December 17th – 18th, 2009, Mojave, CA, USA and Yecheon-gun, ROK: The Yecheon Astro Space Center announced today that it has selected XCOR Aerospace as its preferred supplier of suborbital space launch services. Operating under a wet lease model, XCOR intends to supply services to the Center using the Lynx Mark II suborbital vehicle, pending United States government approvals to station the vehicle in the Republic of Korea.
XCOR is committed to working with the US Department of State, Department of Defense, Department of Commerce and other agencies of the US government to comply with relevant laws, regulations, policies and procedures. XCOR has engaged specialized export control consultants from the Commonwealth Consulting Group of Arlington, Virginia, and legal counsel from the Washington, D.C. office of the international firm Bingham McCutchen, to assist in this first of a kind effort.
“This is a ground breaking opportunity for our company, our industry and a very good opportunity for the U.S. to set an example of responsible international commerce in space transportation,” said XCOR CEO Jeff Greason. “To our knowledge, this is the first time that a US commercial suborbital launch vehicle will undergo the export licensing and approval process. We believe there is no better pathfinder than with our partners at the South Korean Yecheon Astro Space Center.”
Yecheon Astro Space Center is a non-profit entity that operates multiple space related activities including: aerospace training center; astronomy research center; planetarium; a commercial space camp with centrifuge; and commercial helicopter tourism operation in the South Korean State of Gyeongsangbuk-do, approximately 240 kilometers (150 miles) southeast of Seoul.
Working closely with its partners, Yecheon Astro Space Center has formed a broad coalition of regional and national entities to fund the approximately $30 Million project to bring the Lynx to Yecheon for space tourism, educational, scientific and environmental monitoring missions, making it the early leader in commercial manned space flight in Asia. Under the envisioned arrangement, Yecheon will be the exclusive Lynx operational site in Korea.
“As part of our long term strategic plan, we have performed an extensive review of the suborbital vehicle suppliers over the past 18 months, and found XCOR’s Lynx to be the best mix of safe design, reliable clean propulsion, skilled team members, full reusability, ease of operation, turn around time, upfront cost and long term cost to operate,” said Mr Jo Jae-Seong, Founder and Chief Executive Director of Yecheon Astro Space Center. “We look forward to a long term relationship with XCOR and Lynx!”
“This is an incredibly important development for the New Space industry charting a course for other innovative US companies to flourish here and abroad. It will produce high paying manufacturing jobs, and allow the innovative spirit of America to take root and grow a new industry before international participants can catch up,” said XCOR Chief Operating Officer, Andrew Nelson, adding, “I think the wet lease model is an innovative means to safely operate, maintain and provide physical security for the Lynx while ensuring that US export control issues are addressed completely.