Feeds

XCOR challenges Virgin with the Lynx effect

Suborbital tourist vehicle aloft within two years

Boost IT visibility and business value

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. ®

Gartner critical capabilities for enterprise endpoint backup

More from The Register

next story
LOHAN packs bags for SPACEPORT AMERICA!
Spanish launch goes titsup, we're off to the US of A
BAT-GOBBLING urban SPIDER QUEENS swell to ENORMOUS SIZE
But they'd lose a deathmatch against the coming Humvee-sized, armoured Arctic ones
LOHAN Kickstarter campaign IS GO!
Click here to support Vulture 2 spaceplane launch
Gigantic toothless 'DRAGONS' dominated Earth's early skies
Gummy pterosaurs outlived toothy competitors
'Leccy racer whacks petrols in Oz race
ELMOFO rakes in two wins in sanctioned race
TRANSMUTATION claims US LENR company
Ten points of stuff out of a five pound bag
Boffins ID freakish spine-smothered prehistoric critter: The CLAW gave it away
Bizarre-looking creature actually related to velvet worms
CRR-CRRRK, beep, beep: Mars space truck backs out of slippery sand trap
Curiosity finds new drilling target after course correction
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
7 Elements of Radically Simple OS Migration
Avoid the typical headaches of OS migration during your next project by learning about 7 elements of radically simple OS migration.
BYOD's dark side: Data protection
An endpoint data protection solution that adds value to the user and the organization so it can protect itself from data loss as well as leverage corporate data.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?