Safety in Commercial Spaceflight
Safety is our absolute first priority, and XCOR Aerospace has gone to great lengths to create a safer, more reliable space flight experience for all participants. Below are the key safety features that set XCOR and Lynx apart.
LYNX: DESIGNED WITH SAFETY IN MIND
Lynx is designed with safety in mind. XCOR Aerospace’s objective is to make commercial space flights as safe as commercial aviation, currently the safest means of transportation on Earth. Safety backups and procedures are built into the Lynx experience, and it is reassuring to know that they are there.
8 SAFETY FEATURES OF LYNX FLIGHTS
#1 Horizontal take-off
The Lynx takes off like a normal aircraft -only faster and from a regular runway. Thanks to this style of departure, we have the opportunity to test the rocket engines safely on the ground before launching the Lynx. The pilot and technicians monitor all parameters closely during the start. If anything performs sub-optimally, the pilot can shut down the engines and simply stay on the ground while these problems are fixed.
#2 Pressure Suits
All our astronauts wear pressure suits. In the unlikely event that cockpit pressure drops or is lost, the pressure suits provide sufficient air pressure and oxygen to survive far above the highest altitude the Lynx will ever reach.
#3 Seat Egress Mode
All astronauts have a parachute and egress mode. In the highly unlikely situation that anything goes wrong and key systems fail, the Lynx has two ultimate safety features: seat egress mode and parachutes. The astronauts would be able to bail out of the ship and land by parachute.
#4 Safety Expertise
We, together with XCOR Aerospace, have a great deal of safety expertise. We also have a great amount of safety expertise at our disposal with KLM as a partner. KLM has one of the world’s best records in flight safety. Not surprisingly, this is due to KLM having the best flight safety programs in the world. We will do our utmost to apply all relevant aspects of commercial flight safety to space travel safety using KLM’s vast expertise.
In addition, we also have a great deal of military flight safety expertise, thanks to our experience with the Royal Netherlands Air Force (RNLAF). The RNLAF has one of the best safety records flying F16’s over the last three decades. Lt. Gen. (ret) Ben Droste and Harry van Hulten (one of our test pilots) will ensure that we apply all relevant aspects of military flight safety to our commercial space operations.
#5 XCOR's Rocket Engines
XCOR Aerospace's rocket engines have proven to be safe and have been extensively tested. The development of the Lynx rocket engines was completed in May 2010. Lynx engine ground tests have been performed rigorously. The rocket engine performs extremely well and, above all, has proven to be safe and reliable.
#6 XCOR's Track Record
Building rocket engines since 1999, XCOR has acquired an excellent reputation and a wealth of experience. XCOR has an unparalleled safety track record and is a world leader in commercial reusable rocket engines. In the last decade, XCOR has conducted more than 5,000 rocket tests without incident and performed 66 flights in two different aircraft powered by XCOR rocket engines.
#7 Four Engines
The Lynx Mark I and Mark II have not one, but four rocket engines. In case one fails in mid-flight, the spacecraft is designed to perform extremely well with three engines operating. Even if two or three engines should fail, we can stay in the air for as long as necessary in order to make a safe return.
#8 Re-startable Engines
Lynx rocket engines are uniquely designed to be shut down and restarted mid-flight, as many times as necessary. When returning to Earth, this enables us to perform a go-around in case a nominal landing is impossible (for example, due to some kind of obstruction on the runway).
All of these features bring commercial space operations to the next level of safety.