Every few weeks we break from technical posts and run a set of short interviews on the people behind Lynx. We want to make sure you hear the story of both Lynx development and those who are Lynx, the people who design and build it every day.
Welcome to the XCOR Crew series. And send your feedback in the comments or to bryan [at] xcor [dot] com.
First up, Test Engineer Geoffrey Licciardello…
From right to left: Geoffrey Licciardello and Jeremy Voigt during some of the first Lynx cold flow tests
Bryan Campen: So what are you up to in this shot, and what are you thinking?
Geoffrey Licciardello: This is during some of the first Lynx cold flows we ever did, well over a year ago now, if memory serves. I think we were doing LOX cold flows in prep for our first pump fed 5K18 hotfire. I don’t remember if a specific thought was going through my mind at that instant, but it was probably something along the lines of “I hope we can finish this test before midnight.”
BC: Did you finish before midnight?
GL: Yes we did, it was 9 something when we packed up that night.
BC: What’s your title, and what do you do?
GL: My title is Test Engineer. I work directly with senior engineer Mike Valant on all of our various pump programs, and my focus has been on propulsion rather than Lynx structure. I focus mostly on developing the piston pumps we use to run the 5K18 Lynx engines. I’ve also been the day-to-day engineer working on the ULA LH2 development program. It has been an incredibly exciting project.
BC: You have a nickname?
BC: How many years have you been at XCOR?
GL: Three years–plus a six-month internship. I started as an intern with XCOR while at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, started full time after graduating school with a BS in Aerospace Engineering in 2010. The internship was spent mostly working on the X-Racer as ground support crew. I designed the heat exchanger for rapid helium refill on the X-Racer so that it could run seven flights in one day.
BC: On to more important things. What are your guilty pleasures and what video games are you currently playing?
GL: I’m playing Empire: Total War. It’s a strategy game set in the 1700’s, Revolutionary War era. My guilty pleasure is reading comic books, mostly Sonic the Hedgehog comics and DreamKeepers graphic novels.
BC: And you write?
GL: Yes, SciFi, just for fun. It’s a series titled The Wayward Astronomer and it is a big hobby of mine.
BC: What’s your favorite movie?
GL: Pulp Fiction.
BC: What’s your favorite space-themed movie?
GL: Apollo 13.
BC: What are you currently reading?
GL: Most recently it’s 1775: A Good Year for Revolution by Kevin Phillips, about the prelude and startup of the Revolutionary War.
BC: Will you fly on Lynx?
GL: Absolutely. I can’t wait for the day that we get to fly. The X-Racer was so much fun, this will be ten times more so.