Ascender Spaceplane Development Model Makes First Flight

19 May 1998

[Ascender Model]


The successful first flights have taken place of a radio controlled development model for the Ascender spaceplane. This model will be used to validate the low speed aerodynamic design. Ascender itself could be flying to space within three years and carrying passengers on space experience flights within six to seven years. The required investment is comparable to the cost of buying just one jet fighter off the production line.

It offers the UK the opportunity of now taking the lead in slashing the cost of space transportation, and in making flights to space available to the general public. Discussions are taking place with potential strategic partners in order to start full development.

NASA and the Space Transportation Association have recently published their joint study of General Public Space Travel and Tourism. It says that:- “Now the dream of very many of us during the Apollo era that we could some day take a trip to space for out own personal reasons is finally approaching realization.” The study refers to the pioneering work of Bristol Spaceplanes Limited in this field.

A spokesman for WildWings, the Bristol based adventure travel company which has started taking bookings for space flights, said today:- “Ascender is the leading candidate for creating a revolution in the way we carry out space business. It is a more realistic and supportable project than its several US competitors“.

A spokesman for Bristol Spaceplanes Limited said today: “Technology has now advanced to the point that it should be possible to bring the cost of a launch down to a thousandth of what it costs to launch the US Space Shuttle today. As a result, industrial firms and commercial organisations in both the US and Japan have started to show serious interest in space tourism. One estimate suggests that there is a business worth �6 billion in Japan alone. We want to make sure that Britain is in at the start, contributes and benefits“.

For further information please visit, or contact David Ashford, Bristol Spaceplanes Limited, (Tel. 01454 613907)