CSO and XCOR Aerospace sign payload integrator agreement for suborbital flights
November 19, 2013, Prague, Czech Republic and Mojave, California, USA – The Czech Space Office (CSO) announced today the signing of an exclusive agreement with XCOR Aerospace. The agreement authorizes the CSO to become an Authorized Payload Integrator of XCOR’s Lynx®, a rocket-powered suborbital spacecraft currently being built at XCOR’s headquarters in Mojave, California.
The Lynx spacecraft is designed to reach up to 100 km in altitude along a suborbital trajectory, will takeoff like a business jet, and return to its runway much like the Shuttle. Lynx will also provide up to three minutes of micro-gravity and exposure to the harsh environment at the edge of space.
With today’s announcement, the Czech Space Office also joins a global network of XCOR-authorized payload integrators. CSO will provide complete payload integration services including technical and administrative support. Support entails flight bookings, project management, design & safety reviews, flight insurance and export/import paperwork, among other functions. The CSO will also offer technical services such as payload qualification, engineering & manufacture, data & telemetry services and flight engineer training. Payload integration services will support experiment activities with a variety of scientific, educational and engineering objectives in atmospheric science, physics, microgravity research, planetary science, earth observation and life sciences. In addition to institutional and corporate research opportunities, this partnership intends to offer payload integration services for student missions through educational programs, as well as for public outreach.
“Having a working partnership with XCOR Aerospace, one of the pioneers and world leaders in commercial spaceflight, is an important step in our sustained effort to develop a manned space program in our country and bring the benefits of space closer to our people,” said Jan Kolar, CSO Director. “We see our direct involvement in the use of the Lynx spacecraft as a unique and accessible opportunity to develop critical national science and education capabilities, and inspire new ways of thinking and execution of space-based research. We believe it also gives us a good opportunity to prepare efficient space research projects with our partners abroad.”
The Czech Space Office will help facilitate and provision flight services on Lynx by ensuring end users understand the packaging, environmental, safety, operational flight profile and interface (physical, electrical and data) requirements of the Lynx for both automated experiments not requiring user intervention during flight, and those experiments when the scientist accompanies the payload to the edge of space. Additional value added services will include fabrication, test, and qualification of experiments in accordance with XCOR requirements.
XCOR Lynx will present a solid first step for many researchers’ first practical experience with a space-based experiment, and to validate experiments before they are used on the station or satellite. XCOR Lynx’s ability to facilitate tests in-flight, and provide researchers the room to learn and adjust payloads on the ground then fly again in under two hours is large advantage in the research and education market.
CSO will give a finalized payload to XCOR technicians for placement into one of the four cargo carrying locations on Lynx, to be flown on the agreed-upon suborbital trajectory. The space flight is projected to take under 30 minutes on average.
XCOR’s first vehicle, the Lynx Mark I will begin flights in 2014 and will carry payloads smaller than 1 kg as a “ride share” or “secondary payload”, and up to one 120kg “primary” mission payload. Payloads may be placed inside the Lynx pressurized cabin or exposed to the unpressurized and radiation conditions of space.