Astrium space jet
Aerospace and satellite company Astrium this week gave VIPs a peek at its plans for a jet (shown in this illustration) that it plans to use to send adventurous travelers into space. A life-size model of the aircraft went on display to a select group this week in Paris, leading up to the Paris International Air Show, which will be held at the Le Bourget airport from June 18 to 24.
The aircraft will seat four passengers and climb to a gut-wrenching 62 miles above Earth to give space tourists a few minutes at zero gravity, not to mention an out-of-this-world view of their home planet.
Astrium says it will spend the rest of this year finalizing design plans and forming industry and financial partners, with an eye toward kicking off development next year and running flights beginning in 2012.
In addition to one-off space trips for adventurers, the company says its jet could play a significant role in the future of space flight. Astrium says its jet could be a precursor to a system of point-to-point vehicles, enabling people to quickly travel long distances into space.
June 14, 2007 2:52 PM PDT
Photo by: EADS Astrium/MasterImage
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