XCOR’s Move To Texas

Jeff Foust reports that it’s not a move — it’s an expansion:

“XCOR sees this as an expansion opportunity,” a source familiar with the deal said in a phone interview today, emphasizing that XCOR would be expanding to Midland, not moving there entirely from Mojave. “They plan on maintaining a presence in Mojave. This is all about growth.”

More details are expected at a press conference Monday at 3 pm EDT in Midland featuring XCOR and local officials. Some open questions about the planned deal include the timing of XCOR’s arrival in Midland and whether Midland International Airport plans to seek a launch site operator’s license (aka spaceport license) from the FAA’s Office of Commercial Space Transportation, which would be needed if XCOR planned to conduct test of operational Lynx flights from the airport. (There’s also the issue of integrating a flight test program into the normal operations of a commercial airport like Midland’s; one of Mojave’s strengths is that it is well-suited to experimental aircraft and spacecraft tests.)

So it sounds like they’ll keep Lynx development in Mojave, and not disrupt it with a move.

But still, if California wasn’t the worst place to do business in the country, they’d be happy to grow there instead. But until that changes, all of their growth is likely to be into other states. And California will continue to circle the drain economically.

38 thoughts on “XCOR’s Move To Texas”

        1. Colorado is rightfully part of Texas.

          When Texas joined the union, Congress took Colorado away using the excuse that Texas was “too big.” They also took away a big chunk of west Texas, which became the eastern half of New Mexico. The result is that funny notch and panhandle (which used to run all the way up to Colorado).

  1. Yes, best to start production fresh, where the environment is more favorable. But I expect the Mojave branch will eventually be phased out after Lynx is fully operational and its apparent that its costs don’t justify its benefits.

  2. Instead of moving to W’s hometown, they could’ve moved to Chicago and built their business around government loans, bribes, and kickbacks, saving them the trouble of actually building something that can fly in space.

    1. They could build the Ford Explorer of Spaceships. Or maybe the Ford Taurus. Both made in Chicago.

      1. And both dangerously close to the 6000-SUX, made in post-apocalyptic Detroit. 🙂

  3. Wait! All is not lost! California just approved high-speed rail on a party-line vote. The rapid, efficient, and affordable transportation system will revitalize the state’s moribund economy and attracts millions of new immigrants. It’s an investment in the future!

    Oh, who am I kidding. A multi-gneration ship to Alpha Centauri would arrive before California gets this boondoggle stretched from LA to San Francisco.

    1. How–how–short-sighted of you! Why, the whole California economy is coiled like a spring, ready to leap forward the moment that all those fine folks in Madera can get to Bakersfield! Dammit, man, it’s infrastructure! How could that not be worth $7.7B?

      1. How can anybody not click on a great name like Radical Moderate? Reading your blog now.

        $7.7b… shovel ready… earthquake country… Coiled like a spring… Hmm…

        I get it!!! Jules Verne almost had it. Instead of digging a hole and using a powerful explosive which could affect faults we use a big spring! The socialist CA space program would be the envy of the world (and China!)

        High Speed Coiled Space Rail!

        China will never have Dragon envy again!!! Somebody get Elon on the phone!

      2. It’s infrastructure, but it’s ugly infrastructure. Nobody likes living near train tracks. But they do like living near scenic straits filled with ocean water! The salt-air and sand actually increases the value of their real-estate instead of throwing it in the toilet.

        So what California needs to do is build a huge, scenic canal between LA and San Francisco, deep enough so that small cruise ships could make the journey, efficiently moving people in luxurious comfort.

        Who wants to be cooped up on a wildly bouncing train when they could be lounging beside an on-deck pool ogling hot babes in bikinis?

        I would start the canal in Victorville, then dig to Bakersfield, Fresno, and Modesto. Eventually it would connect LA to San Fancisco, hitting harbors at both ends as a natural, green way to keep the canal filled with water instead of overland pumping stations.

        Think of it. Not only would the canal system provide sea water to inland farmers, but retired California public employees could take a cruise ship from Long Beach to San Francisco Bay!

