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Mike Massee
XCOR Aerospace
Phone (661) 824-4714 x127
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Press Release
XCOR passes major milestone on DARPA piston pump contract

Mojave, CA, Friday, September 26, 2003: XCOR Aerospace announced today it has successfully passed a significant hardware development milestone in its pump-fed rocket program. The progress is being made on a $750,000 contract awarded from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA). The contract is to develop a flight configured prototype rocket engine propellant pump. The motor section that drives the pump is now operating to requirements. Both motor and pump sections are being developed as piston machines, instead of the more traditional turbo-centrifugal hardware. Size of the pump is matched to XCOR’s 1830 lbf thrust LOX-kerosene engine under development with private investment money.


The air motor that drives the pump is shown here
with a 6-inch rule and a U.S. quarter for scale

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. XCOR qualified for accelerated award of the Phase II contract by matching the government award with private capital. 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 an operational motor-pump assembly in about 10 months. 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-powered vehicles and propulsion systems that enable affordable access to space.

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