XCOR CONFIRMS 20 SUBORBITAL FLIGHT CUSTOMERS; FIRST TEST FIRING OF LYNX ROCKETPLANE MAIN ENGINE

Mojave-based XCOR Aerospace (http://www.xcor.com) held a press conference in Beverly Hills on 2nd December at which they announced details of ticket sales for their Lynx suborbital rocket plane. Flight tickets will cost $95,000, less than half the price of a ticket on competing Virgin Galactic. XCOR's sales agent was named as RocketShip Tours, owned by Jules Klar. Klar has a long history in the travel business, dating back to his partnership with Arthur Frommer in 1961 which opened up cheap European travel to thousands of Americans. XCOR reported that they had already taken paid reservations for over 20 flights even before the official announcement. The first commercial customer was introduced as London-based investment banker Per Wimmer.

On 15th December, XCOR completed the first successful test firing of its 5K18 engine, the 2900-lbf thrust main engine for the Lynx rocketplane, burning liquid oxygen and kerosene propellants. The first test of the engine was performed using pressure-fed propellants, but the final version will be pump-fed using XCOR's inhouse-designed piston pumps. “Today’s successful hot fire marks an important step forward in building the Lynx,” said XCOR CEO Jeff Greason. “The 5K18 builds on our previous experience in designing and building reliable, durable and fully reusable rocket engines from 15 lbf thrust up to 7500 lbf, that will make it possible to provide affordable access to space.”