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XCOR Granted Launch Licence.

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XCOR Aerospace.
XCOR Aerospace: Image credit: XCOR Aerospace.

XCOR Aerospace announced on Friday that it has become the second company to receive a Reusable Launch License from the FAA's Office of Commercial Space Transportation (the first went to Scaled Composites). This will allow the company to begin testing its suborbital Sphinx vehicle. The license is only for testing - up to 35 flights between no and the end of 2006 - and doesn't permit tourist flights or other commercial applications. Unlike other groups testing suborbital vehicles, XCOR isn't planning to compete for the $10 million X-Prize.

Today at the Space Access conference in Phoenix, Arizona, XCOR Aerospace announced it has received a Reusable Launch Vehicle mission license from the FAA's Office of Commercial Space Transportation (AST). The license, which is the first for a reusable launch vehicle (RLV) that is launched and recovered from the ground, will be used to test RLV technologies prior to suborbital passenger travel.

The launch license is for a technology test vehicle; the license does not yet cover passenger operations though it does allow for revenue payload flights after initial tests are completed. Testing will be done at the Mojave Airport in Mojave, California, which is expected to become the first inland launch facility licensed for commercial launches. Mojave Airport is known for its safe, smooth coordination of general aviation activity and private aerospace development.

According to XCOR Government Liaison Randall Clague, "This license covers the full flight test program conducted in a designated test area. A significant feature of the license is that it allows the pilot to do an incremental series of flight tests - without preplanning each trajectory."

"This license means we only have to seek approval for significant changes that materially affect the safety of the uninvolved public," XCOR CEO Jeff Greason added. "Our goal is for RLV developers to conduct test flights with the flexibility and ease of development normally associated with experimental aircraft. The terms of this license represent significant progress towards this goal. It is helpful that RLV companies can obtain their launch licenses during vehicle design, prior to committing capital to build a vehicle."

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 engines and rocket powered vehicles.

Original Source: XCOR News Release

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