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Private Space Firm XCOR May Establish HQ In Midland, Texas

timothy posted more than 2 years ago | from the suborbital-is-a-fun-word-to-say-aloud dept.

Businesses 42

MarkWhittington writes "A deal is in the works to establish a corporate headquarters in Midland, Texas for XCOR, a commercial space company that is developing a suborbital space tourism vehicle, the Lynx. The deal will likely also involve certifying Midland International Air Port as a space port so that the Lynx can operate there. XCOR is characterizing the move as an expansion as it still intends to maintain operations at the Mojave Spaceport in California."

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Midland, TX ... (1, Insightful)

harvey the nerd (582806) | more than 2 years ago | (#40585613)

that fount of knowledge, progress and presidents.

Re:Midland, TX ... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40585745)

Here in Texas we believe in the Ten Commandments, not the laws of physics.

Re:Midland, TX ... (1, Troll)

WindBourne (631190) | more than 2 years ago | (#40585929)

No, you speak of them. You obviously do not believe in them. Otherwise, W and his staff would not have been traitors.

Re:Midland, TX ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40587133)

What, W and his staff? But they followed the Commandments to the letter.

The letters being arranged to say "Except when it's convenient"

Re:Midland, TX ... (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40585805)

Putting a spaceport in Midland, Texas is not so unreasonable. It is not very different, in terms of infrastructure, from any Rust Belt town. It has the added advantage of being both in the middle of nowhere and in a state where the business will be given a fairly free hand. More importantly, it is relatively close to Houston (and I say that in the sense of close that only a Texan could use).

Re:Midland, TX ... (1)

alen (225700) | more than 2 years ago | (#40586097)

It's just that the average slashtart thinks anyone outside the coasts is a dumb redneck

Little do they know that Texas has a decent tech industry especially telecom

Re:Midland, TX ... (1)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 2 years ago | (#40590845)

Hi, Tex. "Slashtart?" I think you just cemented the stereotype.

Re:Midland, TX ... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40585807)

From the original new source:

The economic development agreement, according to the Reporter-Telegram report, involves $10 million in incentives for XCOR to establish its headquarters there, including $2 million for moving there and $3 million for upgrades to the hangars; the rest are “performance incentives” for reaching a payroll of $12 million within five years.

Sheesh, only $10 million? Why not just give them $500 million without any strings attached? It worked so well with other companies.

Re:Midland, TX ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40586691)

Times are tough. They're still recovering from the Super-Collider which was around Two billion.

Re:Midland, TX ... (1)

khallow (566160) | more than 2 years ago | (#40586785)

Twelve billion at the time it was nixed.

Re:Midland, TX ... (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40587149)

That was the estimated final price, and they stopped short of that, at 2 billion.

Re:Midland, TX ... (1)

gangien (151940) | more than 2 years ago | (#40586181)

funny how many people decry bigotry, then turn around and spout off crap like the OP.

Re:Midland, TX ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40588669)

Don't mess with textbooks.

Re:Midland, TX ... (5, Informative)

fermion (181285) | more than 2 years ago | (#40587937)

So Midland is a central location with lots of room to expand into a spaceport and provide a large buffer zone. It is a short flight from many major airports which makes it accesible from anywhere in the US. A nonstop flight from the major cities in Texas and states around Texas.

As far as workers, if I were an aerospace engineer I would be more interested in working on cool stuff like this with long term civilian potential than the fact that it is in the middle of nowhere. This is an exciting time to be a young person, more exciting than 20 years ago when the Space Shuttle was in the heyday.

I know what clear lake was like before JSC. I can only imagine what backwater the area around KSC was like. Los Alamos was only a boys school before the the national lab was installed. There is nothing to limit what we are going to be doing with commercial space travel except our imagination.

Close but not quite (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40585641)

One letter needs changed in their name.

Did anyone else read XCOM? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40585823)

Bring on the chryssalids!

Re:Did anyone else read XCOM? (1)

TFAFalcon (1839122) | more than 2 years ago | (#40586111)

It's the tentaculats I'm more worried about

Savor the paradox (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40585885)

"suborbital" space... "tourism". Suck the money out of the gullible fools!!! They deserve it.

