XCOR Buys Dutch Company To Lead Sales For Brand, Attract Global Customers

XCOR Buys Dutch Company To Lead Sales For Brand, Attract Global Customers

Anum Valliani

NewsWest 9

MIDLAND - XCOR sending people up to space has been in talks for a while. Monday officials made an announcement that could help their mission take off more easily.

XCOR has acquired a Company called the Space Expedition Corporation (or simply SXC) to head the sales for their brand. Officials said the move is going to bring a positive change in how customers buy their tickets.

As XCOR gets closer to entering the marketplace, they wanted to simplify things for the customers, so they brought the Dutch SXC workers already largely in charge of their retail and sales under their umbrella.

"Through this move there's clearly one brand that you're buying from, and hopefully it's going to be and appear and perform much more seamlessly than before," XCOR's Chief Operating Officer Andrew Nelson said.

According to Nelson, some founders at the SXC were also the lead investors in XCOR's Series B or second round of financing, making the acquisition a natural step. Additionally two members from the company based in The Netherlands, Michiel Mol and Mark Hoogendoorn, have recently joined the current five members on the XCOR Board of Directors

"I think it's really setting the stage for us to go to the next level," Nelson said. "Before XCOR has always had this core competency in building rocket engines and then wrapping vehicles around them, but now with this acquisition, we've really brought in a new skill set and capabilities to try and come to the next level from a sales perspective."

XCOR's hoping to develop five vehicles within 5-6 years, leading to potentially 30 flights to the edge of space daily from Midland. And to buy a flight, you can to go through this new sales division of XCOR, which is now called XCOR Space Expeditions. Although it may be easier to purchase tickets, unfortunately they won't be any cheaper. 

Nelson said they're still $95,000 for the first flights on the Lynx Mark I and $100,000 for the full production unit, which will come a couple of years afterwards.

But everyone's just wondering when the aircrafts will launch. The first test flights were anticipated to be running in the summer of 2014. 

"As many aerospace projects go, it's always a little bit more challenging than what you first imagine. We're still trying to get into the flight test program by the end of this year, but I'm not so worried if it slips into the first quarter of next 2015. It's really important to have safety first," he said.

Nelson added that they do expect to find problems and issues in the flight test program, "because that's the purpose of it. But if they're normal sorts of problems you would run into like we did the first two flight campaigns with our earlier aircrafts, then perhaps by 2015 or Q1 2016."

In the coming weeks XCOR is also trying to get a final contract for renovations at the hanger they have set up at the airport. Officials said it will be a full gut renovation with all the offices that will be coming in to the relatively old building.

One more thing it will have is a pretty interactive visitor center for aeronautics fans to scope out some older models engineered by the company.