While there are many space firms are attempting to bring the universe to the masses (at least the moderately wealthy ones), very few of these companies have "the right stuff" to survive this increasingly crowded market.
With the competition heating up in the space tourism arena, Rocketplane Global has recently redesigned their spaceship in order to increase the number of passengers flying on board.
(MSNBC) The redesigned XP space plane could start flying in 2010, depending on the results of a final round of fundraising, said David Faulkner, program manager for the suborbital project. [...]
The main difference is that engineers dropped the idea of retrofitting a commercial Learjet with a rocket. Instead, they redid the design from scratch to make the fuselage 10 percent wider, Faulkner said. That provided enough extra room to add two more seats to the craft's original four-seat configuration — boosting the potential revenue from each flight by more than 60 percent.
"The market's really matured, and we took a hard look at the business plan," Faulkner said. "It made more sense to go with five passengers, and the Lear just wouldn't support that."
Rocketplane Global (which is a separate entity from its dying sister, Rocketplane Kistler) is aiming to secure its share of the upcoming space tourism market. But with a quarter of a million price tag, they may have a harder time securing clients.
Funding pending, the company may be able to give Virgin Galactic a run for its money, having already secured a spaceport in Oklahoma.
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