XCOR Aerospace and Midland Development (MDC) have teamed up to set up a new commercial space research and development centre headquarters at Midland International Airport (MAF) in Texas, US.
XCOR Aerospace chief operating officer Andrew Nelson said: "With future suborbital operational sites on the east and west coasts of the United States and around the world, plus a manufacturing and test facility geographically separate from our R&D facility, Midland will truly be at the heart of XCOR's innovation engine."
Expected to be complete within the next 18 months, the R&D centre will be in the airport's newly refurbished 60,000ft² hangar, which will consist of office space and a test facility.
MAF airports director Marv Esterly said: "XCOR will be upgrading an existing hangar at Midland International Airport."
According to MDC, the site selection followed the completion of assessment of technical and operational needs of XCOR in Midland, in addition to friendly business environment, an expected regulatory environment, and the tort reform initiatives of Texas.
XCOR is the manufacturer of reusable rocket engines for chief aerospace prime contractors, and is also the designer, producer and operator of the Lynx, which is a two-seat suborbital vehicle that takes off and lands similar to a usual aircraft.
The winged fully reusable, high-performance suborbital space vehicle can transport two people or scientific experiments to the space.
Along with the renovation of XCOR's facility, the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) will be approached to receive commercial space launch site designation for MAF due to probable growth in the commercial space sector.
"When our application is approved, the MAF will be the first 'Primary Commercial Service Airport' to be granted this designation, and the combination of the two makes Midland attractive to other commercial space companies," Esterly added.
Image: XCOR chief operating officer Andrew Nelson during the signing of incentive agreement with MDC. Photo: courtesy of XCOR Aerospace.