Pioneering plan for low cost satellite launches revealed
A Swiss firm has unveiled radical plans to launch a space shuttle from the top of an Airbus passenger jet.
Swiss Space Systems says the system will be a far cheaper way to launch satellites – and says it can sell launches for £7m, around a quarter of the price currently charged.
The firm claims its system, which could launch satellites weighing upto 250kg, could take to the air in 2017.
The Swiss Space Systems launch model uses an Airbus A300, an aircraft already certified for zero gravity flights, to take the shuttle up to 10,000m on its back.
Once it reaches this height, the shuttle will be launched to take it to an altitude of 80km, when the spaceplane doors open and put the satellites into orbit.
Once this operation has been completed, the shuttle will return to earth by gliding towards its launch airport – and can be reused.
‘Our launch programme benefits from the input of technologies previously developed and certified through original partnerships between major players in the aerospace sector such as the European Space Agency (ESA), Dassault Aviation, the Von Karman Institute and Sonaca,’ said the founder and CEO of S3, Pascal Jaussi.
The firm also plans to build its own spaceport in Payerne, although says in theory it could launch from any airport.
via Daily Mail – MARK PRIGG
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