Now China wants to go into space tourism. Already in a few years China’s leading manufacturer of launchers will offer flights to a height of 130 km. Passengers will experience weightlessness of up to four minutes.
On the 67th International Astronautical Congress, which was held in September in the Mexican Guadalajara, the audience at the lecture by Lui Haiquang should have gotten big eyes. The scientists stated that China had the intention to build a new spaceship. For space tourists. Plans for different versions are already in the drawer. The big plan: a flyer which can bring up to 20 persons on 130 km height. That would be significantly more than the existing players in the market for space tourism announced.
The pilot should start vertically and automatically land
Developers and builders of the new space glider, which doesn’t yet have a name, is that with Beijing-based China Academy of launch vehicle technology (CALT). CALT is in Chinese State-owned, but operated by contractors and has approximately 27,000 employees in several research laboratories.
As one of the leading providers of launchers, CALT has built the long March rockets. Academy director Han Pengxin looks positively entering the space tourism market, like the magazine New Scientist reports. The demand, Han Pengxin, believes is strong enough, to build a large space ship with 20 people.
In the draft, the plane looks like a rocket with wings. Special: He can launch vertically from its own resources. A launcher that brings the ship to a certain height, is so unnecessary. After the flight the spacecraft on the return will land automatically, without that engages a pilot on board or a ground crew, said Han. Burning would the plane liquid methane and liquid oxygen.
Great version could put small satellites into space
So far, the CALT team developed two versions of the missile, which can be reused up to 50 times. The small version has 10 t mass and a wing span of 6 m. This version should be able to 5 passengers to an altitude of 100 km – there starts officially to space – with a speed of Mach 6 to bring the border.
Two minutes were weightlessness including. The same design in the large format had a wingspan of 12 m at 100 t mass could bring 20 people with Mach 8 to 130 km height and weightlessness give the passengers of four minutes.
The large version is also capable of using a mounted rocket stage small satellites into orbit. This additional service, the price for a flight may decrease, says Han. So far, he estimates the cost to 200,000 to 250,000 US dollars per flight. For “Bosses and businessmen” the project was very attractive, cited the new scientist from the Conference paper.
Competition for Jeff Bezos and Richard Branson
Whether all this is technically possible and in just two years, the first test flights can begin, as announced by Han Pengxin, is discussed in New Scientist with a degree of skepticism. With security but the two other big players in this business will be watching the development of the project: Amazon founder Jeff Bezos has to demonstrate some success in terms of safe landing new Shepard with his company blue origin and the rocket.
Richard Branson, CEO of Virgin Galactic, has not given up after failures and with its VSS unity presented a new space shuttle for space tourists.