XCOR press conference highlights

The XCOR press conference Tuesday largely confirmed the details that had previously leaked out in the days leading up to the announcement (the XCOR press release includes links to the full press conference video as well as the promotional video shown during the press conference), but there were a few interesting details to come out of the event:

  • Although Tuesday kicked off formal sales of Lynx tickets, XCOR COO Andrew Nelson said they had pre-sold 22 tickets in advance of the announcements, thanks primarily to word of mouth.
  • As described by Jules Klar, founder of RocketShip Tours, the training for the Lynx flights will be separate from the flights themselves. Customers will undergo a five-day training program, staying at a luxury resort in the Phoenix area, and topped off by an aerobatic aircraft ride to test for g-force endurance and claustrophobia. There would be additional medical screening and orientation immediately before the flight.
  • Although XCOR is loathe to talk much about future plans (Greason admitted this but said that this was “too big to announce all at once”), current plans call for beginning test flights in 2010. That test program will last “as long as it needs to last”, although Nelson said he hopes to fly their first customer, Per Wimmer, in 2011.
  • Although Wimmer didn’t mention it in the press conference, he’s also a customer of Virgin Galactic. I was told after the event that Wimmer still plans to fly on Virgin Galactic despite being Lynx customer #1; it’s not clear which company will fly him first.
  • Greason said there have only been “tweaks and tuning” to the Lynx design since the vehicle was announced in March, and that construction of elements of the vehicle is already underway. In particular, the Lynx engine prototype will be on the test stand soon.

Categories: XCOR Aerospace

posted by Jeff Foust