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XCOR Lynx 2-seater spacecraft to fly in 2010

XCOR Lynx follows SpaceShipTwo into space tourism.

XCOR Lynx scale photo for comparison with humans
(Not a real photo - computer generated picture shows relative size)

30 March 2008

After Richard Branson's Virgin Galactic, California's XCOR is ready to launch a 2-seater spaceship to the edge of space, named Lynx. XCOR Lynx spaceship for commercial space tourism will be smaller than Virgin Galactic's SpaceshipTwo, and be ready for test flights by 2010. (See pictures and photos of the XCOR spaceship alongside). XCOR is also partnering the US Air Force in its space venture.

The XCOR Lynx, about the size of a private executive business jet, has a 24.2-foot (7.4-meter) wingspan and is 27.9-foot (8.5-meter) in length. It will weigh between 2,700 and 3,000 pounds (1,225 and 1,360 kilograms) while taxiing down the runway.

The Lynx prototype may fly about 38 miles (61 km) high, and the later version will go up to 63 miles (101.3 km), which is regarded as the beginning of space.


XCOR Lynx in space picture
(Not real photo - computer generated graphic)

Similar to most space tourism entrepreneurs aiming for the space tourism market, XCOR Aerospace plans to create a ship that can enter orbit about 130 miles high.

According to initial reports, XCOR Lynx tourist spacecraft will be fueled by a kerosene / liquid oxygen mixture. It can take off and land from regular airstrips. Each space flight is expected to last only 25 minutes, though. The ship will be designed in such a way that it can do several tourist service flights in a day.

The exact cost of travel in XCOR Lynx has not been fixed yet. The Lynx orbit flight news comes two months after aerospace designer Burt Rutan and billionaire Richard Branson unveiled a model of SpaceShipTwo, being built for Branson's Virgin Galactic. Virgin Galactic may begin test flights this year itself.

XCOR Lynx flight path schematic

How does the XCOR Lynx compare to the SpaceshipTwo project from Virgin Galactic and Richard Branson? XCOR pays due tribute to them. XCOR freely admits that Virgin Galactic opened up the market - and that made it easier for them.




XCOR Lynx - single craft for the entire journey


Two crafts - WhiteKnightTwo takes SpaceshipTwo up, detaches it, and SpaceshipTwo zooms up into space



1.5-2 mins of weightlessness

4 mins weightlessness

Price undisclosed

$ 200,000 for a ride

Read more about SpaceshipTwo here

So, all the best, and start saving now. In a decade or probably less time, the costs are likely to come down even further.






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