(Sen) - Private spaceflight companies XCOR Aerospace ("XCOR") and Excalibur Almaz ("EA") have announced that XCOR's sub-orbital spaceflights will form a necessary part of the training for customers signing up to EA's long haul orbital space missions.
The agreement, currently in the form of a Memorandum of Understanding, was announced at the third European Space Tourism Conference taking place in London, United Kingdom. The essence of the agreement is that customers signing up for orbital space missions with EA will be required to undergo spaceflight experience and training aboard XCOR's sub-orbital spaceflights.
Art Dula, founder and Chairman of EA, said "Suborbital flight experience will serve as an integral preparatory step for the safety, education and enjoyment of our customers traveling on crew expedition missions. The XCOR flights will enhance the overall spaceflight experience of our program and will help ensure that our passengers are both mission and medically qualified to fly in space."
XCOR's Lynx spacecraft will carry one paying passenger at a time to sub-orbital space - about 100km (330,000 feet) above Earth, thereby reaching the edge of space. The passenger will sit alongside the professional pilot. XCOR says its first sub-orbital flight will take place later this year or early in 2013. The company hopes to operate several flights per day by 2015.
Excalibur Almaz, based on the Isle of Man, has announced its ambitions to take people to the Moon and has other plans for orbtial spaceflight, lunar exploration and asteroid mining. EA is planning a number of deep space crewed exploration missions as well as commercial payload services.
Andrew Nelson, Chief Operating Officer of XCOR, said “The Lynx is uniquely suited for the orbital manned space flight training market. Being able to tailor each Lynx flight to the needs of the participant, scientist and/or orbital astronaut trainee, and then flying those missions up to four times per day for a price that is less than one sixth the main competitor, now that is a significant benefit to the customer.”
XCOR Aerospace, founded in 1999, is a Californian company with a base at the Mojave Air & Space Port. The company has been developing rockets and reusable spacecraft since its inception. Its core focus at the present time s the development of Lynx, though the company does say it has plans to develop a spaceship for orbital spaceflight.