DIY Friday: Your Own Rocket Plane!

Ok, it’s not really a DIY project. But we were mighty impressed by the news yesterday that Xcor’s Lynx Rocketplane (er, suborbital vehicle) could be bringing people into space within 2 years.


Bringing two people to an altitude of 200,000 feet is as close as you might get to DIY Space Travel — especially if the guy sitting next to you can’t fly.

The LA Times has more: 

Xcor Aerospace Inc. announced Wednesday that it would enter the space tourism market with a rocket plane that would carry passengers for about $100,000 a ride.

The Lynx will take off under its own power, carrying just a pilot and a single passenger, the Mojave, Calif., company said at a news conference in Beverly Hills.

Each flight will reach an altitude of 200,000 feet, close enough to space that passengers will experience about 90 seconds of weightlessness. Flight testing of the Lynx is expected to begin in 2010.

Popular Mechanics notes:

XCOR, however, does not plan to operate the space plane—only to build it, with Air Force Research Laboratory funding allegedly helping to test some of Lynx’s technology. If nothing else, XCOR’s announcement is yet another sign that private-space companies are finding access to funding and engineers, so that NASA won’t be the only agency heading north—way north—anytime soon.  

So what will it be like to fly in the Lynx? Check out the animated video from the company, conveniently posted for us space buffs on YouTube:

Also be sure to read the press release for more information, including a nice diagram (PDF) of the Lynx’s flight profile.