Firehole Technologies’ analysis software Helius:MCT™, which takes the properties of both the fibre and matrix into account, will help XCOR to analyse its composite construction before and during construction, and reduce costs.

“One of the key techniques that make it possible for a small firm like XCOR to build a fully reusable launch vehicle is composite construction,” says Jeff Greason, Chief Executive Officer at XCOR of Mojave, California, USA. “Composite construction provides strength, is light weight, and gives you flexibility in your aerodynamic design."

The Lynx, which is about the same size as a small private airplane, can take people or payloads to altitudes of 200,000 ft and reach speeds of at least twice the speed of sound. The first take off is targeted for 2010, and the Lynx could be capable of several flights a day.