Re:Savor the paradox (2)

pushing-robot (1037830) | more than 2 years ago | (#40586017)

Sub-orbital does not mean 'beneath space'. Hell, you could fly higher than the Moon on a 'sub-orbital' trajectory. The term 'sub-orbital' indicates you aren't in a closed orbit—at some point, you'll fall back to Earth.

Re:Savor the paradox (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40586167)

So, when I'm on a 747, I'm in space!! You Space Nutters have infinite capacity for self delusion as soon as space is mentionned.

Re:Savor the paradox (3, Interesting)

Genda (560240) | more than 2 years ago | (#40586733)

I don't know what kind of space you're talking about, but the one being used for the purpose of these craft is above 60 miles altitude... figure the service ceiling for a 747 is what, 41,000 ft, 8 miles, uh, you're about 50 miles shy of space, but who am I to split hairs.

Friend, I'm betting some ignorant clod standing at the dock in Spain in the 17th century, said "There goes that Columbus whack-o-doodle, sailing off the edge of the world, I hope a great big fat sea monster swallows him whole." He redefined what was possible for being human.

The future is up there. Because what's down here is extinction. Not tomorrow, or the day after, but someday, perhaps soon. Because big, nasty events happen here. 'We have mega-volcanoes, tectonic hoohah, and tsunamis that can wipe out entire coastlines. We have Extinction Level Events, and bio hazards, and wars and technological snafus galore. Have you not been reading the news? The west is on fire, and the east is melting. More records were broken in last month than ever before in history, and the weather people are now saying that the duration and strength of the current heat wave places it in a completely new category, redefining what is even possible for a heat wave. So its time for us to at once begin cleaning up our messes, but also be aware of the mortality of our species and make arrangements to get off this little rock, because we've begun to wear out or welcome. Or perhaps you'd prefer a 99.9% die-off and going back to an agrarian society (minus oil, coal and the means to leave if things got ugly.)

Re:Savor the paradox (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40586763)

Yes, of course, a 5 minute hop inside a tin can is tourism, and it's in space. We will discover new materials, elements and energy sources in space. Right, right, right. And all because of the glorious private space entrepreneurs.
Sure. And never question why you have such a world view. Ever.

Re:Savor the paradox (2)

Genda (560240) | more than 2 years ago | (#40587243)

I question everything. Because the world is a dynamic place, and you invariably get different answers today, than yesterday, so you missed that one. A 20 minute ride in a tin can to see the curve of the world the way Alan Shepard first saw it in 1960 (and as I recall that effort took more than a couple tax dollars), well that would be pretty awesome (and who am I to tell a person with $20,000 to burn how to burn it.) Anyway, that money goes to developing a technology that can get people into space for a "Reasonable Price", and I'm personally waiting for the Hilton hotel that does figure eights between earth and the moon.

If you told those folks in Spain about what would be available in the new world in a couple hundred years back in 1692, they'd pee themselves laughing or have you taken for a nice spin down in the dungeon with Torquemada to get those demon out. The fact that you have neither vision, nor the interest to discover what is possible for humanity doesn't grant that you should turn a cynical eye at those that do. A wiser person than I once said "The meek shall inherit the earth, the rest of us shall receive the stars."

Re:Savor the paradox (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40589441)

Ahem... Alan Shepard? First?

Re:Savor the paradox (1)

lennier (44736) | more than 2 years ago | (#40588599)

The future is up there.

That would be the future without oxygen, water, radiation protection, or a biosphere. Not sure why you're so anxious to get there. The nearest star, which doesn't appear to have any habitable planets around it, is centuries away at any currently achievable speeds. Getting there will require multiple generations living in a tiny box where every breath has to be recycled; the result would be a totalitarian eco-fascist state beyond the wildest dreams of the conservative parody version of a loevchild of Al Gore and Stalin.

It seems like it would be simpler to just learn how to live within our ecological means here on earth, where worst case, if the drinking water is a bit salty, we at least get the oxygen for free.

Granted, if we had a Star Trek warp drive, which our best physics tells us is practically speaking impossible, then we might be able to reopen the swashbuckling 1600s' Age of Colonisation out beyond Jupiter, but that seems like a pretty long bet given that the LHC's Higgs verification has slammed the door shut on amost plausible extensions of Standard Model physics.

