XCOR Chief Test Pilot Rick Searfoss shows Texas Governor Rick Perry the Lynx space plane. – XCOR Aerospace


Customers as Innovators

by michael belfiore

This year is shaping up to be a major milestone in the area of suborbital space flight.

That’s a class of space travel that until the last few years has been relegated to so-called expendable sounding rockets, basically glorified weather balloons that shoot up to high altitude for a few minutes of robotic observation or experimentation.

Now a host of private companies is at work on manned spaceships that bring people aboard for the ride. Two companies, Scaled Composites, and XCOR Aerospace, are expected to begin rocket powered flights with people on board this year. These vehicles are decidedly not expendable; their passengers expect to return to fly another day.

Reusability means that the cost of these vehicles, unlike with expendables, can be amortized over the span of multiple flights. The more revenue-producing flights the vehicles can make, the cheaper the cost per flight.

Read more: Customers as Innovators | Moonandback.

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