Stories tagged EADS Astrium

Jun
14
2007

Space plane: Here's an artist's rendering of what the proposed space plane would look like. (Photo courtesy of EAS Astrium)
Space plane: Here's an artist's rendering of what the proposed space plane would look like. (Photo courtesy of EAS Astrium)
It’s never too early to plan your next vacation. And I have a trip idea for you.

This week EADS Astrium in Paris announced its plans for a jet plane/rocket that will take passengers on a half-hour trip into outer space, including three minutes of weightlessness. If development plans continue on schedule, the first trips could be made in 2012.

Here’s how the planes work. They will take off from a conventional airport’s runway using standard jet engines. Once the planes get 7.5 miles in the sky, rocket engines will fire to quickly accelerate the craft. How fast? In 80 seconds the plane will be 37 miles above Earth.

You can sit here: For around $200,000 you can buy one of these seats for a 90-minute trip, which includes a half hour in space and three seconds of weightlessness. (Photo courtesy of EAS Astrium)
You can sit here: For around $200,000 you can buy one of these seats for a 90-minute trip, which includes a half hour in space and three seconds of weightlessness. (Photo courtesy of EAS Astrium)
After the rocket blast ends, the plane will coast into a space orbit that will be below satellite traffic, but above airline traffic. Four passengers will be able to ride on each trip which figures to spend about a half hour in space. The plane would then descend back into Earth’s atmosphere, jet engines would kick in and the plane would make a regular landing at an airport, about 1.5 hours after taking off.

Okay, there’s one more small piece of information I need to tell you about. The cost per passenger is estimated at between $199,000 and $265,000. You might need to save some a lot of your sofa change between now and 2012 to come up with that kind of plane fare.

More information about the project is available at www.astrium.eads.net.