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Mike Massee
XCOR Aerospace
Phone (661) 824-4714 x127
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Press Release
XCOR EZ-Rocket Tests In-Flight Engine Ignition

Eighth Flight Test of Vehicle

The EZ-Rocket soars up and away under twin-rocket power in its 8th flight to date. - Photo by Mike Massee

MP3 Flight Audio via cockpit voice recorder and microphone

Stereo MP3 - Left channel is incoming radio, right channel is cockpit ambient mic and outgoing radio from Mike.  Audible are Mike Melville in the EZ-Rocket, Dick Rutan on chase and Buzz Lange on the ground.   Silent areas in the glide portion of the flight have been edited for length.

Mojave, CA, Thursday, January 24, 2002: - XCOR Aerospace continued the EZ-Rocket test program today with a test flight demonstrating shut down and restart of the rocket engines during the flight. The 6 minute 57 second flight took place at the Mojave Civilian Test Flight Center in Mojave, CA, after the previously scheduled attempt on January 22 was scrubbed due to high winds.


Photo by Mike Massee for XCOR Aerospace

EZ-Rocket pilot Mike Melvill after completing the re-light flight.

Today's flight was piloted by Mike Melvill, a highly experienced test pilot assisting XCOR. Melvill said: "It gives you a great feeling of confidence to reach down, flip the switch on, and feel the kick as the engine lights." The flight took off under rocket power and climbed rapidly to 5,000 feet, where Melvill leveled off while Dick Rutan, Chief Test Pilot for XCOR Aerospace, flying the chase plane, caught up with the EZ-Rocket. With the chase plane in position, Melvill shut down one rocket engine for 19 seconds and then re-started the engine. The second engine was shut down for 10 seconds and was also successfully re-started. The EZ-Rocket climbed to 8,100 feet before propellant exhaustion after 2 minutes, 18 seconds of powered flight. The eighth flight of the EZ-Rocket concluded with a perfect power-off landing.

XCOR CEO and President Jeff Greason stated: "From XCOR's beginning, we have been guided by the vision of rocket operations being as routine as any other form of transportation. Pulling the EZ-Rocket from its hangar, conducting the flight, and towing back to its hangar only took 1 hour, 15 minutes. Today's smooth ground operation and flawless in-flight rocket engine shutdown and restart show that we're getting there."

XCOR Aerospace is a California corporation located in Mojave, California. The company is in the business of developing and producing safe, reliable and reusable rocket-powered vehicles and propulsion systems that enable affordable access to space.

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