Mon, Dec 05, 2005
Next Comes The Mark I X-Racer
The EZ-Rocket successfully completed its first point-to-point
flight Saturday, departing from the Mojave, CA Spaceport and
gliding to a touchdown at an airport in California City nine
The rocket plane, piloted by Dick Rutan (brother of Burt, and
co-pilot of the Voyager around-the-world flight in 1986), is a
modified Long-EZ homebuilt powered by two 400-lb. thrust rocket
engines. The engines are fueled by LOX and isopropyl alcohol.
In addition to being a record-setting flight (officials from the
National Aeronautic Association witnessed the event, as did
representatives from the FAA's commercial space transportation
office) the flight was also, in essence, a cargo run: onboard the
EZ-Rocket were four pouches of mail, a bill (and its accompanying
check payment) and letters from around the world.
The EZ-Rocket -- which first flew in 2002, but
has seen a resurgence of interest following the announcement of the
formation of the Rocket Racing League, for which ANN's own Jim
Campbell is one of the first pilots -- is able to stop and restart
its engines in midflight, as well as perform rocket-powered
touch-and-goes on a runway.
According to media reports, XCOR will now retire the EZ-Rocket
-- focusing on development work on the Mk. I racers to be flown by
the Rocket Racing League, as well
as several other commercial space projects.
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