Rockets for the rest of us...

From: Doug Jones (
Date: Sat Feb 02 2002 - 11:11:47 MST

Adrian Tymes wrote:
> Mike Lorrey wrote:
> > XCOR's approach is one I've been advocating for years, and I think if
> > anyone gets there, it will be them.
> Actually, there are quite a few organizations taking similar approaches,
> though few of them have as yet actually flown hardware. XCOR seems to
> be the most advanced of the lot; they have a good chance of being the
> first non-government organization to do manned orbital flight, but not
> the only ones (within, say, 10 years of when they achieve that
> milestone).

One of the "win" criteria in our business plan is if there are several
vehicle makers (possibly including us) who use our propulsion. This is
part of the reason why we haven't entered the X-prize competition- we
want to sell engines to all comers (subject to State Department
paranoia, of course). We're negotiating contracts/making proposals to a
whole bunch of prospective customers. Future's so bright, I gotta wear

Highlights of yesterday's flight-

* Mike Melvill putting the "chase" into chase pilot, passing 20 feet
over my head at 160 kts 15 seconds after Dick lit the engines, the warm
exhaust still washing around me...

* Hightailing it off the runway after I realized, "Oops, it's a touch
and go flight, he's not gonna be eight minutes coming down," as the
planes turned onto final...

* Dick showing impeccable glideslope management, setting it down just 80
feet past the numbers...

* Frustration at the *&^%$ ignition interlock switches being too cold
and operating sluggishly, forcing an unnecessary engine relight abort
and preventing the "go" part of the touch and go. (We'll have two fixes
built and tested before the next flight- this has only been a problem
during the recent cold weather. Next month we'll have our own custom
design switches built & installed; smaller, lighter, and more reliable.)

All in all, I really enjoy my job.

Doug Jones, Rocket Plumber
XCOR Aerospace
"We are confronted with insurmountable opportunities" -Pogo

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