Nov 04 2015

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XCOR’s Lynx first test flight likely to be in 2016

XCOR’s Lynx Reusable Launch Vehicle Approaches Completion. This time last year, XCOR thought that they’d conduct Lynx’s first test flight before the end of this year, but it looks like they’re not close at all to reaching that milestone:

XCOR engineers are hard at work assembling and testing critical components of the Lynx reusable launch vehicle. Photo Credit: XCOR Aerospace

And here’s the final bit of evidence that their schedule has slipped to the right:

A previous AmericaSpace article from May notes that XCOR’s initial test flight vehicle, Lynx Mark I, is expected to begin a flight test program later this year. However, a letter from Harry van Hulten in XCOR’s October Mission Update emphasizes the importance of not rushing the production of the first experimental spacecraft.

“The fact is that we are in a process in which you just can’t rush things. For the first time in history we are developing a genuinely instantly reusable launch vehicle and there’s no building instructions, best practices or timeline available for something so ground breaking. Our engineers in Mojave have been developing each single component for the first time: from fuselage to the reusable engines, from pressure cabin to finally the wings which we’re building at this moment. Whilst doing so they have only one thing on top of their minds: safety. Cutting corners is not an option. Check, double check and then check again.”

Safety IS first — not only for the pilot’s sake, but for the future of Lynx. Imagine trying to get investors or future passengers interested if your flight demo looks like this:

So XCOR would rather be safe than sorry, and rightly so. Still, the facts that they’re still working on integrating the Lynx and they haven’t even hinted at a future test date likely means that it’s many months in the future. My WAG says sometime next Summer, but it’s just a WAG.

Permanent link to this article: http://www.newspaceraces.com/2015/11/04/xcors-lynx-first-test-flight-likely-to-be-in-2016/

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