Photo: XCOR Aerospace
Since the last flight of the Concorde in 2003, supersonic travel has been the province of jet fighter pilots and Felix Baumgartner.
XCOR Aerospace wants to change that. Out of a group of outfits looking to bring back travel faster than the speed of sound, it has an especially intriguing idea: flying from one airport to another, via outer space.
It’s no pipe dream: XCOR is busy building the Lynx, its suborbital commercial spacecraft, which will take off and land like a conventional plane, but offer a cruising speed of Mach 3.5, 62 miles above the ground.
As it moves toward its first test flights in early 2013, XCOR has built a full-scale mockup of the Lynx, which it brought to last week’s International Symposium for Personal and Commercial Spaceflight, in New Mexico.
The Lynx seats only two, and is a stepping stone to a future vehicle that will make point to point space travel a reality.
The design is not final yet, COO Andrew Nelson says. But it’s the best look yet at the craft that could make point to point travel in space a reality, and send passengers from New York to Tokyo in an hour and a half.
The goal of the model is to give an accurate representation of what the Lynx will look like once it's fully built.
This mockup of the cockpit actually represents a design that is several months old. The cockpit is currently being built.
That's what he calls the 'human factor' — little things like making sure the buttons are within reach.
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