Can XCOR build the world's first airline for space?

The U.S. Space Shuttle program flew 135 missions over 30 years. XCOR, a rocket company with teams in the Mojave Desert and Midland, Texas, wants to break that record by offering four round-trip flights to outer space and back, five days a week.

“I want there to be a frontier in space. And if the only way to get that is to build it, then I’m going to build it.” – Jeff Gleason, XCOR co-founder

The XCOR model is something of the ugly duckling of the space industry. Instead of plotting a path to Mars or hustling for big-ticket transport contracts, XCOR is working on a two-seater suborbital spacecraft called the Lynx that would take one passenger up to space and back down to Earth in the time it takes most people to go to the grocery store and back.

In May 2016, XCOR announced it was partnering with United Launch Alliance–an aerospace behemoth–to test out the Lynx’s proprietary propulsion system in a much bigger context. While this means the Lynx is on the back-burner, it may not stay there for long.

Related
Cosmic dust from Venus is inspiring new air pollution-busting technology
Inspired by chemistry observed on the surface of Venus, researchers produced a synthetic material that could improve air quality.
Jupiter’s hot “pizza moon” may contain life
Jupiter’s moon Io is thought to be inhospitable, but new data suggests life could exist underground, perhaps in lava tubes.
NASA announces alien-hunting Habitable Worlds Observatory
NASA has announced that it is developing the Habitable Worlds Observatory, a new space telescope optimized to hunt for extraterrestrial life.
How to prove Einstein’s relativity for under $100
Muons only live for 2.2 microseconds before decaying. Thanks to Einstein’s relativity, they make it to the surface of the earth. Here’s how to prove it.
The case for dark matter has strengthened
Though it makes up about 26% of the Universe, we cannot see dark matter. But we know it’s there because we can see its effects.
Up Next
Subscribe to Freethink for more great stories