Print 37 comment(s) - last by ARoyalF.. on Sep 25 at 7:37 PM

Researchers working on aircraft that would send tourists out into space faster than the speed of sound.

The ultimate adventure ride could be coming soon to an airport near you.  It's called "Skylon" and the special aircraft is being developed for commercial use to carry tourists out into space within the next ten years. 

Skylon would take off from a standard airport runway and travel at more than five times the speed of sound, according to the
 Telegraph and Daily Mail. The revolutionary aircraft was developed by Reaction Engines, with support from the new UK space agency. 

The 270 foot-long spaceplane is unpiloted, has no external rockets, and has two engines that use hydrogen and oxygen to propel it more than 18 miles out of the Earth's atmosphere.  

The propulsion and attitude control are provided using computer systems while in orbit.  The engine uses the propulsion to reach the edge of the Earth’s atmosphere before switching to rocket power.

The aircraft – which can can remain operational in orbit for up to seven days – would take off from an airport, fly out into orbit, and then land on the runway. The craft is expected to carry up to 24 passengers into space at a time, revolutionize space travel, and cut costs. 

The reusable spaceplane is intended to provide inexpensive and reliable access to space within a decade.  

"Access to space is extraordinarily expensive, yet there’s no law of physics that says it has to be that way," said Technical Director and one of the founders of Reaction Engines, Richard Varvill. "We just need to prove it’s viable. The simple truth is that the Earth is part of a much bigger system."

In the future, Skylon could be used in place of NASA's Space Shuttle to transport astronauts and cargo to the International Space Station.

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RE: This is cool
By FaceMaster on 9/20/2010 7:16:41 AM , Rating: 3
Cool, that's on-topic. Also, it's my birthday in a month, I'm so happy because I'll get presents and might go to the fairground :)

RE: This is cool
By NullSubroutine on 9/20/2010 8:14:28 AM , Rating: 5
I found a dollar once.

RE: This is cool
By bespoke on 9/20/2010 12:49:43 PM , Rating: 4
I can see a tree outside of my window.

RE: This is cool
By Complinitor on 9/20/2010 4:33:24 PM , Rating: 3
Green jellybeans are wonderful. I have a cat. The car is blue and goes zoom-zoom.

RE: This is cool
By Outris on 9/21/2010 11:24:47 AM , Rating: 2
How do you spell colonoscopy...

RE: This is cool
By Dorkyman on 9/24/2010 6:39:26 PM , Rating: 2
You can put a cherry on top of "Espresso Madness" ice cream, but you wouldn't want to eat it.

RE: This is cool
By ARoyalF on 9/25/2010 7:37:28 PM , Rating: 2
I'm disappointed, where's the BS political rhetoric and global warming jibber jabber at? Someone at least blame one of the last 5 U.S. presidents for the sun being hot or something. Sheesh.......

"My sex life is pretty good" -- Steve Jobs' random musings during the 2010 D8 conference
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