The Wright Brothers invent the first aeroplane.

The beginning of air travel.


The Soviets launch Sputnik

The beginning of the space age.   Throwaway launcher (very expensive to fly).


Most large aircraft companies study orbital spaceplanes

Aeroplane-like, fully reusable, potential for low operating cost.   David Ashford takes part.

1970s – Now

Orbital spaceplanes not built

Initially because of Cold War priorities and then because of the power of the throwaway habit.


Bristol Spaceplanes is born


First orbital spaceplane

Fully reusable. No new technology. Airline service to orbit. The beginning of everyday spaceflight. You could afford to fly in a spaceplane! Our Spacecab is the only project on offer designed for this!