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XCOR Lynx suborbital spaceplane

FutureSpaceTourist

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We don't seem to have any specific information on XCOR and their Lynx spaceplane, so I thought I'd try and correct that omission. As development progresses more can be added to this thread.

Although Virgin Galactic and SpaceShipTwo get much of the media attention, XCOR and Lynx also hold a lot of potential and IMHO will be the second operational system for space tourism after Virgin.

Lynx is a HTHL spaceplane with liquid rocket engines. The Lynx Mark I is a prototype currently in development that will carry a pilot and one passenger to about 200,000ft / 61km. The subsequent Mark II will go above 328,000ft / 100 km altitude. Although the Lynx is not big enough to allow floating around the cabin in the weightless environment, it does have large wraparound cabin windows to provide an almost uninterrupted view.

There's a great Lynx animation:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3a-l1tb1rPg

Some basic information and references can be found on Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lynx_rocketplane/

Details of a recent deal between XCOR and South Korea are at http://www.xcor.com/press-releases/2009/09-12-17_South_Korean_Space_Center_Selects_XCOR_and_LYNX_for_Suborbital.html. This deal should ensure that the development of the Mark II is fully-funded, subject to regulatory approval.

The first attached PDF contains further details of Lynx's capabilities, presented by XCOR at the recent (Feb 10) suborbital researchers conference.

The second attachment is slides from the FAA Commercial Space conference, also in February. Slide 6 is interesting as it gives an indication of how low the Lynx costs might be. I'm guessing the 'best competitor' on the slide is a reference to Virgin Galactic.
 

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mz

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This is more than just a paper project. XCOR have produced two flying rocket vehicles (EZ-rocket and the Rocket Racer) many years ago already and have produced continually more and more advanced engines. They have also worked as ATK:s subcontractor, building methane engines for NASA.

I think I saw a glass fiber Lynx airframe prototype at the back of the shop in some "open shop day" video a year or so ago. A few years ago they were hiring a senior aerodynamicist - possibly the team were more rocket-oriented up to that point. I don't know where they sit currently. Supersonics is different from some slow flying canards. On the other hand, AFAIK was a somewhat new area for Scaled composites as well and they seemed to manage it.

Jeff Greason, XCOR's CEO served in the Augustine panel as a member too.
 

FutureSpaceTourist

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FutureSpaceTourist

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Some pictures from XCOR's website:

1. Lynx ascent from the animation posted above
http://lynx_suborbital_ascent.jpg
2. Lynx wind tunnel model
http://2009-03-10 Lynx-wind-tunnel-model-5751.jpg
3. Wind tunnel dye flow test

4. First fire of Lynx rocket engine
http://2008-12-15 lynx_engine_first-fire.jpg
The attached PDF contains a graphic depicting the flight profile of the Lynx Mark I
 

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XP67_Moonbat

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Cool pdf. Im gonna have to find the rest of that document now. Hey I just noticed that Lynx has kind of a squished-looking nose, almost like the the old Spiral lifiting body.
 

FutureSpaceTourist

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The flight profile pdf is embedded in the original XCOR press release on Lynx (http://www.xcor.com/press-releases/2008/08-03-26_Lynx_suborbital_vehicle.html). It's nice to think it comes from a more comprehensive document! If so I guess the South Korean space center must have a copy ...

I noticed the similarity with Spiral too (a personal favourite unbuilt of mine!). I guess in both cases the upturned nose must help with the aerodynamics of the particular re-entry profile chosen. If any aerodynamicists/re-entry specialists are reading this, I'd be delighted to learn its significance.

XCOR have mentioned - without giving any details - their long-term goal of developing a reusable TSTO system. I guess it's too much to hope for a Spiral-like revival? ;D
 

FutureSpaceTourist

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XCOR have now published a document with more detailed info on Lynx (and including the flight profile pdf ;)).

