The Manchester based Starchaser has rolled out its prototype and they hope to give the Rutan/Branson team a run for the pole position in suborbital tourism.
They intend to launch in 2007 and follow up with a manned launch in 2008. Their spaceship can carry 3 passengers to 100 miles at 98,000 Pounds Sterling (US$183,000) for the half hour flight.
“The race is on,” he said. “This is a new space race. We’re building the vehicles, we’re building the hardware, we’re building capsules, we’ve done manned drop tests of capsules, we’re building engines,” he said. “We’re really going for it. You know we’re not just buying a ready made system from someone else so we have more control over what it is we do and I think we’re going to probably beat him to the punch.”
I am guessing I will see them at Las Cruces a few weeks from now, perhaps running their engine in a less spectacular fashion than last year.
Richard Branson has ‘rolled out’ the interior concept for the Virgin Galactic/Scaled Composites SpaceShipTwo:
“It won’t be much different than this,” Branson told reporters here at Wired Magazine’s NextFest forum. “It’s strange to think that in 12 months we’ll be unveiling the actual plane, and then test flights will commence right after that.”
Meanwhile, Anousheh Anseri has returned from her week aboard space station Alpha and UP Aerospace is retrieving their sounding rocket payloads after a launch which failed to reach suborbital altitude.
There may soon be some other news much closer to home 😉