The Lynx spacecraft will fly to space on a customized flight trajectory and will be capable of precision pointing, allowing the Atsa system with its operator to acquire the desired target and make the planned observations. "We are being approached by many potential customers who are interested in supporting observations of the inner solar system," Vilas said. "We will also be able to support target of opportunity observations for newly discovered objects and other phenomena."
"We're looking forward to flying PSI's Atsa system on Lynx, it will be a groundbreaking experience. The rapid and flexible operations of the Lynx will enable scientists to pick specific targets of interest and the same day fly multiple tailor made observation missions quickly and inexpensively when they want them to be flown," said Khaki Rodway McKee, XCOR's Program Manager.
"We are entering into a new era in the human exploration of space, where private companies like XCOR and PSI will begin to play leading roles in certain areas, beginning with suborbital flight - harkening back to the days of NASA's Mercury program," Sykes said.
Andrew Nelson, XCOR's Chief Operating Officer, said, "Much like the early days of the Internet, mobile communications and social networking revolutions saw new and innovative applications drive commercial multi-billion dollar marketplaces, so we are seeing privately funded efforts like PSI's Atsa as a key early adopter signaling a robust future for suborbital reusable launch vehicles."
Public investment still plays a critical role in shaping the future of humans beyond Earth. "NASA is still the tip of the spear," Sykes said. "There are basic questions regarding expanding Earth life to different gravities and the availability and usability of space resources that require NASA to answer. Together, private enterprise and the public sector can realize our dreams of a future in space."