Constellations, Launch, New Space and more…

XCOR’s First Operational Lynx to Fly From Curacao

By Doug Messier
Parabolic Arc
April 16, 2011
Filed under , , ,

X-COR and SXC sign exclusivity contract for ‘tail number 1’

April 12, 2011

Earlier this month, SXC [Space Experience Curacao] and XCOR signed the Memorandum of Understanding, in which the mutually exclusive agreements are officially documented. SXC will be the only party, besides XCOR, to make use of the first spacecraft.

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”.

Harry van Hulten: “For us, this contract is of great importance. There are only two spacecrafts in the world that offer this type of flight. Ours is unique, with the world’s only rocket that can start, stop and then start again. Even the Space Shuttle cannot do that. On top of that, there is only one passenger in our spacecraft, sitting right next to the pilot. Compare it to a turbojet. You probably won’t be surprised that a former F16 pilot like me, gets very excited over this”.

The international press gathered for a press conference at the National Aerospace Laboratory (Nederlands Lucht- en Ruimtevaartlaboratorium) in Amsterdam exactly 50 years after Yuri Gagarin became the first man in space. The Dutch space travel initiative together with XCOR, the American designer and producer of the spacecraft, announced which milestones were recently reached.

“The reason we chose the NLR for this press conference, is that our SXC project is important to the scientific world as well. The Lynx spacecraft can carry out scientific projects in weightless conditions and is able to send smaller satellites into orbit, something that is experiencing a growing demand. In order to stimulate this knowledge platform, KLM has developed a format for students of Aerospace Engineering of the Technical University in Delft to join one of the first flights.”

At the press conference, important commercial news was also shared. The official ticket sales commenced April 1st, 2011. The first 100 flights will be carried out by a group of so called ‘Founder Astronauts’, who are invited personally. Among the first fifteen founder astronauts are some well-known people.