XCOR Aerospace has been awarded a one-year $99,935 Small Business Innovative Research (SBIR) phase one contract to design and analyse a rocket-powered vehicle, which will reach 200,000ft (61,000m) altitude and supersonic speeds by the the Air Force Research Laboratory's (AFRL) air vehicle directorate.
Under the AFRL's Operationally Responsive Space (ORS) access mission related award private investment would be matched with USAF resources to complete vehicle fabrication during a subsequent SBIR phase two period.
Jeff Greason, XCOR president and co-founder, said, "XCOR is excited to be working with the Air Force Research Laboratory Air Vehicles Directorate on this project. We look forward to advancing capabilities that solve the overlapping needs of the military and commercial space flight."
Using government and private funding, XCOR plans to construct a simple, all-rocket powered vehicle that will fly low suborbital demonstration missions. The preliminary vehicle design is currently underway.
It will build on a legacy of XCOR's previous commercial and government technology projects, including reusable liquid rocket engines that are capable of hundreds of restarts, piston propellant pumps, low cost highly reliable valves, rapid propellant filling techniques, and proven reliable ignition systems.