Year in PReview: is 2014 finally the year suborbital space tourism lifts off?

SpaceShipTwo during its first powered test flight on April 29, 2013. (credit: Virgin Galactic/MarsScientific.com)

One decade ago, hopes were high for suborbital space tourism. Scaled Composites had performed the first powered test flight of SpaceShipOne in December of 2003, and other than a minor landing mishap, the company seemed to be on track for [...]

Is Virgin Galactic raising its ticket price?

As the space community celebrated Virgin Galactic’s successful powered test flight of SpaceShipTwo on Monday, the company may be using the test as an opportunity to raise its ticket price. In an interview with Los Angeles TV KABC station after Monday’s flight, Sir Richard Branson appeared to indicate a 25-percent price increase was in the [...]

From Liberty to Lynx (but not from New York to Tokyo)

XCOR Aerospace announced yesterday that it has issued a contract to ATK for the manufacturing of the wings and control surfaces of XCOR’s Lynx Mark 1 suborbital spaceplane. ATK is best known (in the space industry, at least) for its solid propellant motors, including the Solid Rocket Boosters (SRBs) used to launch the Space Shuttle. [...]

Virgin and XCOR progress towards powered test flights

An image from Virgin Galactic of the liquid oxidizer tank being installed in SpaceShipTwo. (credit: Virgin Galactic)

The two companies in the lead to fly crewed suborbital spacecraft announced milestones earlier this week towards the beginning of powered flight tests of their vehicles. On Friday, Virgin Galactic released images of an oxidizer tank being [...]

House hearing today about commercial suborbital spaceflight

The field of commercial suborbital spaceflight will get a rare moment in the Capitol Hill spotlight today when the House Science, Space, and Technology Committee’s space subcommittee will hold a hearing titled “The Emerging Commercial Suborbital Reusable Launch Vehicle Market” at 2 pm EDT; the hearing will be webcast. The hearing features representatives of three [...]

Wrapping up XCOR’s deal with Midland

Texas Gov. Rick Perry appears particularly excited to see a full-scale mockup of the XCOR Lynx suborbital spaceplane Monday in Midland, alongside XCOR chief test pilot Rick Searfoss. (credit: XCOR)

After all the news that came out from Friday through Sunday, the actual announcement of XCOR’s deal with the Midland Development Corporation (MDC) to [...]

More on the XCOR-Midland deal

Today’s Midland Reporter-Telegram has more details about the agreement between XCOR Aerospace and the Midland Development Corporation (MDC) that will be formally announced Monday. It confirms earlier reports that the deal will involve XCOR moving its corporate headquarters to Midland and establishing an R&D center there, while maintaining its facility in Mojave, California, as well [...]

XCOR may be taking off for Texas [updated]

XCOR and its Lynx suborbital vehicle (above) may soon be taking off for Midland, Texas, but a source says they won’t be leaving Mojave behind. (credit: XCOR Aerospace)

According to media reports, Mojave, California-based XCOR Aerospace plans to establish operations in Midland, Texas, with an agreement about a deal with Midland officials scheduled for [...]

Armadillo and XCOR updates from Houston

Thursday night SpaceUp Houston hosted a Commercial Spaceflight Panel featuring representatives of a number of orbital and suborbital spaceflight companies. The four companies working on orbital systems—ATK, Boeing, Sierra Nevada, and SpaceX—largely provided reviews of their recent work under funded or unfunded Commercial Crew Development agreements with NASA that have generally been reported elsewhere. The [...]

EZ-Rider

As a small, entrepreneurial space company, XCOR Aerospace has found innovative ways to test and demonstrate its technology. One of its best-known examples was the EZ-Rocket, a Long-EZ plane fitted with twin rocket engines built by XCOR. The company announced this week that it did something similar, using another mode of transportation to test [...]