Thursday, March 27, 2008

Rocketplane Acquires a New Test Pilot

Wow, what a week for space tourism!

And what a week to not have time to write about it!

Seriously, folks, I feel kind of pinned down here! This week has been a treasure-trove of news about space tourism, but at the same time, I have a new roommate moving in, I'm in the beginning stages of starting a new business, and several other changes have been occurring with my life (more on all those later), and I have had no time to write about any of this! But I intend to turn that around, one piece of news at a time. I'll start with a bit of news I learned about Sunday; Rocketplane Global has made some organizational changes, including having Paul Metz join the company as Vice President and Chief Test Pilot.

Rocketplane Global was founded in 2001 in Oklahoma City, OK, and they opened their first office in May 2004. Since then, they have grown to over 60 people, mainly designing the planned Rocketplane XP spacecraft. If you think that's not enough people, I would remind you that SpaceShipOne was designed and built by around 120 people, so it's definitely possible.

Rocketplane's immediate plans are the design of the XP, but their long-term plans involve the development of a fleet of various vehicles for suborbital and orbital tourism, and also ultrafast point-to-point travel. The XP itself is expected to be a single craft design, with jet engines that allow it to take off and climb into the atmosphere, and a rocket engine to allow it to climb into space.

Rocketplane is also in development of Spaceport Oklahoma, located near the town of Clinton. Spaceport Oklahoma, located on the Clinton-Sherman air force base, includes the third longest runway in North America and serves as an alternate landing site for the space shuttle.

Paul Metz, before becoming Rocketplane's test pilot, was a test pilot for Lockheed Martin, and earlier in his career, he was a US Air Force fighter pilot.

Beyond these items, information about the company's progress in developing of their space program is sparse, but it appears to be active and advancing, so I'll keep an ear out for more!

Progress: 3.89%  Flight Time: 0:05:50

No comments: