XCOR Aerospace (Mojave, Calif.) announced on November 14 that it has issued the initial phase of a two-phase contract to ATK’s Aerospace Structures Division (Arlington, Va.)for the detailed design and manufacture of the Lynx Mark I suborbital reusable launch vehicle (RLV) wings and control surfaces. This announcement represents a critical milestone in the march toward assembly, test and entry into commercial service of the Lynx.
“This partnership with XCOR will provide unique insights and innovations,” said Andrew Jackson, vice president of ATK’s Aerospace Structures Division Launch Segment. “ATK is honored to continue our heritage in creating composite manufacturing solutions for spaceflight and excited to engage in this commercial environment with XCOR.”
“As an established industry leader it is only natural that XCOR sought to work with ATK as a key collaborator in the development of Lynx wings,” said XCOR Chief Executive Officer Jeff Greason. “Our engagements with ATK impressed me from the start, not only due to their position as a leader in the industry, but through their immediate grasp of the unique challenges we face in the construction of Lynx wings. The story of Lynx is the story of sound design and reliable engineering. We could not be more thrilled to work with ATK.”
XCOR Chief Operating Officer Andrew Nelson added that “until recently NewSpace companies and established aerospace primes like ATK often had minimal interaction with companies like XCOR as the subcontractor. With this effort we are establishing a model of how smaller NewSpace companies may utilize established government primes as our suppliers; ATK has demonstrated they are nimble, cost effective and can leverage deep experience from prior larger projects.”
The initial wing and control surface design has been developed by XCOR to rigorous design standards to enable the craft to perform tens of thousands of flights to and from suborbital altitudes exceeding 100 kilometers. ATK will create a detailed design ready for manufacture, working with structural and flutter analysis experts from Quartus Engineering (San Diego, Calif.). The wings will be installed on the Lynx Mark I, which is the prototype of the Lynx family of suborbital RLVs from XCOR; the production models are called LynxMark II.
XCOR Aerospace is currently starting the process to create a new Research and Development Center in Midland, Texas. The company builds safe, reliable and reusable rocket-powered
vehicles, propulsion systems, advanced nonflammable composites and rocket piston pumps. XCOR works with aerospace prime contractors and government customers on major propulsion systems, while also building Lynx. Lynx is 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). Lynx production models (designated Lynx Mark II) are designed to be robust, multimission commercial vehicles capable of flying to 100+ km in altitude up to four times per day.