Skylon to Reduce Orbital Vacations to Only $500K By 2025

Thunderbirds are go – thanks to Bristol brains
This is Bristol

Engineers from [Bristol] university are working on the Skylon project, a sleek, futuristic rocket that can take off from a conventional aircraft runway and could pave the way for relatively cheaper journeys into space.

Developers estimate commercial flights on Skylon spacecraft could be available within the next 15 years, and would cost you a minimum of $500,000 (£350,000) a seat.

Skylon will be able to take 20 passengers but there will be two tiers of customer; half a million dollar seats are for those who are up for 10 days while those who want a longer holiday into space of a month or so will pay $3 million for a bed.

Skylons would fly into space from spaceports similar to existing commercial airports, ideally based near the equator to benefit from an extra kick from the Earths gravitational pull.

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Europe’s Skylon Rocketplane Could Mean Super-Cheap Space Launches
Fast Company

Sabre is a hybrid engine of a different kidney: In “aircraft mode” it inhales air like a normal jet engine, but the air is super-cooled by a special heat-exchanger and then burned in a rocket engine with hydrogen fuel. When the Skylon reaches the vacuum of space, the air intakes are closed off, and the engine reconfigures itself to burn stored liquid oxygen and hydrogen like a conventional liquid-fueled rocket.

As a result, the vehicle doesn’t have to carry as much fuel stores to reach orbit–picture the huge external tank of the Space Shuttle system, that still doesn’t contain enough fuel to get the orbiter into orbit, hence the solid rocket boosters that make the familiar Shuttle launch shape.

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