MOJAVE, Calif., Aug. 24 (UPI) -- California-based XCOR Aerospace announced it has been ranked in Inc. Magazine's list of the 500 fastest-growing private companies.
Inc. Magazine ranked XCOR No. 446 overall, according to the percentage increase of revenue over a three-year period. The listing came after the privately held company grew 646 percent over a three-year revenue period from 2003 to 2006.
Aerospace veterans Jeff Greason, Dan DeLong, Aleta Jackson and Doug Jones formed XCOR in 1999 originally as a company to test rocket engines. XCOR's breakthrough happened when the group modified a pusher-propeller-powered Long EZ airplane by replacing the piston engine with their own rocket engine, which demonstrated the durability of the engine on an actual airplane.
Company officials said after the tests proves successful they began to get interest from investors and the ability to compete for a series of contracts with NASA and the Department of Defense.
"These contracts have added to our bottom line, which is great, but that is not the whole story," said Jeff Greason, president of XCOR, in a statement. "We competed for contracts that help us develop and improve various types of technology we need to achieve our main objective. That goal is to build rocket powered vehicles that can carry people and payloads into space. That's where the real money is."
These contracts include building and testing a methane engine for NASA and designing a suborbital space plane for the U.S. Air Force.