Mojave, California based-Xcor Aerospace has unveiled its design for its reusable horizontal take-off and landing Lynx vehicle that it aims to fly in 2010.
The Lynx has been in development for over three years and replaces the firm's earlier Xerus suborbital vehicle concept. A carbonfibre construction using epoxy resin and thermal protection for the wing's leading edge, the Lynx has one pilot and a gross lift-off weight of 5,500kg (11,000lb).
The vehicle will achieve Mach 2 during its ascent to its maximum altitude of 200,000ft (61,000m) with main engine cut off at 138,000ft. It will reach M2.5 on its descent. Its payload capability is the pilot, assumed to be 70kg, a 130kg passenger, and their pressure suits and parachutes.
Lynx will also be a demonstration vehicle for testing US Air Force Research Laboratory technologies relevant to operationally responsive space missions such as rapid satellite deployment capability.
"We have designed this vehicle to operate much like a commercial aircraft," said Xcor chief executive Jeff Greason. The company has already spent $7 million on Lynx's development and is estimating a need for a further $10 million that it will have to raise privately.