"The brilliant thing Southwest Airlines did in the early days was their business model—the recognition that those expensive capital assets aren't making a penny sitting on the ground. Those kinds of philosophies are what XCOR is doing. That's stuff no one's thought about when it comes to rocket operations. If you're able to fly one of these vehicles four times a day, that just drives the cost way down."
While suborbital tourists will experience about five minutes of weightlessness, Searfoss found the view of earth a "much more profound" experience. "The images that are seared into the brain that you see—that's the life-changing experience for me. That's going to be the case for most people who do the suborbital thing."
Ultimately, XCOR hopes to have a fleet of Lynxes operating around the world, with each offering a vastly different vantage point from space. Its management team muses about selling a "six-continent pass."
"It's coming," says Searfoss. "It's not just la-la land or space dreamers stuff. This is really coming." XCOR executives have already begun musing about the day when space travel is commonplace, according to Searfoss. "I want to retire on the moon!" says chief engineer Dan DeLong. "I want to retire on Mars!" says CEO Jeff Greason.
"Guys," Searfoss says he's told them, "You're both crazy. I want to retire in Tehachapi. I just want to fly to space three or four times a week."