Space

A flameout in the Mojave shows how hard it can be to finance rocket-ship start-ups

A flameout in the Mojave shows how hard it can be to finance rocket-ship start-ups

In 2008, a small, Mojave, Calif., aerospace start-up called Xcor Aerospace burst onto the commercial space scene with plans to develop a vehicle that would rocket tourists into suborbital space.

Xcor won a few government and commercial contracts and, for a time, was seen as a rival to British billionaire Richard Branson’s space tourism venture, Virgin Galactic.

But then the financial reality of the space business — that it’s much more capital intensive than other start-up ventures, such as building a smartphone app — caught up.

Last year, Xcor announced it would suspend construction of its Lynx suborbital space plane and lay off about half of the company’s workforce,...

EDITION: California | U.S. & World
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