Feeds

XCOR challenges Virgin with the Lynx effect

Suborbital tourist vehicle aloft within two years

High performance access to file storage

Californian aerospace outfit XCOR has thrown its hat into the space tourism ring with the announcement that its two-seat Lynx suborbital spaceship will be carrying paying customers aloft within two years.

The Lynx suborbital vehicle. Pic: XCORLynx promises a 30-minute ride (flight profile here [pdf]) topping out at 200,000ft (61km) during which - in contrast to Virgin Galactic's multi-seat SpaceShipTwo - a single paying customer will sit beside the pilot.

XCOR test pilot, former pilot astronaut and Space Shuttle commander, Col Rick Searfoss, enthused: "Lynx will be the 'Greatest Ride Off Earth'. The acceleration, the weightlessness, and the view will provide you with an experience that is out of this world. And the best part of it all is that you'll ride right up front, like a co-pilot, instead of in back, like cargo."

Once operational, the 8.5 metre (27.9ft) Lynx will be able to fly serveral times a day from its base in Mojave. XCOR CEO Jeff Greason explained: "We have designed this vehicle to operate much like a commercial aircraft. Its liquid fuel engines will provide the enhanced safety, durability, reliability and maintainability that keep operating costs low.

"These engines will also minimise the impact of these flights on the environment. They are fully reusable, burn cleanly, and release fewer particulates than solid fuel or hybrid rocket motors."

The cost of an XCOR jaunt is not noted, but Greason added: "XCOR's mission is to radically lower the cost of spaceflight, because affordable access to space for everyone means far more than breathtaking views and the freedom of weightlessness. It means unlocking the material and energy resources and economic opportunities of our solar system for our children."

Quite when Virgin Galactic's SpaceShipTwo will be ready for paying customers is unclear, although testing is due to begin in June with operational flights slated for a year later. Tickets will set back wannabe space jockeys a cool $200,000.

Punters can expect to pay around the same for a jaunt on the third space tourism contender's vehicle - the EADS Astrium vessel designed to lift four passengers to a heady 100km (328,000ft).

Astrium says operations will begin "some years after 2010", according to the BBC, but estimates a "mature market" might see as many as 15,000 individuals a year coughing big bucks for a once-in-a-lifetime white-knuckle flight. ®

High performance access to file storage

More from The Register

next story
Video games make you NASTY AND VIOLENT
Especially if you are bad at them and keep losing
Russian deputy PM: 'We are coming to the Moon FOREVER'
Plans to annex Earth's satellite with permanent base by 2030
Solar-powered aircraft unveiled for round-the-world flight
It's going to be a slow and sleepy flight for the pilots
Elon Musk's LEAKY THRUSTER gas stalls Space Station supply run
Helium seeps from Falcon 9 first stage, delays new legs for NASA robonaut
LOHAN's Punch and Judy show relaunches Thursday
Weather looking good for second pop at test flights
Discovery time for 200m WONDER MATERIALS shaved from 4 MILLENNIA... to 4 years
Alloy, Alloy: Boffins in speed-classification breakthrough
India's GPS alternative launches second satellite
Closed satnav system due to have all seven birds aloft by 2016
Curiosity finds not-very-Australian-shaped rock on Mars
File under 'messianic pastries' and move on, people
prev story

Whitepapers

Mainstay ROI - Does application security pay?
In this whitepaper learn how you and your enterprise might benefit from better software security.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Mobile application security study
Download this report to see the alarming realities regarding the sheer number of applications vulnerable to attack, as well as the most common and easily addressable vulnerability errors.