FLEDGLING COMPANY HAS A REACH STRETCHING INTO SPACE ROCKETS SCIENTISTS START OUT SMALL WITH REPLICA OF FAMOUS ENGINE.
Byline: Jim Skeen Staff Writer
MOJAVE - A small company with big goals of reaching into space is looking for Looking for
In the context of general equities, this describing a buy interest in which a dealer is asked to offer stock, often involving a capital commitment. Antithesis of in touch with. customers with deep pockets who want to relive history.
XCOR XCOR Cross-Correlation , a Mojave company with five full-time employees, is working on a rocket engine that, in the short term, will power a flying replica of the X-1 rocket plane rocket plane
1. An aircraft powered by one or more rocket engines.
2. An aircraft designed to carry and launch rockets. that Chuck Yeager This page is currently protected from editing until disputes have been resolved. used to break the sound barrier in 1947. The XCOR engine could later power an aircraft to the edges of space.
``Our business plan is to make money doing little things, then make money doing bigger things, and then make money going into orbit,'' said Dan DeLong, the company's chief engineer.
While it's too early in the development for a hard cost estimate, XCOR's best guess is that it will cost any prospective owner about $5 million to own the X-1 replica they are calling the NeX-1, which could tap into the growing - and increasingly pricey - market for high-performance World War II aircraft.
``It's for wealthy aviation enthusiasts who would want it flown at air shows and demonstrations,'' said company president Jeff Greason Jeff Greason is a founder of XCOR Aerospace, the Personal Spaceflight Federation, was the team lead at Rotary Rocket for engine development, and previously worked at Intel. , a Caltech graduate and a former employee of computer chip maker Intel.
Two of the rocket engines they are developing could eventually power a more advanced airframe to the edges of space. XCOR believes such an aircraft could reach 100 kilometers, 62 miles above Earth.
``At 100 kilometers the stars come out, the sky gets black and you get your astronaut wings,'' DeLong said.
XCOR is mum on the commercial applications they envision for such capability. They do see, however, a potential space tourism market where an aircraft could take a couple of passengers on a ride of about Mach 4, about 2,800 mph.
XCOR is composed of former employees of the propulsion division of Rotary Rocket, a Mojave company that is attempting to build a reusable spacecraft. When Rotary Rocket dropped plans to develop its own engine, the employees were laid off.
Disappointed with the lack of progress big aerospace companies are making in opening up space and unwilling to break up their team, the workers formed XCOR, which incorporated in September.
The company's workers make no secret of their desire to someday fly into space themselves.
``Opening the space frontier offers a hopeful future,'' said Aleta Jackson, a technical writer for the company. ``Scratch any space enthusiast and you'll find a person keen on preserving the environment, concerned about resource depletion Resource depletion is an economic term referring to the exhaustion of raw materials within a region. Resources are commonly divided between renewable resources and non-renewable resources. , and who wants more adventure.''
DeLong, a Cornell University Cornell University, mainly at Ithaca, N.Y.; with land-grant, state, and private support; coeducational; chartered 1865, opened 1868. It was named for Ezra Cornell, who donated $500,000 and a tract of land. With the help of state senator Andrew D. graduate who spent 10 years working for NASA contractors
The immediate project of the company is a small version of the engine it will use in the NeX-1 rocket plane. In a hangar at the Mojave Airport, the company is working on a 15-pound thrust engine.
While an investment banker Investment Banker
A person representing a financial institution that is in the business of raising capital for corporations and municipalities.
An investment banker may not accept deposits or make commercial loans. solicits financial backers for the company, the employees are using their savings and credit cards to fund the $10,000 to $20,000 development of the subscale engine.
In addition to testing their designs for the larger engine, the company plans to market the small engine. Potential users include museums and traveling technology shows.
For the NeX-1, the aircraft will have one engine. The NeX-1 will be able to take off from the ground and will not need to be air-dropped, like the real X-1 was from an Air Force bomber for all but one of its flights.
XCOR's NeX-1 will operate at just under the speed of sound. The engine itself would be capable of about Mach 1.5, roughly 1,000 mph, but there would be aerodynamic stability issues.
It is possible for such a rocket plane to receive certification under the home-built, experimental aircraft category, according to according to
1. As stated or indicated by; on the authority of: according to historians.
2. In keeping with: according to instructions.
3. the Federal Aviation Administration Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), component of the U.S. Department of Transportation that sets standards for the air-worthiness of all civilian aircraft, inspects and licenses them, and regulates civilian and military air traffic through its air traffic control . The FAA would insist, however, that it stay away from populated areas.
``From a regulatory standpoint, it is feasible,'' said FAA spokesman Mitch Barker.
The company had originally considered building a replica of a World War II German rocket plane, the Me 163, but decided there would be too many technical headaches.
The original X-1 aircraft was part of a joint effort by the agency that would later become NASA NASA: see National Aeronautics and Space Administration.
in full National Aeronautics and Space Administration
Independent U.S. , the Army Air Corps and Bell Aircraft Corp. The project was intended to look at how aircraft handled up to and through the sound barrier, approximately 700 mph.
For all but one of its launches, the X-1 was taken aloft by a modified B-29 bomber and dropped. A four-chamber, 6,000-pound thrust rocket engine gave it 150 seconds of powered flight.
On Oct. 14, 1947, Chuck Yeager, suffering from two broken ribs from a horseback riding horseback riding: see equestrianism. accident the night before, flew the X-1 past the sound barrier.
Photo: (1 -- color) XCOR employees include, from left, Doug Jones, Buzz Lang, Dan DeLong, Aleta Jackson and Jeff Greason.
(2) XCOR is currently developing this subscale rocket engine.
Jim Skeen/Staff Photographer