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REUSABLE SPACECRAFT FOR ORBITAL TOURISM

Published by Sigurd De Keyser on Wed Sep 15, 2004 7:07 pm
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en.rian.ru: MOSCOW, September 9 (RIA Novosti) – At the World EXPO-2005 show in Japan Russia will present a model of the reusable sub-orbital spacecraft for space tourism, reads web-site www.vor.ru, said a spokesman of the Myasischev Experimental Engineering Plant, where the space ship will be built to the order of joint-stock company Sub-Orbital Corporation. The maiden flight of the rocket-assisted glider may take place early in 2005. A ticket for the flight will cost about $100,000, which is 200 times less than the amount first space tourist American Dennis Tito paid for his flight to the International Space Station, said the agency’s interviewee.

The glider can climb over 100 kilometers and will provide the pilot and two passengers with all “fascination of zero-gravity” for 5-10 minutes. The total sub-orbital flight will last for about an hour from take-off to landing. The spacecraft will be mounted on the fuselage of the M-55 Geophysia aircraft that will lift the glider to the altitude of 17 kilometers. At the speed of 750 kilometers per hour, the rocket-assisted glider will detach from the aircraft, start its own hypersonic engines and head for its own flight to the lower bound of the space.

Tourists will climb over the stratosphere and will be able to feel zero-gravity. Then the spacecraft will turn right round, making an aerobatics stunt called the roll, so that the passengers could enjoy the space views through the cockpit’s illuminators, and start controlled descent. The glider will land on an airfield in the automatic mode on extending landing gear. As an alternative, the spacecraft can land using a paraplane.

The work over the spacecraft also involves the Gromov Aerohydrodynamic and Flight Test Institutes in the Moscow region’s town of Zhukovski, the Moscow Aviation Materials Institute, Molnia Scientific Development and Production Center and the Institute of Biomedical Problems, where flight candidates will go through initial medical examination.

Zvezda Scientific Development and Production Center works over space suits and ejection seats, which constitute backup emergency rescue system for the pilot and tourists.

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