MOJAVE, Calif. – KLM Royal Dutch Airlines announced to the Netherlands press that they were embarking upon a new relationship with Space Experience Curacao (SXC). KLM will be supporting future suborbital flights through purchases, inclusion in their frequent flyer program, inclusion in future KLM vacation packages to Curacao, and other yet-to-be-named support. The flights will be made on the XCOR Lynx suborbital spacecraft.
Last month SXC and XCOR Aerospace jointly announced the intent of SXC to lease a production version of the Lynx suborbital spacecraft, pending United States government approvals to station the vehicle on the island of Curacao in the Netherlands Antilles. With a planned start date in January 2014 SXC and now KLM will market and sell flights. XCOR will provide operational support for the vehicle at Space Port Curacao.
On the front page of De Telegraaf, the largest circulation Dutch newspaper, KLM Chief Executive Officer Peter Hartman said of the new relationship and suborbital spaceflight: “It is a fantastic project that totally fits the pioneering spirit of KLM.” This history includes operating the longest regularly scheduled air service in the world throughout the 1920s, and opening their first transatlantic service in 1934 between Amsterdam and Curacao.
SXC Founder and former Royal Netherlands Air Force Chief of Staff Ben Droste referred to the exploration and entrepreneurial spirit the Dutch have demonstrated for over five centuries and noted their logical extension to space. “This is a project that completely fits our VOC tradition (Vereenigde Oostindische Compagnie, aka the Dutch East India Company). The Dutch have successfully traversed the world’s seas, pioneered long distance air travel, and now have set our sights on space.”
XCOR’s CEO, Jeff Greason noted, “XCOR is very pleased that the market’s acceptance of Lynx is accelerating. Our approach to space travel offers the simplicity, low cost structure, environmental sensitivity, history of accomplishment, and excitement that clients want in their spacecraft company.”
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, propulsion systems, advanced non-flammable composites and other enabling technologies. XCOR is working with aerospace prime contractors and government customers on major propulsion systems, and concurrently building the Lynx, a piloted, two seat, fully reusable, liquid rocket powered vehicle that takes off and lands horizontally. The Lynx production models (designated Lynx Mark II) are designed to be robust, multi-commercial mission vehicles capable of flying to 100+ km in altitude up to four times per day and are being offered on a wet lease basis.
Space Experience Curacao (SXC) was founded in 2008 to lead the world in providing commercial space launch facilities and suborbital flight services from the Caribbean island of Curacao. SXC intends to offer suborbital space tourism flights and scientific research missions out of Space Port Curacao. SXC is led by its two founders and Managing Partners, former Royal Netherlands Air Force Chief of Staff, Ben Droste and active Royal Netherlands Air Force F-16 pilot, Harry van Hulten.