It’s that time of year for Big Airshows that result in Big News of Big Money being spent in Big Aerospace. This year’s Farnborough Air Show doesn’t disappoint, with some welcome news out of the still-intact-for-now United Kingdom. Via Parabolic Arc:
XCOR’s Lynx demonstrates that cats may indeed have nine lives:
US manned space launch vehicle designer XCOR Aerospace has signed a strategic Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with spaceplane design and operating company Orbital Access Limited and Glasgow Prestwick Spaceport. This partnership is supported by Scottish Enterprise, the Scottish Government’s economic development agency.
The MoU paves the way for the establishment of manned launch services at Prestwick using XCOR’s Lynx spacecraft with support from existing Scottish aerospace organisations.
This is very good news as the Lynx project ignominiously had the rug pulled out from under it just a few weeks ago. XCOR needed to shift focus to the new engines they’re building for ULA’s Vulcan rocket, but it was still disappointing. Lynx has a lot of potential for personal spaceflight, including something that hasn’t been discussed much in popular media: training new pilots. While it’s been touted as a suborbital tourism and research vehicle, I also see it as potentially being a Space Age Stearman.
In other news out of Farnborough, Reaction Engines UK has secured enough money to finally build a demonstrator SABRE rocket-based combined-cycle engine.
The agreements now in place between Reaction Engines, ESA and the UK Space Agency, together with the working partnership with BAE Systems, set the framework for Reaction Engines to deliver the world’s first SABRE ground demonstrator engine by the end of the decade.
SABRE is exactly the kind of revolutionary propulsion needed to enable the type of point-to-point space travel that I wrote about in Perigee. So yeah, I’d very much like to see this work. God save the Queen!