EADS to offer tourist spacecraft by 2012

13th June 2007, Comments 0 comments

PARIS, June 13, 2007 (AFP) - The space arm of the European Aeronautic Defence and Space Company said on Wednesday it plans to have a space tourist plane in operation by 2012.

PARIS, June 13, 2007 (AFP) - The space arm of the European Aeronautic Defence and Space Company said on Wednesday it plans to have a space tourist plane in operation by 2012.

The vessel, which EADS plans to start developing next year, would provide tourists with a 90-minute suborbital flight, including three minutes of weightlessness at an altitude of more than 100 kilometres (62 miles), Francois Auque, the president of EADS Astrium, told reporters.

The fare could be "around 150,000 to 200,000 euros (199,000-265,000 dollars) for this suborbital flight, while it costs 25 million dollars for the few space tourists flying in the narrow capsule of the Russian rocket Soyuz," Auque said.

"We are offering a profitable system and have given ourselves until early 2008 to find industrial partners to share the risk, private investment of around one billion euros and an operator for the journey. We will not do it without that," he said.

EADS was to unveil a blueprint of the aircraft's cabin, in which four passengers would sit on hammocks, late on Wednesday to 2,500 guests in the French capital.

EADS hopes to take 15,000 passengers a year to space by 2020.

"We have ruled out the idea of a simple rocket, which can not be used again, or of a small vessel attached to a large plane, the idea chosen by Virgin Galactic of Richard Branson, but which seems to us less safe", said Robert Laine, the technical director of EADS Astrium.

The company said it was not concerned about entering the space race later than Virgin, which plans to make space flights from 2009, given "the qualities of the solution proposed by Astrium which can take off and land on any runway, and the possibilities of the market".


Copyright AFP

Subject: French news

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