Xcor completes piston pump tests

Washington DC
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Xcor has announced that its liquid oxygen (LOx) piston pump has completed testing and is ready for integration with the Lynx, a suborbital spacecraft capable of horizontal takeoff and landing.

"We are ready to integrate that pump with the Lynx main engine and start doing pump fed tests. All the tests on that engine to this point have been pressure fed," says Xcor, "and that will happen this summer."

The first engine test fire will occur shortly thereafter.

The piston pump is a slightly more sophisticated version of the same pumps found in the engines of cars and smaller aircraft. Rockets have traditionally used more complex means of pumping fluids, namely complex turbopumps and pressurization. Use of a piston pump has potential to drastically simplify how rockets are fueled.

 xcor lynx, rex features

 ©Xcor

"The main goal right now is to integrate the pumps and the engine onto the (Lynx's) static structure," says Xcor, "and get the complete propulsion system in and running."

The pressure cabin and aerodynamic strakes will soon follow.

United Launch Alliance is financing tests of the same pump with cryogenic liquid hydrogen, which the company hopes to use on a potential new upper stage for Delta IV and Atlas V rockets. The pump has thus far been tested with liquid hydrogen, liquid methane and LOx, says Xcor.