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XCOR Aerospace Establishes New Commercial Spaceflight R&D Center Headquarters

XCOR Chief Test Pilot Richard Searfoss shows Texas Governor Rick Perry a full sized Lynx model unveiled during a ceremony held at the Midland International Airport, where XCOR will open a new R&D headquarters. Photo Credit: XCOR Aerospace

On July 9, the Midland Development Corporation (MDC) and XCOR Aerospace jointly announced the establishment of XCOR’s new Commercial Space Research and Development Center Headquarters.  The private rocket engine and spaceflight development company’s new R&D center, which will be located on the flight line at Midland International Airport (MAF) in Texas, will be created over the next eighteen months in a newly renovated 60,000-square-foot hangar, with the work expected to be complete sometime in the fall of 2013.

XCOR is the designer, manufacturer, and operator of the Lynx – a high performance, winged, fully reusable suborbital space transport vehicle.  Lynx is designed to safely fly two people (pilot and passenger) and payloads (such a scientific experiments) on half-hour flights to the edge of space, and back, several times per day.  To date, 175 tickets on XCOR’s Lynx have been pre-sold for future flights, at a price of $95,000.00 each.

Artist’s concept of XCOR’s Lynx space transport vehicle in action. Image Credit: XCOR Aerospace

“We are pleased to be establishing our R&D Center in Midland, Texas, where the weather, surrounding landscape, the airport, and the local & state government environment are ideally situated for the future growth and the ultimate realization of a fully reusable orbital system,” said Andrew Nelson, chief operating officer of XCOR Aerospace.  “With future suborbital operational sites on the East and West Coasts of the United States and around the world, plus a manufacturing and test facility geographically separate from our R&D facility, Midland will truly be at the heart of XCOR’s innovation engine.”

“The decision to establish XCOR’s Research and Development Center Headquarters in Midland came after intense competition from other locations,” stated Pam Welch, executive director of MDC.  “Once the technical and operational needs of XCOR were met, the final factors influencing the decision to locate R&D to Midland included the friendly business climate, a predictable regulatory environment, and the State of Texas tort reform initiatives. These factors allowed XCOR to see a long term future happening in Midland.”

In addition to XCOR’s facility renovation, the City of Midland is applying for a Commercial Space Launch Site designation for MAF through the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).  The licensing process is expected to take 12-18 months to complete.

XCOR will upgrade and expand into an existing 60,000 sq ft hangar and ramp space at Midland International Airport. Photo Credit: XCOR Aerospace

“When our application is approved, the MAF will be the first “Primary Commercial Service Airport” to be granted this designation, and the combination of the two makes Midland attractive to other commercial space companies,” said Marv Esterly, who is director of airports at MAF.  ““This new R&D facility has the potential to open the door to even more economic development at our airport and for our community.”

“Visionary companies, like XCOR, continue to choose Texas because they know that innovation is fueled by freedom,” said Texas Governor Rick Perry.  “Whether on the cutting edge of biotech, communications, commerce or privatized efforts to serve the needs of the next generation of space explorers, you can find Texas at the forefront of the movement.”

To learn more about XCOR Aerospace and their Lynx sub-orbital space transport vehicle, please visit their website at www.Xcor.com

1 comment to XCOR Aerospace Establishes New Commercial Spaceflight R&D Center Headquarters

  • Michael Harleman

    Wow! I just read that Virgin Galactic charges twice that! What’s more amazing to me is that they can do it for that price and fly only two people at a time.