Europe’s Bold Entry into Space Tourism

EADS rocketplane design

Your ride to space may not come from a scrappy startup after all.

In June, the Astrium division of the behemoth European Aeronautic Defence and Space Company (EADS), after Boeing the largest aerospace company in the world, released its own design for a small tourist spaceship.

If it looks familiar, you’ve been paying attention: The design is basically a copy of the Rocketplane XP, a converted business jet that’s being built by the small Oklahoma company Rocketplane.

Two years ago, managers and engineers at EADS Astrium sat down to examine the business case for a suborbital tourist ship. They looked at the main concepts under development by the start-ups, including SpaceShipOne‘s midair launch from a carrier plane and Armadillo Aerospace’s vertical-takeoff-and-landing rocket.

Source:  Popular Science

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