XCOR Aerospace Claims Milestone

MOjave-based spaceflight startup XCOR Aerospace, one of a number of spaceflight-focused startups in the region, claimed it had made "significant progress" in an engine development program for the United Launch Alliance. XCOR said it successfully operated its liquid hydrogen pump at full design flow rate and pressure conditions, which will allow it to progress in its testing plans. XCOR said it is developing a new liquid hydrogen engine aimed at providing a more cost-effective upper-stage engine for the ULA. The program is in addition to the company's efforts to create its own, private spacecraft for manned space flight and space tourism. The company's backers include Silicon Valley angels Esther Dyson, Pete Ricketts (co-owner of the Chicago Cubs), Stephen Fleming (ATV Partners) and others.