EZ-Rocket Aims For XC Record

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The folks at XCOR Aerospace, who built the one-of-a-kind EZ-Rocket -- a modified Long-EZ powered by two liquid-fuel rocket engines -- are planning to break a cross-country flight record -- by flying for 10 minutes. The EZ-Rocket will launch from Mojave on Dec. 3 and fly to California City, all of 11 miles away, Space.com reported last week. But apparently that's far enough to set a new record for aircraft in Class C1b Group IV -- a vehicle that is launched from the ground and flies with its rocket engines under control throughout the flight. The EZ-Rocket is a technology demonstrator designed, tested and built by XCOR. It flew at Oshkosh in 2002 and at the Countdown to the X Prize Cup held last month in New Mexico. Dick Rutan is slated to pilot the aircraft for the record attempt. After reaching California City, it will go into a hangar, then fly back to Mojave around Dec. 10. After that, the company plans to retire the ship.