26 March 2008

Meet Xcor's Lynx: The Two-Seater Space Coupe

This sweet ride will get you higher than any other hot rod you have driven. Xcor's Lynx, a two-seater spacecraft smaller than a business jet, can provide romantic vistas that a drive to Jennings Lake just cannot match.
The Lynx will take off from a runway, just like an airplane, and will climb high enough to provide a view of the earth's curvature and two minutes of weightlessness. The entire flight is expected to take about 25 minutes. Xcor spokesman Doug Graham said the company hopes the first test flight will take place in 2010.

Xcor's slower, incremental approach has attracted investors such as Esther Dyson, a tech analyst who has backed such start-ups as Flickr and del.icio.us.

In an interview, Dyson said she decided to invest because Greason "has a record of building things that work." She continued, "This is very much an implementation business. You need a vision to get started, but you really need practical, straightforward knowledge."

Xcor has already developed a prototype rocket engine for use in the forthcoming Rocket Racing League, and through that work received both funding and flight tests for the liquid-fuel engines. Xcor also expects to receive funding for the Lynx from the Air Force Research Laboratory, through a pending small-business innovation research contract. ___Wired

Esther Dyson, a technology analyst, is the daughter of Freeman Dyson, a physicist who has worked on some ideas for outer space resource development.

As mentioned before here at Al Fin, a number of billionaires are involved in building a new private space industry--including Robert Bigelow, Richard Branson, Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos, Paul Allen, and others. Google's billionaire founders have even put up funds for the Google Lunar X Prize, to stimulate the private development of technology for more frequent moon missions.

The ultimate payoff from space development will be measured in the trillions of dollars, rather than billions. It is not inconceivable that Earth's first trillionaire will be a space resource industrialist.

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