Just two months after Burt Rutan and Richard Branson unveiled their model for Virgin Galactic's SpaceShipTwo, it looks like interstellar enthusiasts once again will have to redraw the odds for the first private space jet to take off for suborbital vacations.
Rocket engine manufacturer made a splash today by offering a first look at its Lynx spacecraft, a uniquely designed two-seat plane that the startup says should be able to make several trips per day to 200,000 ft. at Mach 2. The company, based in Mojave, Calif., is talking up Lynx's clean-burning capabilities and low-cost availability, though it offered no details beyond an estimated liftoff date of 2010 (the same as Virgin).
XCOR, however, does not plan to operate the space plane--only to build it, with Air Force Research Laboratory funding allegedly helping to test some of Lynx's technology. If nothing else, XCOR's announcement is yet another sign that private-space companies are finding access to funding and engineers, so that NASA won't be the only agency heading north--way north--anytime soon.
Stay tuned for an exclusive interview with the Lynx spacecraft's lead aeronautical engineer, coming soon on The Seniorhelpline Show podcast!