EU, US partners plan 'low-cost' space launcher

February 8, 2011
A picture released by Astrium in 2007 of a possible future tourist spaceship. The European technology firm is teaming up with US company Alliant to make a "low-cost" space rocket launcher that could one day take tourists into orbit, the Wall Street Journal reports.

European technology firm Astrium is teaming up with US company Alliant to make a "low-cost" space rocket launcher that could one day take tourists into orbit, the Wall Street Journal reported on Tuesday.

It said the companies plan a 300-foot (91-metre) launcher dubbed "Liberty" to take and scientific payloads into space for about $180 million (132 million euros) a time, 40 percent cheaper than some current launches.

The newspaper said the project's backers hope to gain funding from US space agency for the project, which they say could lead eventually to commercial projects such as orbiting hotels for space tourists.

Astrium, a subsidiary of defence giant EADS, is the main maker of the Ariane commercial rocket, used to launch satellites. US firm Alliant Techsystems is a leading maker of space shuttles.

The companies hope to test the new "low-cost commercial launcher" as soon as 2013, the report said.

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d_robison
1 / 5 (1) Feb 08, 2011
This is very good news. As with the Mercury, Gemini, Apollo and later programs I believe this will help pave the way for some great new technologies and research. I was fairly disappointed (but understanding) with the delay (or is it cancellation now?) of the Ares rocket and the cancellation of Constellation. Oh, and yes I do realize that NASA isn't behind this program and that it is mostly private industry.
rwinners
not rated yet Feb 09, 2011
mmm Filthy Rich tourists, yes...

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