XCOR Taps ATK Aerospace for Wings and Control Surfaces

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XCOR Aerospace of Mojave, Calif., awarded a two-phase contract to ATK Aerospace, under which the Luka, Miss., ATK subsidiary will design and manufacture wings and control surfaces for XCOR’s Lynx Mark I prototype suborbital rocketplane.

The companies announced the award in a joint press release Nov. 14. Neither financial terms nor the performance period of the arrangement were disclosed.

ATK, using XCOR wing and control surface designs as a starting point, will create “a detailed design ready for manufacture,” according to the press release. Quartus Engineering, a San Diego company with expertise in structural and flutter analysis, will work with ATK on the project, according to the press release.

“With this effort we are establishing a model of how smaller NewSpace companies may utilize established government primes as our suppliers,” said Andrew Nelson, chief operating officer of XCOR Aerospace. “ATK has demonstrated they are nimble, cost effective and can leverage deep experience from prior larger projects.”

XCOR plans to start flying the Lynx Mark 1 test vehicle from the Mojave Air and Space Port in late 2013. Flights from NASA’s Shuttle Landing Facility at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida would follow in 2014. XCOR also is planning the Lynx Mark 2, the first production model, which will be made in Florida. Lynx Mark 3, which will be capable of launching tiny satellites to orbit during parabolic flights, would follow.

XCOR is designing its Lynx vehicles to reach an altitude of about 100 kilometers. The vehicle takes off and lands horizontally and seats either two crew members or one crew member and a cache of cargo. Lynx flights to the edge of space will cost about $95,000 each. XCOR said in August it had booked about 200 of these. The company is basing its business case on both tourist and research flights.