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Thu, Dec 18, 2008

XCOR Aerospace Fires Lynx Engine For First Time

Successful 5K18 Test Continues Company's Record

XCOR Aerospace announced Wednesday it has successfully completed its first test fire of the rocket engine that will be used to power its Lynx suborbital launch vehicle to the edge of space.

The new engine, designated the 5K18, produces between 2500-2900 lbf thrust by burning a mixture of liquid oxygen and kerosene. The engine was fired Monday, December 15 at XCOR's rocket test facility located at the Mojave Air and Space Port.

"Today's successful hot fire marks an important step forward in building the Lynx," said XCOR CEO Jeff Greason. "The 5K18 builds on our previous experience in designing and building reliable, durable and fully reusable rocket engines from 15 lbf thrust up to 7500 lbf, that will make it possible to provide affordable access to space."

During its nine years of existence, XCOR has conducted over 3,600 hot fires of rocket engines. During this time, XCOR has built, test-fired, and flown many different engines. The 5K18 is the 11th engine design XCOR has built and fired, and the company notes all have had perfect safety records.

"Firing a new rocket engine is always an important milestone," said COO Andrew Nelson. "It gives everyone on the team a tremendous sense of accomplishment and demonstrates to customers and investors that XCOR knows how to take new ideas and make them a reality."

"The propulsion system is not only the hardest part of the launcher to design and build, it also determines every other aspect of the vehicle," said Greason. "The engine's power and the amount and types of propellants it consumes determine the design and capabilities of the vehicle. There are examples in the aerospace industry where unforeseen problems forced a change of engines which then resulted in extensive redesigns of entire vehicles. By getting our rocket engines right from the beginning, XCOR reduces this type of risk."

The Lynx will use four 5K18 engines to carry people or payloads to the edge of space. The first test of the engine was performed using pressure-fed propellants whereas the final version of the engine will be fed using XCOR's proprietary cryogenic piston pump for liquid oxygen and a similar piston pump for kerosene.

FMI: www.xcor.com, www.rocketshiptours.com

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