XCOR shuts down


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Capitalism in space: XCOR, the company that was going to fly tourists on the Lynx reusable suborbital plane by 2013, has laid off its last remaining employees.

Though years ago I predicted this failure accurately, I do not celebrate it. I would have much preferred to have been dead wrong, and to have seen Lynx built and flying, making money from space tourism. At the same time, I am also utterly realistic about the realities of capitalism. To have big successes you need to also have sad failures. XCOR unfortunately belongs to the latter.

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4 comments

  • Edward

    I grieve for this loss. I thought that XCOR’s spaceplane design seemed efficient, as the wings provide a far more efficient method of lift than rocket thrust alone. I had hoped to see a spaceplane that launches from a runway as well as returns to a runway. That was innovative.

  • Alex

    Mr. Zimmerman:

    What about XCOR’s upper stage engine contract/work for United Launch Alliance’s Vulcan launch vehicle? Do you have any information?

  • Alex: See today’s post on XCOR.

  • Anthony Domanico

    This is a sad thing. I want Blue Origin and Virgin Galactic to succeed, but if XCOR succeeded it may have ushered in a new era when being a billionaire (or being backed by a billionaire) was no longer a prerequisite to starting a successful launch company. I realize at the time Elon Musk wasn’t a billionaire when he founded SpaceX but he still had made a $100 million initial investment.

    Now my hope is with Rocket Lab to usher in said era.

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