[SatNews] Space Experience Curaçao (SXC) and XCOR Aerospace, Inc. have jointly announced the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) for the wet lease of a production version of the Lynx suborbital spacecraft, pending United States government approvals to station the vehicle on the island of Curaçao in the Netherlands Antilles.
With a planned start date in January 2014, SXC will market, and XCOR will operate, suborbital space tourism flights and scientific research missions out of Space Port Curaçao. Recently, the Curaçao government and airport authority announced their intentions of investigating and creating the conditions suitable for the formation of a vibrant and active commercial space flight services industry. An investigation of the legal and regulatory framework necessary to enable a robust flight services industry in Curaçao has commenced. Investment in the spaceport infrastructure and operator has been committed and made by Curaçao Airport Holding, N.V., the company responsible for overseeing Curaçao airport operator. SXC is the entity selected by the Curaçao government and airport holding company to create a robust suborbital space flight business focused on research missions, space tourism, and science & technology education. SXC has, in turn selected, the XCOR Lynx as its vehicle of choice for Curaçao operations.
"SXC has chosen the Lynx due to its innovative but straightforward and robust design, as well as its enormous commercial potential and competitive viability" said Ben Droste, Co-Founder and Managing Partner of SXC. "The combination of the Lynx experience with the beautiful and highly suitable location of the Caribbean Island of Curaçao is a winning experience in our book. Spaceflight participants will not only have the incredible experience of flying in XCOR's Lynx spacecraft beyond Earth's atmosphere, they will have the added benefit of taking off from and returning to one of the world's best vacation destinations."
Space Experience Curaçao, with the strong support of Curaçao Airport Holding, has worked diligently to secure this MOU with XCOR," remarked SXC Co-Founder and Managing Partner, Harry Van Hulten, "With the full support of the government of Curaçao, the Netherlands and thanks to the vision and entrepreneurial spirit of Curaçao Airport Holding, SXC is in the position of making this first concrete step in procuring a Lynx Mark II wet lease contract."
"Building on our international wet-lease agreements model, XCOR is committed to continuing coordination efforts with the US Departments of State, Defense and Commerce and other relevant US agencies regarding export control and operation of suborbital vehicles at non-US locations," said XCOR COO, Andrew Nelson. "We think the wet lease model enables us to address these issues, while allowing us to continue to create new high technology jobs, compete effectively in international markets, and provide our clients like SXC, and their clients, an incredible experience and valuable service — we can't wait to fly from Curaçao!"