XCOR Aerospace announced today it
passed a significant hardware development milestone in its pump-fed rocket
engine program. Recently, XCOR was awarded a $750,000, Phase II contract from
the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) to develop a flight
configured prototype rocket engine propellant pump. The milestone was
achieved by successfully operating the motor section that drives the pump to
contract specifications. Both motor and pump sections are being developed as
piston machines instead of the more traditional turbo-centrifugal hardware.
The size of the pump is matched to XCOR’s 1830 lbf thrust LOX-kerosene engine
currently under development with private investment capital.

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) is the central
research and development organization for the Department of Defense (DOD). It
manages and directs selected basic and applied research and development
projects for DOD, and pursues research and technology where risk and payoff
are both very high and where success may provide dramatic advances for
traditional military roles and missions.

The Phase II contract follows the successful completion of Phase I and
Bridge Phase contracts that developed the pump design through concept proof
and preliminary design of a flight configuration. Matching private capital
for development of dual commercial and military use of rocket engines was also
required in these earlier phases. The second phase will allow for the
construction and test of prototype flight pumps for liquid oxygen and kerosene
propellants. “This contract will help us to develop the rocket engines for
our Xerus vehicle as well as for several potential DOD programs,” said Rich
Pournelle, Director of Investor Relations.

Dan DeLong, XCOR’s Chief Engineer said, “We expect to have a flight
operational motor-pump assembly within the next year. This will greatly
improve the technology over our previous pressure-fed engine experience.” The
company will now focus on securing a combination of government contracts and
additional private investment to continue development of a suborbital vehicle
for space tourism, microgravity research and microsatellite launches.

XCOR Aerospace is a California corporation located in Mojave, California.
The company is in the business of developing and producing safe, reliable and
reusable rocket engines and rocket powered vehicles.