Source: XCOR Aerospace
XCOR Aerospace's rendering of its Lynx Mark III, a reusable space vehicle that will take off from a conventional runway
More than three decades after the launch of the first space shuttle mission (and three years after the last one), investment in new human spaceflight systems is back with an intensity the aerospace industry hasn't seen since the heady days of the Space Race.
In the first half of this year, Elon Musk's Hawthorne, California-based SpaceX unveiled both an experimental reusable rocket stage and a new crew vehicle for carrying humans into orbit. By year's end, NASA will select a new crew vehicle from four commercial options, and its next-generation interplanetary crew vehicle, under development by Lockheed Martin, will begin flight tests.
Next year Mojave, California-based XCOR Aerospace will begin flying its two-seat suborbital Lynx spaceplane. In 2017, Sierra Nevada Corp. plans to send its seven-seat...