Monday, January 5, 2009

Catch-Up: Armadillo Teams Up with the Rocket Racing League

While I've run across references to the Rocket Racing League several times through following space travel news, I haven't mentioned them because I hadn't found anything that connected them in a significant manner to the space tourism industry. That has now changed.

The Rocket Racing League, owned by Rocket Racing, Inc., started primarily as an entertainment company. They support the development of rocket-powered aerial vehicles, which then race against each other. The stated ambition of the league is to one day race spacecraft against each other. The development toward this goal has in recent years contributed to advances in the spaceflight industry, and it has been speculated that the group is a good candidate to get involved in the space tourism industry.

And now it's official. In late October, a joint venture was announced between Rocket Racing Inc., Armadillo Aerospace, and the government of New Mexico to develop a vertical-takeoff-and-landing (VTOL) spacecraft with the capability of sending two tourists into space at or below the price of $100,000 each. These spacecraft would take off from Spaceport America in New Mexico, and would allow tourists to float freely with a 360-degree view of their surroundings.

If this spacecraft actually gets built and used as stated, I may switch my personal ambitions from Virgin Galactic's offering to this one. Besides SpaceShipTwo, this is the only proposed space tourism craft that would allow people to float freely, and this one would have a much better view. And at half the price, that little purple bar at the bottom of my posts would get much bigger.

The spacecraft would basically be a modified and scaled-up version of that which Armadillo has slowly been planning for years. Here's a picture!

Progress: 4.03%  Flight Time: 0:06:05

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