June 1, 2016 – Following recent breakthroughs in its development of safer, cost-effective, sustainable, reliable and instantly reusable rocket engines for XCOR’s Lynx and other launchers, XCOR Aerospace announced earlier today that it has decided to focus the majority of its resources on the final development of its revolutionary liquid oxygen and liquid hydrogen (LH2) program.
This innovative propulsion technology has applications for upper-stage liquid hydrogen engines suitable for the Atlas V, the Delta IV, and the planned NASA Space Launch System (SLS). This shift underscores the partnership between XCOR and ULA, USA’s premier launch services provider that was announced March 9 this year.
“Based on the immediate engine opportunities presented to us and our resource constraints we decided we needed to fully focus on the LH2 program for the forthcoming period,” said Jay Gibson, President and CEO of XCOR Aerospace. “Given that we remain a small-scale company, we are planning to place more emphasis on fine-tuning the hydrogen engine program to achieve an optimal closed loop system for cryogenic rocket engines.
XCOR’s 8H21 LO2/LH2 engine (25k lbf thrust) is being developed for the upper stage propulsion for ULA’s Advanced Cryogenic Evolved Stage (ACES). Since 2008 XCOR has been working closely with ULA on a subscale 2,500 lbf thrust liquid hydrogen engine, which was successfully built and tested in 2015.
In 2016, XCOR began development on the full scale 25k lbf thrust liquid hydrogen engine, the 8H21, under a privately funded contract with ULA.
The 8H21 is a liquid oxygen, liquid hydrogen rocket engine that uses XCOR’s proprietary piston pumps and other unique rocket engine components to deliver a low cost solution for easier access to space.
“We are convinced that this effort will ensure that XCOR is ultimately better positioned to
finish the Lynx Project and produce an efficient, reliable and safe vehicle,” said Gibson. “Instantly Reusable Launch Vehicles will make the edge of space accessible for everyone and our efforts with ULA on the LH2 propulsion systems will do the same for deep space.”
XCOR will continue to keep working from both its Mojave and Midland locations.