- Press Release
- Oct 2, 2022
US Air Force Awards ULA and XCOR Rocket Contract for Upper Stage
United Launch Alliance (ULA), the nation’s premier launch services provider, has awarded XCOR Aerospace with a new contract through the United States Air Force to develop an upper stage propulsion system for Vulcan, ULA’s next-generation launch system.
Jay Gibson, President XCOR: “We are very proud of our long and ongoing relationship with ULA, and very pleased ULA has chosen XCOR as a potential upper stage engine provider. We have already begun work on the 8H21 development, and are very excited about the long term potential for XCOR to support ULA and the United States Air Force in their evolving launch efforts.”
XCOR’s 8H21 LO2/LH2 engine (25k lbf thrust) is being developed for the upper stage propulsion for ULA’s Advanced Cryogenic Evolved Stage (ACES). Since 2008 XCOR has been working closely with ULA on a subscale 2,500 lbf thrust liquid hydrogen engine, which was successfully built and tested in 2015.
In 2016, XCOR began development on the full scale 25k lbf thrust liquid hydrogen engine, the 8H21, under a privately funded contract with ULA. This partnership with the Air Force will further support this engine development.
The 8H21 is a liquid oxygen, liquid hydrogen rocket engine that uses XCOR’s proprietary piston pumps and other unique rocket engine components to deliver a low cost solution for easier access to space. The 8H21 also uses the same technology that XCOR has been developing for their own reusable engine programs, designed with forward capabilities in mind for future reusable engine development programs.
XCOR Aerospace: XCOR Aerospace is based in Mojave, California. It is currently creating a Research and Development Center in Midland, Texas, and will be establishing an operational and manufacturing site at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida with the assistance of Space Florida. XCOR builds safer, more reliable and reusable rocket-powered vehicles, propulsion systems, advanced non-flammable composites and rocket piston pumps. XCOR works with aerospace prime contractors and government customers on major propulsion systems, while also building the XCOR Lynx. Lynx is a piloted, two-seat, fully reusable liquid rocket-powered spaceplane that takes off and lands horizontally. The Lynx family of vehicles serves three primary missions: research and scientific missions and private spaceflight in the Lynx Mark I and Lynx Mark II, and micro satellite launch on the Lynx Mark III. Lynx production models (designated Lynx Mark II) are designed to be robust, multi-mission (research/scientific or private spaceflight) commercial vehicles capable of flying to 100+ km in altitude, up to four times per day. Lynx production models are available to customers in the free world on a wet-lease basis for their own manned space flight programs. www.xcor.com.
XCOR Space Expeditions: XCOR Space Expeditions, a wholly owned subsidiary of XCOR Aerospace, is based in Amsterdam with a regional office for Asia in Hong Kong. XCOR Space Expeditions supports a global network of 30 independent resellers with established Lynx flight sales experience. The company’s space-focused training programs offer a variety of medical screening and specialty training missions for future XCOR Lynx flight participants. Strategic partnerships are currently active with global brands including KLM, Unilever, Luminox, Philips, Heineken, Sinomax and Blåkläder. www.xcor.com.