Re:Savor the paradox (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40592503)

That would be the future without oxygen, water, radiation protection, or a biosphere.

Of the things you noted, the only thing missing is a biosphere that is actually accurate. Yes, raw space by its very definition is without those things, but there is more to the universe than just the hard vacuum of intergalactic space.

Oxygen and water? Those things are so incredibly abundant in space that it boggles the mind. Indeed water is one of the most common compounds you can find and it can be argued that the oceans of the Earth came from space... after the Earth itself was formed (one of the various planetary formation models has a bunch of comets raining down on the early Earth providing the original source of water). The Oort belt in particularly is mainly water ice and some of the outer asteroids seem to have quite a bit of the stuff as well. Oxygen is bound to a whole bunch of other stuff to the point that if any sort of metallurgy happens in space you will find oxygen as an industrial by-product and I would guess that it will be largely vented deliberately into that vacuum of space directly. Heck, I've seen some "environmentalists" already complaining that industrial activity on the Moon will produce an oxygen atmosphere that will be unacceptable and damaging to the lunar environment so laws should be enacted now to stop wasteful dumping of oxygen on the surface of the Moon.

Radiation protection? That water mentioned above does a wonder job of radiation protection if necessary and provides other useful life saving functions as well as simply doing temperature moderation that works out pretty well. Digging down a couple meters on the surface of the Moon, Mars, or an asteroid does a pretty good job of radiation protection anyway, at least until a star goes hypernova nearby in which case we are screwed even here on the Earth so that doesn't matter. Luckily that is a very rare event. Radiation protection is just an engineering challenge, not something which is necessarily a show stopper. It is also something that the nuclear power industry (or at least nuclear physicists) has nearly a century of experience dealing with.

The only thing missing is the biosphere, and there is a funny thing about that. If you provide a niche for critters to grow in, they will. You can even pick an choose what kinds of life you want to encourage to grow as seeds have the remarkable ability to make more seeds, and animals can make more animals. As long as you can find the basic elements of Hydrogen, Oxygen, Carbon, Nitrogen, Phosphorous, Potassium, Iron, and a few other trace elements needed for most living things, stuff will grow anywhere, including space.

There is no need to even travel to another star system, certainly not until the resources in the Solar System are exhausted and places like Mars and the Moon will seem to be overcrowded due to too many people living on them (from the perspective of those actually living there).

Oh, about that warp drive, you might want to look up the Alcubierre drive. While it is still at the moment just a theoretical concept and not an actual propulsion system, it does seem to indicate that "our best physics" does leave some room for travel through space which might open up interstellar travel. That is hardly the only possible option as well but I'd agree that any sort of talk about interstellar travel is centuries away at best using technologies that are at the stage of development like aviation was at the time of Leonardo da Vinci. Even the raw principles of the idea still need to be explored and all that is being done right now is raw speculation about a very distant future. It may be impossible, but it still hasn't been rulled out completely. A Bussard Ramjet seems to be a more practical solution for interstellar flight, which needs engineering and not physics to perfect even if it may take decades or centuries to complete a flight using that technology to nearby stars.

Re:Savor the paradox (1)

MWojcik (859959) | more than 2 years ago | (#40590403)

Friend, I'm betting some ignorant clod standing at the dock in Spain in the 17th century, said "There goes that Columbus whack-o-doodle, sailing off the edge of the world, I hope a great big fat sea monster swallows him whole." He redefined what was possible for being human.

At Columbus' times it was common knowledge that the world is round and size of the Earth was calculated by Erastothenes with 2% error 1500 years earlier.

Columbus didn't get rejected because he believed the world is round - he believed that it's 2/3 smaller and Asia spans much farther to the east - he believed the distance to Asia is about the actual distance to Americas.

He only got lucky when he encountered an unknown continent just as the supplies were running out and he never accepted that the lands he sailed to are not Asia.

Re:Savor the paradox (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40634669)

Agrarian society? You are such an optimist. You saw what happened in New Orleans, society collapse, and that was one city after a few days. Now when a solar flare takes out 30% of the transformers in the North American grid, there are not enough troops/Nat Guard to control the population. We will be Road Warrior for decades.

Re:Savor the paradox (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40586897)

So, when I'm on a 747, I'm in space!! You Space Nutters have infinite capacity for self delusion as soon as space is mentionned.

