In More Detail
Space travel today is very expensive–it costs a few tens of millions of pounds to send up an astronaut. This is because all launch vehicles to date have used large throwaway components based on ballistic missile technology. Imagine how much motoring would cost if cars were scrapped after each journey!
It is clear that an airliner that could fly to orbit would transform this situation. It could provide an airline service to orbit and open up large new markets, especially tourist visits to space hotels. What is less well known is that in the 1960s most big aircraft companies in Europe and the USA studied spaceplanes in depth. There was a consensus that spaceplanes were the obvious next step and that they were just about feasible with the technology of the day.
They were not developed then because of Cold War pressures, and the design teams were allowed to disband. Today, this knowledge has been largely forgotten and spaceplanes are not on the agendas of space agencies. The main obstacle now is the power of traditional thinking.
The founder of Bristol Spaceplanes is one of the few involved in the 1960s spaceplane studies who is still active in the field. As a result, we have been able to work up a highly competitive strategy for spaceplane development that leads to large new markets at low technical risk and with a very good return on investment.
This involves a step-by-step development sequence of spaceplanes, starting with a small suborbital one, Ascender, and working up to a large orbital one, Spacebus. Each design would help to dent the mindset, improve the technology, and gain the credibility needed to find the funding for the next one on the sequence. As soon as space agencies, satellite operators, and tourism companies take our proposals seriously, they are likely to happen because the case is so strong.
Ours is the only coherent plan on offer for slashing the cost of access to space! You can help by taking an interest.
Check our designs out below: