XCOR Aerospace Begins Manned Flight Testing - Dick Rutan Successfully Pilots EZ-Rocket

Press Release From: XCOR Aerospace
Posted: Tuesday, July 24, 2001

Mojave, July 24, 2001: XCOR Aerospace today announced that it has begun flight tests of a manned rocket aircraft, the EZ-Rocket. The first successful flight test was performed on July 21 at Mojave Airport. The EZ-Rocket is a modified Long-EZ airplane, and powered by twin 400 pound thrust rocket engines designed and built by XCOR Aerospace.

XCOR's test pilot is retired United States Air Force Lieutenant Colonel Dick Rutan, a Vietnam veteran. Col. Rutan also flew around the world without refueling in the Voyager aircraft, and has flown around the world in his own Long-EZ. "This is the result of over six months of working with XCOR Aerospace to develop a flight test program for the EZ-Rocket. The first runway test was a resounding success." said Lt. Col. Rutan. "After I turned on the rocket engine, the engine came smoothly to full thrust, and the aircraft rapidly accelerated to flying speed. I rotated and the aircraft lifted off and flew for a few hundred feet under rocket power. I then shut down, landed, and rolled to a stop. All the systems operated normally."

The EZ-Rocket is a research and development test bed for XCOR. "The EZ-Rocket project has given us experience in designing and building a complete rocket propulsion system and packaging it in a vehicle." said XCOR Chief Engineer Dan DeLong. "The next step is to fine-tune the vehicle and engine for routine operations." XCOR president Jeff Greason said, "The primary purpose of the EZ-Rocket is to measure and drive down the operating costs of reusable rocket vehicles. XCOR Aerospace is developing reusable rocket propulsion for commercial rocket applications where our customers require inexpensive and safe operations." A press conference will be held on Saturday July 28th at the 2001 AirVenture show in Oshkosh, WI. The official roll-out of the EZ-Rocket will take place in Mojave, California this fall after the early phases of the flight test program have been completed. Contact Wayne Hammack for details on either event.

EZ-Rocket Specifications

The EZ-Rocket is a modified Long-EZ homebuilt aircraft. The aircraft is powered by twin 400 lb thrust regeneratively cooled rocket engines. The EZ-Rocket includes an external composite fuel tank and an insulated internal aluminum liquid oxygen tank. The modifications were performed at XCOR Aerospace's Mojave, CA shop. Tests are performed at the Mojave Civilian Flight Test Center.

About XCOR Aerospace

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 engines.

Editors: Photos of the EZ-Rocket and Col. Rutan are available by calling (303) 469-7479 or visiting

// end //

More news releases and status reports or top stories.

Please follow SpaceRef on Twitter and Like us on Facebook.