The stupid is strong with this one, young padawan. Acknowledging a troll as a troll, we'll go AC for the retort.

"Space" is defined by altitude, not velocity. That was Pushing-Robot's point. "Orbit" is defined by velocity and trajectory. The velocity must be sufficient and the path perpendicular to the pull of gravity in order to maintain an orbit.

For low earth orbit we are talking 200 to 2,000 km above the earth's surface and 7.8 to 6.9 km/s at a delta-v of some 9.4 km/s. But if you were to shoot your 9.4 km/s of delta-v straight up, you'd go way above LEO and then just fall straight back down to earth, despite going fast enough for orbit. Similarly, if you are 2,000 km up and moving at 1 km/s around the earth, you're going to drop like a stone.

Sub-orbital generally refers to going up to space but not attaining enough delta-v to avoid returning to earth before making it around the planet. Things like ballistic missiles and sounding rockets are sub-orbital. And Ansari X-prize winners. Sub-orbital.

I suppose things like Galileo, Mars Explorer, Cassini and Voyager are "Super-orbital", going too fast to be contained by the earth's gravity.

Re:Savor the paradox (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40588497)

as much as i don't like to feed your trolls, one thing's always baffled me about you - why do you always Put Space Nutters In Capitals? it's not the title of a book, you know (or is it?).

Re:Savor the paradox (2)

dywolf (2673597) | more than 2 years ago | (#40593709)

There are essentially 3 trajectories a rocket can take: 1) Sub-orbital, item will return to earth 2) Orbital, item will orbit the earth 3) Escape, item will leave the earth's gravitational hold While I get what point you're trying to make, you confuse your own point by stating "you could fly higher than the Moon on a 'sub-orbital' trajectory" because by definition in order to get to the moon the item must use an escape trajectory.

FrosT pist (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40586507)

Other mEmbers in

Backlink tools (-1, Offtopic)

joged (2679667) | more than 2 years ago | (#40586865)

I use most powerfull backlink tool http://backlink-indexer.blogspot.com/ [blogspot.com] its free mate!

Hoooray for text browsers! (1)

Bananatree3 (872975) | more than 2 years ago | (#40586927)

What a glorious triumph for textual browsers. What's next, the elinks rocket? I can't wait!!

Re:Hoooray for text browsers! (1)

grouchomarxist (127479) | more than 2 years ago | (#40588585)

Text browsers? I thought XCOR was some newfangled logical operator.

Jeff Greason is no dummy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40588687)

I went to Caltech with Jeff Greason, president of XCOR, in the 1980s. Even then "getting off this rock" was a goal for him. Jeff must know that California's economy is too damaged to support something as frivilous as private space exploration. Texas seems like a great place to keep his dream going. Besides, Midland is closer to the equator than Mojave, so orbiting is easier from there. ;^) More power to him. (And hi, Jeff, from Bongo in AU!)

A rocket maker in the Mojave (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40589503)

So they're a rocket maker in the Mojave and they're NOT called REPCONN?

Race to the bottom (1)

ThatsNotPudding (1045640) | more than 2 years ago | (#40589895)

What a shock: moving to a state that places corporations above people - especially w.r.t. taxes.

Just like the foreign car companies that only open factories in the southeast US, where the politicians are literal fatcats and the workers are suicidally anti-Union.

Re:Race to the bottom (2)

nonameisgood2 (2661533) | more than 2 years ago | (#40590625)

WTH are you talking about? Texas has no state income tax, but does have a corporate "franchise tax" ( in essence, an income tax). The majority of government function is paid by property taxes, both individual and business. Businesses come here because we are business-friendly and the people know how to work for a living (no to cast aspersions elsewhere). The State recognizes that without business, people don't work, and people who don't work can't pay taxes or buy food.

Re:Race to the bottom (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40591539)

Man, don't bother with this fellow. Some people's definition of compassion is how much of your income you're willing to piss away to politicians and their special interests. Texas will continue to self-select its population influx to people who want something better.

Midland!!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40591623)

They will love Midland! The air is full of the oder of hydrogen sulphide gas.

They will love Midland!!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40591671)

They will love Midland!!! The air around Midland is full of the smell of hydrogen sulphide gas!

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