        Jerry Brown should start issuing bonds on the project, because although a hugely expensive undertaking, it will be the biggest boon to commerce and intra-state tourism that California has ever seen.

        1. George,

          Why a canal? Just build a dam in the Delta and return the Central Valley into an inland sea. Then use hi-speed hydrofoils as your transportation system.

          1. Can illegal immigrants swim well? That scheme, although very attractive, might be construed as racist.

            Then again, an inland sea might give Californians a natural barrier to form a last stand against people they’ve all but invited in.

    2. If I’m reading the story right, they adjusted the plan to cut costs, via using existing track in many areas.

      What’s the difference between a high speed train and a regular train on existing track? The high speed train costs more but runs at the same speed.

      So, their LA to San Fran time estimates, already unrealistically optimistic, just went out the window. At this rate, I wonder if their high speed train, due ti it’s long detour inland, will be any faster than the old Amtrack coastal run (much shorter) that was discontinued for lack of ridership? The biggest difference; the “high speed” train tickets will cost many times more (and more than airfare). But, their projections are based on 100% ridership.

      My guess; they’ll build the 50 miles of it out near Fresno, and that’ll be the end of it (and about ten billion).

      1. they adjusted the plan to cut costs, via using existing track in many areas

        Yuck! Without using welded tracks there is no way the train is going to be fast enough.

        1. That’s what I thought too.

          I thought High Speed Rail needed ‘different’ tracks, but I couldn’t remember what it needed exactly. As I recall, this is precisely why the High Speed Rail along the NYC / DC Corridor isn’t High Speed Rail.

        2. That’s just it — they’re going to use it as a slush fund for slow speed rail pork.

          Oink, oink.


      2. Devil advocate; existing rails could be upgraded. Existing trains could still use them along with HSR.

        But why not vacuum seal holes so every superconducting levitated run to every where is 42 minutes on gravity alone? That wouldn’t bust a CA budget.

  4. One of my Facebook friends just posted that he got a job at XCOR. He’s a Californian, though, and doesn’t mention moving in the post.

    1. That’s a pretty good title for a Lonestar song.

      Now, all you have to do is come up with the music and lyrics.

  5. Midland is fine if you’re just going straight up and down. But, if you want to put anything downrange, you really need to be thinking about Brownsville and a SE launch.

    1. There is a great orbital corridor which XCOR will make full use of for the Mark 5.

  6. Midland is fine if you’re just going straight up and down. But, if you want to put anything downrange, you really need to be thinking about Brownsville and a SE launch.

    Only if you are flying multi-stage artillery. XCOR doesn’t, they fly real, piloted rocketplanes, fully reusable and with intact abort. They need land downrange, preferably with airports and runways, for safe landings after aborts (rather than ditching at sea), and possibly for landing first stage boosters. Midland looks like it might be in a very good spot for that.

    Besides, Mojave has, what, 5000 people? Midland-Odessa is at about a quarter million. Quite aside from the business environment, it should be much easier to hire and keep good engineering talent. Not everyone is willing to live like a monk.

    1. Mojave has about 4,200, up from 3,800 in the 2000 Census. Its growth rate is 1% a year, and I’ll bet all the growth is from the Spaceport.

    2. It’s not the number of stages that matters, it’s the orbital velocity desired. Anything headed for 8km/s+ is going to raise heads if its trajectory passes over population centers in the first thousand miles.

      1. If sonic booms are the worry, it’s Texas. People will just think there’s a shooting range nearby.

      2. I wonder about the propagation of sonic shock waves for a vehicle that’s rapidly gaining altitude. Since you want to get out of the dense atmosphere as quickly as possible, you’ll want to gain altitude very quickly. Once you break Mach 1 (or even a little before), you’re generating shock waves. However, since you’re moving upwards, would the shock waves tend to propagate upwards as well? By the time you’re gaining a large horizontal velocity, you’re quite high so the shock waves would seem to be pretty weak by they time they reach the ground, if they reach the ground at all. The SR-71 left a trademark double shock wave but it was traveling horizontally at 80,000 feet. What would the shock wave be for a vehicle going faster but at 150,000 feet or higher while still climbing? I honestly don’t know.

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