Thursday, June 14, 2007

Can EADS Astrium Open Up Space Tourism For Everyone? Authentic NASA Toys and Replicas

With the space tourism industry heating up it looks like the big three (Virgin Galactic, Benson Space and Space Adventures) will have a new competitor in the race--EADS Astrium.

While all four space companies desire to send humans beyond the earthen skyline, only two of them (Virgin Galactic and now EADS Astrium) are embracing the "airplane to rocket" approach.

But what sets EADS Astrium apart from the competition can be summed up in three words--location, location, location!

(Astrum Press Release) The Astrium space jet will take off and land conventionally from a standard airport using its jet engines. However, once the craft is airborne at an altitude of about 12 km, the rocket engines will be ignited to give sufficient acceleration to reach 100 km. In only 80 seconds the craft will have climbed to 60 km altitude. The highly innovative seats balance themselves to minimize the effects of acceleration and deceleration, ensuring the greatest passenger comfort and safety. The rocket propulsion system is then shut down as the ship’s inertia carries it on to over 100 km, where passengers will become one of the very few to experience zero gravity in space.

The pilot will control the craft using small rocket thrusters enabling passengers to hover weightlessly for 3 minutes and to witness the most spectacular view of Earth imaginable. After slowing down during descent, the jet engines are restarted for a normal and safe landing at a standard airfield. The entire trip will last approximately an hour and a half.

By utilizing the airports of everyday citizens EADS Astrium has the potential to setup a spaceport in every nation allowing citizens everywhere to enjoy the benefits of space flight. The ticket cost is similar to that of Virgin Galactics, ranging from 150,000 t0 200,000 Euro.

Although integrating the jet and rocket ship may be wiser, it looks as if the decision will be a lot more expensive as estimates for building these vessels is approaching a billion euro's.

Either way, it should present an interesting alternative for space travelers, and will hopefully make traveling towards the heavens as common an mundane as traveling over seas.

Image Credit: Marc Newson Ltd, via EADS Astrium.

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  1. This EADS space tourism thing is just utter nonsense. $1.2 billion development cost, only four passengers and at almost $400,00 each. There is no business case and they are no willing to invest their own money. No wonder they are so far behind technically and on the verge of bankruptcy.


  2. Hey Anonymous,

    $400,000 each? I thought 150,000-200,000 Euro converts to $200,000 to $270,000 per person, at least according to

    Either case, this EADS does have the potential of making spaceports almost as common as airports.

    And hopefully with economics to scale, the price will eventually be affordable to the common citizen.


You can either visit the stars or watch them from afar.

But if you choose the former, you'll definitely get a better view.

~Darnell Clayton, 2007

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