XCOR EZ-Rocket
The XCOR EZ-Rocket is a test platform for the XCOR rocket propulsion system. The plane is a modified Rutan Long-EZ
Rutan Long-EZ
-See also:-External links:****...

, with the propeller replaced by first one, then a pair of pressure-fed regeneratively cooled liquid-fuelled rocket engines and an underslung rocket-fuel tank. The engines are restartable in flight, and are contained within Kevlar
Kevlar is the registered trademark for a para-aramid synthetic fiber, related to other aramids such as Nomex and Technora. Developed at DuPont in 1965, this high strength material was first commercially used in the early 1970s as a replacement for steel in racing tires...

 armour shielding for safety reasons. The EZ-Rocket is registered as an experimental aircraft
Experimental aircraft
An experimental aircraft is an aircraft that has not yet been fully proven in flight. Often, this implies that new aerospace technologies are being tested on the aircraft, though the label is more broad....


Development and history

First flight took place on July 21, 2001, flown by test pilot
Test pilot
A test pilot is an aviator who flies new and modified aircraft in specific maneuvers, known as flight test techniques or FTTs, allowing the results to be measured and the design to be evaluated....

 Dick Rutan
Dick Rutan
Richard Glenn "Dick" Rutan is an aviator who piloted the Voyager aircraft around the world non-stop with co-pilot Jeana Yeager...


On a typical flight, the EZ-Rocket takes off on rockets, gains altitude for a minute or so, then switches off the rockets and glides to a 'dead stick' landing.

The vehicle actually flies better during 'dead stick'/glide landings than a Long-EZ due to lack of drag from a stationary pusher
Pusher configuration
In a craft with a pusher configuration the propeller are mounted behind their respective engine. According to Bill Gunston, a "pusher propeller" is one mounted behind engine so that drive shaft is in compression...

 prop — the vehicle's aerodynamics are 'cleaner', in spite of its belly tank. It is also lighter due to the lack of a piston engine (the rocket propulsion system is significantly lighter), so enjoys significantly lower wing loading
Wing loading
In aerodynamics, wing loading is the loaded weight of the aircraft divided by the area of the wing. The faster an aircraft flies, the more lift is produced by each unit area of wing, so a smaller wing can carry the same weight in level flight, operating at a higher wing loading. Correspondingly,...

 than a stock Long-EZ.

XCOR registered it as a conventional aircraft, rather than a suborbital. The vehicle does not meet the current definition of suborbital (but the vehicle pre-dated the definition anyway.)

Milestones and records

  • October 8, 2000 - First firing of an XCOR Aerospace
    XCOR Aerospace
    XCOR Aerospace is an American private rocket engine and spaceflight development company based at the Mojave Spaceport in Mojave, California. XCOR was formed by former members of the Rotary Rocket rocket engine development team in September, 1999...

    Liquid oxygen
    Liquid oxygen — abbreviated LOx, LOX or Lox in the aerospace, submarine and gas industries — is one of the physical forms of elemental oxygen.-Physical properties:...

    -powered rocket engine.
  • July 21, 2001 - First flight, flown by Dick Rutan
    Dick Rutan
    Richard Glenn "Dick" Rutan is an aviator who piloted the Voyager aircraft around the world non-stop with co-pilot Jeana Yeager...

     (single-engine configuration).
  • October 6, 2001 - First flight in twin-engine configuration.
  • July 24, 2002 - First touch-and-go of a rocket-powered aircraft (world record).
  • December 3, 2005 - Set the point-to-point distance record for a ground-launched, rocket-powered aircraft, flying 16 km from Mojave
    Mojave, California
    Mojave is a census-designated place in Kern County, California, United States. Mojave is located east of Bakersfield, at an elevation of 2762 feet...

     to California City
    California City, California
    -2000:According to the census of 2000, there were 8,385 people, 3,067 households, and 2,257 families residing in the city. As of 2006 the city's population grew 8.9% from 12,106 to 13,219. California City outpaced rivals Palmdale and Lancaster, making the city the 12th fastest growing city in...

     in just under 10 minutes, flown by Dick Rutan). Also first official delivery of U.S. Mail by a rocket-powered aircraft. In recognition of this achievement, the FAI awarded Rutan the 2005 Louis Blériot Medal.
  • December 15, 2005 - First arrival of a rocket-powered aircraft at the Mojave Spaceport on a flight originating at another airport, return flight from California City, piloted by Rick Searfoss
    Richard A. Searfoss
    Richard Alan Searfoss is a retired United States Air Force colonel, NASA Astronaut and test pilot.-Early life:Searfoss was born on June 5, 1956, in Mount Clemens, Michigan, but considers Portsmouth, New Hampshire, to be his hometown...

  • 2008: The XCOR EZ-Rocket X-Racer prototype rocketplane flew at the 2008 EAA AirVenture Oshkosh air show
    Air show
    An air show is an event at which aviators display their flying skills and the capabilities of their aircraft to spectators in aerobatics. Air shows without aerobatic displays, having only aircraft displayed parked on the ground, are called "static air shows"....



The Rocket Racing League
Rocket Racing League
The Rocket Racing League is a proposed racing league that would use rocket-powered aircraft to race a closed-circuit air racetrack. Founded in 2005, the league is currently working to hold the first multi-vehicle races in 2011...

 aircraft currently in development, the Mark-III X-racer is a design descendant of the EZ-Rocket aircraft. Although XCOR is not the developer of the rocket engine for the Mark-III, XCOR did develop the rocket engine for the Mark-I X-Racer, the first of the X-Racers to use use a single rocket engine on a Velocity SE
Velocity SE
The Velocity SE is the entry level canard pusher aircraft from Velocity Aircraft.The four seat, rear engine aircraft may be powered by a Lycoming IO-320 or a Lycoming IO-360 engine.- See also :* Velocity XL* Rutan Long-EZ...

 basic airframe, and the first X-Racer to utilize kerosene
RP-1 is a highly refined form of kerosene outwardly similar to jet fuel, used as a rocket fuel. Although having a lower specific impulse than liquid hydrogen , RP-1 is cheaper, can be stored at room temperature, is far less of an explosive hazard and is far denser...

 instead of isopropyl alcohol
Isopropyl alcohol
Isopropyl alcohol is a common name for a chemical compound with the molecular formula C3H8O. It is a colorless, flammable chemical compound with a strong odor...

 fuel. XCOR used both design and operational experience from the EZ-Rocket in the Mark-I rocket aircraft design.


  • Two 400 lbf (1.8 kN) thrust rocket engines (non throttleable, restartable in flight)
  • 20 sec 500 m takeoff roll
  • Vne = 195 kt
  • climb rate = 52 m/s (10,000 ft/min)
  • maximum altitude = 10,000 ft
  • Fuel : isopropyl alcohol and liquid oxygen
  • Chamber pressure : ~ 350 psi
  • specific impulse
    Specific impulse
    Specific impulse is a way to describe the efficiency of rocket and jet engines. It represents the derivative of the impulse with respect to amount of propellant used, i.e., the thrust divided by the amount of propellant used per unit time. If the "amount" of propellant is given in terms of mass ,...

    : 250 to 270 seconds
  • Noise: 128 dB at 10 meters

External links

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