XCOR CEO Jeff Greason inspects the Lynx main engine after a hotfire test while Chief Test Engineer Doug Jones looks on. (Credit: XCOR)
Space is hard. Space startups immensely so.
XCOR’s decision to file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy on Tuesday marks the end of a company that seemed to be in perpetual start-up mode since its founding 18 years ago. Lacking a billionaire backer with deep pockets and a thick Rolodex, the company attempted to develop revolutionary rocket engine technology and a suborbital space plane with funding that would be a rounding error for the giant aerospace primes.
So, how far did it get? What might bidders find valuable when XCOR’s assets are auctioned off? And what problems might have helped to cause the company’s fatal plunge into insolvency?
Henry Vanderbilt has a few ideas on these subjects. Henry is an XCOR shareholder who worked at the company back in the day. He went on to found the Space Access Society, whose conferences were a highlight of the year for the New Space community until recently.