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
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
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
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.