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Mike Massee
XCOR Aerospace
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Press Release
XCOR Completes DARPA Contract

Cyrogenic Liquid Oxygen Pump a Success

Mojave, CA, Thursday, October 21, 2004: XCOR Aerospace announced today it has completed another significant milestone in its pump-fed rocket program by successfully pumping liquid oxygen through a cryogenic liquid oxygen pump developed by XCOR. The cryogenic liquid oxygen pump is driven by a motor unit that has been operating to requirements for over a year. Previously, the pump had been pumping liquid nitrogen. Both motor and pump are piston machines, rather than the more traditional turbo-centrifugal hardware. The pump’s size is matched to XCOR’s 1,830 lbf thrust LOX-kerosene engine under development with private investment funds. The pump’s success completes a Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) Phase II Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) contract.


Screenshot of the LOX pump in action.  Click here for a video (Windows Media 9, 840K)

The objective for this contract was to develop a low cost, highly operational alternative to turbo pumps for high performance propulsion systems. 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.

“This contract has helped us develop the rocket engines for our Xerus vehicle as well as for several potential DoD programs,” said Rich Pournelle, Director of Investor Relations. The Phase II STTR 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 STTR contract by matching the government award with private capital. The second phase allowed for the construction and test of prototype flight pumps for liquid oxygen and kerosene propellants.

Dan DeLong, XCOR’s Chief Engineer said, “We are very pleased with our progress. These liquid oxygen and fuel pumps will greatly improve our ability to reach high altitudes at low risk in the Xerus.” 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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