Suborbital Spaceplane company XCOR files for bankruptcy

Xcor was making a suborbital reusable launch vehicle (a suborbital spaceplane).

XCOR filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy Wednesday in the Eastern District of California.

Money dried up for XCOR after its subcontract with United Launch Alliance wasn’t renewed this year. In 2016, XCOR began development on the full scale 25k lbf thrust liquid hydrogen engine, the 8H21, under a privately funded contract with ULA. This partnership with the Air Force will further support this engine development.

XCOR, in its filing, listed estimated assets of between $1 and 10 million, with estimated liabilities of between $10 and 50 million.

XCOR was founded by four former employees of Rotary Rocket Company in 1999 after that company, which was developing a reusable launch vehicle called Roton, changed propulsion systems. XCOR developed a number of engines, including versions flown on a modified Long-EZ airplane called EZ-Rocket.

XCOR is best known in the industry for Lynx, a suborbital spaceplane announced in 2008 designed to carry one pilot and one spaceflight participant. The vehicle was designed to take off from a runway under rocket power and fly a suborbital arc, gliding back to a runway landing.

The company, though, was never able to complete the initial prototype of Lynx.