The document is in response to a NASA RFI for commercial resuable suborbital research. The NASA web page is http://suborbitalex.arc.nasa.gov/documentation and the XCOR document is attached. It contains the first graphic I've seen of the Lynx Mark II.

Update: NASA website been reorganised, info now accessible from http://suborbitalex.arc.nasa.gov/platforms; there is also a spreadsheet at http://suborbitalex.arc.nasa.gov/files/CRuSR-SuborbitalPlatformCapabilitiesMatrix.xls that summarises all the responses
 

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FutureSpaceTourist

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XCOR have issued a press release today on the completion of the supersonic wind tunnel tests of the Lynx. Start of the press release is below.

[quote author=http://www.xcor.com/press-releases/2010/10-09-20_XCOR_completes_supersonic_wind_tunnel_tests.html]
September 20, 2010, Mojave, CA and Huntsville, AL: XCOR Aerospace, Inc. announced today they have completed the primary supersonic wind tunnel testing of the Lynx suborbital spacecraft. The tests were performed at NASA Marshall Space Flight Center (MSFC) using a precision scale model and demonstrated the integrity of the Lynx aerodynamic shape and provided data to make final refinements to the vehicle. These new data provide confidence that the Lynx aerodynamic shape will have stable and controllable flight throughout the range of Mach numbers and angles of attack needed for the Lynx mission.
[/quote]

The caption for the attached picture from the press release is: "A schlieren image of the Lynx supersonic wind tunnel model at mach 4.0, 10 degree angle of attack at the NASA MSFC supersonic wind tunnel in Huntsville, AL."
 

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FutureSpaceTourist

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DSE

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FutureSpaceTourist said:
A few more details about the Lynx wind tunnel tests and general Lynx progress are in this AW article: http://www.aviationweek.com/aw/generic/story_generic.jsp?channel=awst&id=news/awst/2010/09/20/AW_09_20_2010_p36-255266.xml

[quote author=Jeff Greason]
The time and expense of developing a model is what drove us to rely so heavily on CFD, yet we’ve spent more time waiting for computers than it would have taken to make the model. I’m definitely a convert to wind tunnels
[/quote]

Of course the devil is in the details. From the earlier new release, "The tests at MSFC gave us live information about the aerodynamic profile of the Lynx in transonic and supersonic flows, which occur during ascent and re-entry. We greatly appreciate the warm welcome and support we received at Marshall." Transonic and low supersonic freestream Mach numbers will result in a fair amount of subsonic/transonic flow which would require that the CFD solutions be done at partially elliptic, which could greatly complicate matters. Whether the solutions were done multi-block so as to break out these regions or not requires some real forethought and work up front during the grig generation process and the specific CFD tool allowing this.

Another question this brings out is how does Xcor intend to take these sub-scale (most likely cold air) results and apply them to a full sized vehicle taking into account for differences in scale and gas/surface temperatures and roughness? I would think that would be done using CFD so they would need at least some experimental data on the scale model to benchmark the code results spotted over the flight domain, no?
 

FutureSpaceTourist

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XCOR have announced their second wet lease deal for the Lynx (following on from the South Korean deal announced late last year). Here's the start of their press release:

[quote author=http://xcor.com/press-releases/2010/10-10-05_Space_Experience_Curacao_announces_wet_lease_of_lynx.html]
October 5th, 2010, Mojave, CA and Curaçao: Space Experience Curaçao (SXC) and XCOR Aerospace, Inc. jointly announced today the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) for the wet lease of a production version of the Lynx suborbital spacecraft, pending United States government approvals to station the vehicle on the island of Curaçao in the Netherlands Antilles. With a planned start date in January 2014, SXC will market, and XCOR will operate, suborbital space tourism flights and scientific research missions out of Space Port Curaçao.
[/quote]

I have no idea what sort of funding SXC have, I hope this contract is completed!
 

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FutureSpaceTourist

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If anyone is feeling flush in these straightened times, how about a limited edition scale model of XCOR's Lynx?

