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XCOR Press Release: Experimental Motorcycle

Charles Rector's Weblog; May. 5, 2012; By Charles Rector
Type: News


XCOR Contact:
Mike Massee
XCOR Aerospace
Phone: (661) 824-4714 x127
Email: []

XCOR Aerospace Hits Route 66 With Experimental Motorcycle

Street bike used as platform to test propulsion parts for Lynx Suborbital Vehicle

May 3, 2012, Mojave, CA: XCOR's innovative piston pump technology took a ride from
Roswell, NM to Mojave, CA in April 2012.

"We debated how best to put many hours of wear time on the critical bearing components
of our rocket propellant piston pump, that are subject to significant wear and tear,"
said Dan DeLong, XCOR Chief Engineer. "This particular motorcycle, the Triumph Street
Triple, develops about the same horsepower and has the same cylinder arrangement
 as the liquid oxygen and kerosene fuel pumps for the Lynx suborbital spacecraft.
That makes it ideal for a long-life pump test platform. The bike is much less expensive
to operate than the full up rocket pump test stand. We're adding hours of run time
each ride, not just minutes."

The motorcycle was customized for the XCOR rocket piston pump technology and then
shipped to Motion Performance in Roswell. There XCOR engineers finished modifying
and testing the bike for the trip. After making presentations at local schools with
the bike as part of XCOR's ongoing Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics
(STEM) educational outreach efforts, the XCOR team was given a send-off by Roswell
Mayor Del Jurney and members of the Roswell-Chaves County Economic Development Corporation.
The trip symbolically started at the Robert Goddard Museum which honors the father
of modern liquid rocketry and his early pioneering work in Roswell.

We put twenty hours--the equivalent of 400 Lynx flights--on the rocket pump bearings
by driving from Roswell to Mojave taking periodic data readings along the way to
 make sure things were in good condition," remarked Dan. "The trip was a great success
and the bike performed flawlessly. Plus we got to drive through some of the most
 spectacular parts of the American Southwest."

"XCOR continues to solidify its reputation as an innovative, nimble company when
 it comes to research and development practices," commented XCOR Chief Operating
 Officer, Andrew Nelson. "This test would have cost us over $500 per minute had
we operated it on a traditional pump test stand. The entire trip represented about
half a million dollars in net savings in both time and money for the company. More
importantly, it validated that our critical pump subassemblies will have the ultra-long
life needed to meet the safety needs of our customers and a vehicle that is designed
to fly thousands of times over many years. Oh, and everyone had a lot of fun along
the way!"

"We saw some amazing country," remarked XCOR Senior Engineer and principal driver
Mike Valant, "we traveled through New Mexico, passing the Very Large Array, then
 turned northwards to Route 66, traveling as much of the old highway as possible.
Meteor Crater was a highlight, as well as the towns of Holbrook, Seligman, Kingman,
Oatman, all the classic waypoints on the Mother Road. We drove through sun, snow,
rain and everything in-between. Personally for me, it was one of the greatest adventures
I've had. It was challenging, and there was a lot of payoff. In addition to keeping
the bike on the road through all the weather, we had to pay attention to how it
was behaving and make sure there was no trouble."

"The data show no discernible difference in bearing wear between when we started
 and when we finished," remarked Dan DeLong. "I call that a success."

A highlights video of the trip can be seen at the following link:


XCOR Aerospace is a California corporation located in Mojave, California. The company
is in the business of developing and producing safe, reliable and reusable rocket
powered vehicles, propulsion systems, advanced non-flammable composites and other
enabling technologies like rocket piston pumps that enable full reusability. XCOR
is working with aerospace prime contractors and government customers on major propulsion
systems, and concurrently building the Lynx, a piloted, two-seat, fully reusable,
liquid rocket powered vehicle that takes off and lands horizontally. The Lynx-family
of vehicles serves three primary missions depending on their specific type including:
research & scientific missions, private spaceflight, and micro satellite launch
(only on the Lynx Mark III). The Lynx production models (designated Lynx Mark II)
are designed to be robust, multi-mission (research / scientific or private spaceflight)
commercial vehicles capable of flying to 100+ km in altitude up to four times per
day and are being offered globally on a wet lease basis. (

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