XCOR's Jeff Greason with Lynx rocket engine

XCOR CEO Jeff Greason with Lynx rocket engine. Photo: Michael Belfiore.

On a recent visit to Mojave Air & Spaceport, I stopped in on XCOR Aerospace for an update on the development of their new suborbital spaceship, called the Lynx.

The Lynx builds on XCOR’s successful experience with reusable, restartable rocket engines and rocket propelled airplanes. The plan calls for the two-seat Lynx, powered by a quartet of XCOR-developed 2850-pound-thrust liquid fueled rocket engines, to take off from a runway at Mojave and clear the atmosphere at 62+ miles altitude for sight-seeing and scientific missions.

XCOR is already under contract with NASA and others for suborbital research flights. You have until February 10 to register to win a flight sponsored by the Southwest Research Institute at http://nsrc.swri.org/.

So far XCOR has designed, built, and test-fired the spaceship’s rocket engine design, mostly finished designing the vehicle itself, and has also built components such as valves and pumps. “It is my goal, not the same thing as a promise,” XCOR CEO Jeff Greason told me, “to see air under the gear by the end of the year.”

See also my report from my Mojave visit for Popular Mechanics at http://bit.ly/wNJJx5.