chance to talk to CFO Andrew Nelson and investor Lee Valentine about this on Friday. A brief summary of the corrections:

  • The Lynx I fuselage is set for completion during the coming week but won’t be delivered until end of January/early February.
  • The two-year delay in building Lynx was primarily financial, not a result of a deep stall problem. The stall problem was discovered during wind tunnel tests, and it took two or three months to resolve.
  • Lynx Mark I will be put into commercial service.
  • Lynx Mark III will be able to launch payloads of up to 12 kg into low Earth orbit. The payload and upper stage booster will weight 650 kg.
  • ULA is not looking to power its upper stage booster for the Delta IV and Altas V rockets using a Lynx engine. It’s a separate engine that is derived from work that XCOR has done.
  • The $6 billion figure is the “estimated total global addressable market for reusable suborbital vehicles AND equipment used in them and repurposed for other space applications (or derivatives thereof).” It is not a XCOR sales projection.