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Uncommonly Sensible

Keeping the "anal" in analytical... (While trying to remain civilized)

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Location: United States

Monday, September 17, 2007

Far out...

... and I mean really far.

I was reading in the latest issue of Popular Science about EADS Astrium, a company that's planning to build a spaceplane which is slated to begin passenger service in 2012...at approximately $275K per seat.

With only 4 seats, that's 1.1 million per flight, but with an estimated 1.3 billion in startup costs it'll take awhile just to break even...especially when taking operating expenses into account, however much those may be.

Anyway, according to Wikipedia, "In June 2007, EADS Astrium announced it would be entering the space tourism sector. On June 20th the company unveiled a model of the space rocket, a one-stage hybrid craft, utilising both jet and rocket engines. Carrying four passengers, the space jet would take off from regular airports using conventional jet engines. Once flying to the needed altitude the rockets would then be fired. When reaching its final altitude of 37 miles, passengers would experience weightlessness for three minutes."

Sounds pretty expensive for what you get.

Here's a picture:

It's loosely based on the Rocketplane:

Rocketplane, Inc. is "a commercial space transportation company focused on providing safe, reliable and low-cost access to space. With a diverse family of fully-reusable space vehicles and the ability to serve multiple space markets, the company is poised to redefine space transportation."

Armadillo Aerospace is "a small research and development team working on computer-controlled LOX/ethanol rocket vehicles, with an eye towards manned suborbital vehicle development in the coming years."

Their prototype is called the "Pixel":

Bigelow Aerospace, on the other hand, is "the leading private company for space habitat destinations. Featured in articles in Popular Science, Wired, The Economist, Reader's Digest, the BBC, CNN, MSNBC, The Los Angeles Times and more, Bigelow Aerospace is the only private company with habitable spacecraft currently in orbit, the Genesis I and Genesis II."

Genesis I:

"Launched on July 12, 2006, from the ISC Kosmotras Space and Missile Complex in the Orenburg region of Russia, Genesis I ushered in a new era of private space vehicles. The spacecraft was designed to enter space and expand to increase its volume. A one-third scale model of the eventual modules, Genesis I contained various items, photos, and a NASA experiment. Shortly after launch, Genesis I expanded successfully and sent back extensive data and images to the North Las Vegas, Nevada, Mission Control Center."

"Las Vegas, NV 06/28/07 – Bigelow Aerospace has established contact with its second pathfinder spacecraft, Genesis II. Launched from Yasny, Russia, Mission Control in North Las Vegas, Nev., made first contact at 2:20 p.m. PDT."

Hello from Genesis II:

(A Fish-Eye View Of Earth)

And last, but not least is Virgin Galactic, which is the most recognized of the bunch.

From their site, "Virgin Galactic is the world's first spaceline. Giving you the groundbreaking opportunity to become one of the first ever non-professional astronauts. Virgin Galactic will own and operate its privately built spaceships, modelled on the remarkable, history-making SpaceShipOne":

"The press conference unveiling the design for Spaceport America, the New Mexico facility from which Virgin Galactic intends to launch paying customers on suborbital spaceflights, was originally going to be held on July 27. The day before, however, a tragic explosion killed three engineers at a test facility in California operated by Burt Rutan's Scaled Composites, the company building Virgin's spacecraft."

It's a dangerous business, but I'd sure like to try it out anyway...


Blogger Maggie said...

Your toy box keeps growing.I always knew you were a "far out" guy.
Guess I'll wait for God's Plane Air ride.

September 18, 2007 10:17 AM  
Blogger Bunny said...

Ha, ha...Good one, Maggie!!

Better start saving up now for that space trip, Jack! I've no interest in such a trip, but I am acquainted with a few people who are already "out in space," and they needed no aircraft to transport them there!!

September 18, 2007 10:37 AM  
Blogger Hawkeye® said...

You can't fool me. The Genesis Project was designed to change dead barren moons into living planets. I saw it in Star Trek 2 & 3. Here's the video...

Genesis Video

September 18, 2007 12:33 PM  
Blogger benning said...

Funny, how far we've some. Seems only about 50 years since the US was trying to develop a way to take-off from a runway, achieve orbit, and land safely. Then we got panicked by Sputnik, and scrapped it all for cumbersome rockets.

And now we're back to what we'd experimented on at the very beginning. The Bell "X" series is new again! Yay!

I'll wait until I have an extra million before I sign up. Hope they have the bugs out by then.

September 18, 2007 1:12 PM  
Blogger Jake said...

I love this stuff. I have always been fascinated with space exploration. I can't say that three minutes in space seems worth it to me for a quarter mil, but I suppose it would be pretty cool as long as I had a window seat. What interests me a little more is NASA's for a moon base and a colony on Mars. Not sure if I'll be around when they're offering the moon as a tourist destination, but I suppose this three minute trip into space is the first major step toward popular space tourism. There is something about us as a species that causes us to look upward and outward to something bigger than ourselves or just the next big discovery. I have a little of that bug in me. Hope you can make the trip, Jack. Better start fundraising now!

September 18, 2007 2:44 PM  
Blogger Ms RightWing's Ink said...

Far from me to pooh, pooh all of the stories of flying machines. To many old far, er stinkheads, died laughing at the wagon trains, Wright Brothers and so forth.

Man will always strive for more and more when it comes for exploration and challenges.

Although I am to old to take advantage of the future, I say go for it.

P.S. What is with Scrappleface today, nobody can post. Scott is just leaving us in the dust with his speed.

September 18, 2007 5:06 PM  
Blogger camojack said...

My "toy box", eh? Heh.

Yeah, I guess so.

Maybe when the price comes down...a LOT.

You know how it is with new technology.

That Genesis Project doesn't happen for centuries yet. :-)

We have come quite far in our lifetime, huh?

I'd wait until I had millions before splurging like that, also.
(Not that I ever will)

I've always been fascinated with space exploration as well. Blame it on Star Trek, I guess.

For $275K, they're all window seats, but still too expensive for my tastes. The people who'll be doing that will be the ones with obscene amounts of discretionary income, like the Hollywood celebrities and multi-millionaire sports figures.

Who knows, you might still be around when it becomes more affordable to we common folks.

Ms RightWing:
Someday, maybe, there'll be people living in places besides Earth.

I'll probably wait for "God's ride", too.
(As Maggie put it...)

September 18, 2007 8:16 PM  
Blogger Grant Jones said...

The pictures are up, thanks again.

October 04, 2007 4:00 PM  
Blogger camojack said...

No worries; my pleasure...

October 09, 2007 8:06 AM  
Blogger Cassandra said...

You're going to hate me for asking this, but I wonder if they've solved the exploding boobs in space issue yet....

October 21, 2007 1:07 AM  
Blogger camojack said...

Hate you, mon cher? Jamais!

I think their concerns on that issue are overinflated...as it were. Heh, heh.


Now I can post something new; I know just the thing, too...

October 21, 2007 3:57 PM  

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