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XCOR puts spaceship parts in motorcycle for a road trip test run

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XCOR installed parts from its Lynx suborbital spacecraft in a motorcycle and went on a road trip in order to test their operation in near-real-world conditions.

via <a href="http://asset2.cbsistatic.com/cnwk.1d/i/tim/2012/05/04/xcor1.jpg">asset2.cbsistatic.com</a>
via asset2.cbsistatic.com

XCOR, whose Lynx spaceship is set to take flight in 2014, decided to test the parts for its rocket propellant pump in a slightly unusual way: by fitting them into a Triumph motorcycle and driving it down Route 66. When the team was preparing to test its bearing system, it found that running a motorcycle was far less expensive than using a test stand, which can cost $500 a minute to run. The Triumph Street Triple turned out to have the same cylinder arrangement and almost the same horsepower as the liquid oxygen and kerosene fuel pumps in the Lynx, so the team was able to collect twenty hours of data — or enough to replicate the rocket use on 400 Lynx flights — simply by driving from Roswell to Mojave.

According to XCOR, "the data show no discernible difference in bearing wear between when we started and when we finished," so hopefully the Lynx is still on track for its launch date. You can see some of the journey below, but honestly the concept of "motorcycle made from spaceship parts" is best left to the imagination rather than the mundane reality.