Major management shakeup leaves XCOR’s future in question
XCOR announced the departure of two of the founders of the organization in an apparent management reshuffle on Nov. 23, 2015. The brief press release talked about the two founders and their contributions to XCOR and the Lynx vehicle.
“Both Jeff and Dan are true pioneers in our business. It’s their vision and their perseverance that helped us getting to where we stand now. We owe both men a lot of gratitude for all the time, energy and groundbreaking ideas they have been contributing to our company and the industry and, of course, we look forward to possibly working together in the future,” said XCOR’s CEO Jay Gibson via the release issued by the NewSpace firm.
Missing from the press release were status details on the company’s other two founders, Aleta Jackson and Doug Jones. Shortly after the release went public, Jackson announced she was no longer with the company. Doug Jones, the fourth founder, appears to still be at XCOR.
The news of their departures has stunned the NewSpace community. Speculation about the departures can be found on blogs and forums all over the Internet. As of the posting of this article, no one at XCOR has returned SpaceFlight Insider’s inquiries about the situation.
XCOR, founded in 1999, has been working on their Lynx suborbital spacecraft for a number of years. The vehicle is currently being assembled at the company’s research and development center in Mojave, California. The vehicle is designed to take a pilot and one spaceflight participant (passenger, researcher, etc.) and a number of experiments on flights to altitudes reaching 62 miles (100 km). XCOR has used an incremental approach to their vehicle development by testing each component of the craft as the progress to flight readiness.
In addition to the Lynx, XCOR is also working with United Launch Alliance (ULA) on the development of a 25,000 to 30,000 pounds-force (110–130 kN) cryogenic LH2/LOX upper-stage rocket engine. The objective of that partnership is to create a new class of engine that has a higher cost-to-performance ratio than is currently available.
XCOR headquarters are located in Midland, Texas. Throughout the past 16 years, the company has issued an array of imagery of different versions of the firm’s Lynx spacecraft performing assorted tasks on orbit. Former NASA astronaut Rick Searfoss and SpaceShipOne test pilot Brian Binnie both joined the firm in the mid-2000s and in 2014 (respectively).
One year ago this week, XCOR tested out an XR-5H25 rocket engine on behalf of ULA. In fact, the company has carried out several tests of rocket engines in an effort to enable its aerospace ambitions.
Video courtesy of XCOR
Joe Latrell is a life-long avid space enthusiast having created his own rocket company in Roswell, NM in addition to other consumer space endeavors. He continues to design, build and launch his own rockets and has a passion to see the next generation excited about the opportunities of space exploration. Joe lends his experiences from the corporate and small business arenas to organizations such as Teachers In Space, Inc. He is also actively engaged in his church investing his many skills to assist this and other non-profit endeavors.