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Thursday, Aug 11, 2022
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Spacecraft Puts Bodies Into Orbit

XCOR Aerospace has teamed up with body- and hair-care product line Axe for a sweet-smelling deal that’s pretty far out. The Unilever Group brand is hosting a global competition to promote its new Axe line of Apollo shower gels, shampoo and deodorants. The winner will get a suborbital ride aboard the Lynx spacecraft XCOR is building at its headquarters at the Mojave Air & Space Port in the Antelope Valley. That’s a ticket expected to cost $95,000 once the spacecraft begins flying paying passengers in the next year or two. Having the Netherlands-based consumer product giant buy 22 flights on the Lynx is a big deal for XCOR – and a marketing touchdown for the emerging commercial space industry, said Andrew Nelson, chief operating officer at privately held XCOR. “Mainstream corporate acceptance is important for the industry as it grows and matures,” Nelson said. U.S. contestants can register for a drawing that chooses a single winner. Outside the U.S. – where the Axe brand is known as Lynx – people in 75 countries create a profile at the LynxApollo website telling why they should be chosen to go into space. Visitors to the website vote on the profiles to choose the winners, who move to the next round of physical and mental challenges. Winners in that stage then attend a space camp in Florida where the Lynx spacecraft passengers are chosen. The space camp is sponsored by Unilever and Dutch commercial space flight provider Space Expedition Corp. with XCOR consulting on the training. The contest may be just the start of collaboration between Unilever and XCOR. A subject of future discussions between the two companies is putting Axe logos on the Lynx craft. “It’s just like NASCAR, you will have to pay for the real estate,” Nelson said. Flight testing of the Lynx is expected to begin this year in Mojave and last from nine months to 12 months. Once completed, flights with paying passengers will begin, Nelson said. – Mark R. Madler

Mark Madler
Mark Madler
Mark R. Madler covers aviation & aerospace, manufacturing, technology, automotive & transportation, media & entertainment and the Antelope Valley. He joined the company in February 2006. Madler previously worked as a reporter for the Burbank Leader. Before that, he was a reporter for the City News Bureau of Chicago and several daily newspapers in the suburban Chicago area. He has a bachelor’s of science degree in journalism from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign.
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