[quote author=http://www.xcor.com/store/]
For a limited time, XCOR is offering a numbered, limited edition of hand carved 1:24 scale Lynx display models. Only 100 were made and there are still a few left! Many of these fine models were given to VIPs and investors, but we have a small number left over that we are offering to our fans and the general public.

These models are hand-crafted from Philippine mahogany and mounted on an attractive base in a 'nose up' angle. Each model is fully painted with the Lynx color scheme. In addition, each model carries a unique serial number stamped on the bottom of the base. The 1:24 scale model measures 15 inches in length, with a wingspan of 13 inches. A perfect gift for that space enthusiast or for your own office! This limited edition model can be yours today for $299.00. Get yours before they're gone!
[/quote]

(Note that due to ITAR the aerodynamic shape isn't exactly the same as the real Lynx. Just in case someone decided to scale it back up to get their own supersonic re-entry vehicle ...)
 

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FutureSpaceTourist

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As Doug Messier has noted it's interesting to see how XCOR's work on the Lynx aerodynamics have resulted in modifications to the vehicle.

First attached picture is of the (original) Lynx from 3 years ago, the second picture shows the original Lynx with payload. The third picture shows the Lynx with payload as it is now.
 

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Stargazer2006

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More pics of the Xerus project:
 

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Stargazer2006

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And also these (there were even some goodies marketed, as you can see):
 

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Michel Van

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After German News magazine "Der Spiegel"
has XCOR filed a request at German responsible authority
for use of the Lynx from one of these three German Airports:

Nordholz Naval Airbase near Cuxhaven in Lower Saxony
Peenemünde Airfield in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania
Heringsdorf Airport in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania (with a 2300-meter paved runway for A320)

For the moment the "Land authority for road construction and traffic" of Lower Saxony,
has confirmed the license request of XCOR and examine it, if all is ok XCOR can use Nordholz Naval Airbase.

Source:
http://www.spiegel.de/wissenschaft/technik/xcor-raketenjet-lynx-weltraumtourismus-bald-in-cuxhaven-nordholz-a-837845.html

NOTE:
All those Airports are or were in military use and have long paved runway
Cuxhaven was the "Cape Canaveral of Germany" during the second world war then from 1957 until 1964
Peenemünde First launch site in the world, for V2 and V1 project
 

Stargazer2006

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A gorgeous cutaway of the XCOR Lynx by Mike Massee, one of the project's engineers/designers. "More and more detail is being filled in as we design and then actually build it. Most of the pieces you see are between 65% and 95% complete, and final assembly is close" says Massee today on his Facebook page.
 

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Xcor had the mockup on display at the recent Mojave Open House but I did not photograph it -:(. However here are pix of the rocket engine they did for the Rocket Racer.

BillRo
 

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mz

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It's a cross between Dyna-Soar, MAKS and an Long-Ez.
 

Stargazer2006

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flanker said:
It is terribly ugly but i wish them all the luck.

Funny that it seems to create divided opinions on its looks. Some deem it ugly, while others find it beautiful! I personally don't fancy its looks very much myself, but "terribly ugly" might be a little exaggerated... I guess the MiG Spiral and Myasishchev BOR-4 were ugly (though likeable in their own peculiar way!). And SpaceShipOne was not exactly a parangon of beauty, was it? This being said, so long as it does its job and does it well, that's what really counts in the end! ;D
 

Michel Van

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...4 years later

XCOR Files for Chapter 7 Bankruptcy
18-year old company will be liquidated to pay the 100 to 199 creditors.

Source
http://www.parabolicarc.com/2017/11/09/xcor-files-chapter-7-bankruptcy/
 

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Just for info. The mock-up of the Lynx is now preserved at the Nationaal Militair Museum of Soesterberg AF Park, in The Nertherlands.
 

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hesham

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retrofit1 said:
Just for info. The mock-up of the Lynx is now preserved at the Nationaal Militair Museum of Soesterberg AF Park, in The Nertherlands.

Very nice.
 
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