Bristol Spaceplanes Launches Crowdfunding Campaign

Ascender (Credit: Bristol Spaceplanes)
Ascender (Credit: Bristol Spaceplanes)

BRISTOL, England (Bristol Spaceplanes PR) — Bristol Spaceplanes are launching a crowdfunding campaign to bring their Ascender space plane to life and affordable space flights one step closer.

Space tourism is currently only an option for the wealthy, something that Bristol Spaceplanes are looking to change. Through crowdfunding, they hope to raise £10,000 which would enable them to build the first model Ascender space plane, plus raise awareness of the realities of space travel.


A Closer Look at the UK’s Commercial Space Review

Following the release of the document, “UK Government Review of Commercial Spaceplane Certification and Operations: Summary and Conclusions,” almost all media attention focused on one element of the report: the 8 candidate sites for the nation’s first spaceport.

This laser focus is easy to understand. The fierce, tooth-and-nail competition to land some big government project will be fun to watch. And spaceports are super cool. Well, they are when space planes are actually flying to space. When like a decade goes by with people promising imminent spaceflights without a single one taking place, spaceports become a lot less cool.  (I’m looking at you…everybody in Mojave!)

But, I digress. I went through the 80-page document and the 321-page technical report its based on so you don’t have to. Why would I do this? Because you guys are the best! You’re very welcome.

Key excerpts follow with commentary as appropriate. Read away!


Bristol Spaceplanes Carries Out Successful Rocket Test

Bristol Spaceplane's HPD engine test in the Mojave.
Bristol Spaceplane's HPD engine test in the Mojave.


Bristol Spaceplanes has carried out a strapdown test firing of the HPD (Hydrogen Peroxide Demonstrator) sounding rocket that will be used to test in flight a development version of the Ascender rocket engine.

The test was entirely successful. The engine is based on UK heritage technology and the production version uses hydrogen peroxide and kerosene as the propellants. The test engine is a development version that uses hydrogen peroxide only. The exhaust products are steam and oxygen, which is why there is no flame. A nose cone and fin will be added before the HPD rocket will be launched.

We have lift-off… how space travel is hitting the heights again

Reporter Chris Bond looks at the current state of space tourism in this article in England’s Yorkshire Post newspaper. The article focuses mainly on Sir Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic company, but it also includes a bold prediction from David Ashford of Bristol Spaceplanes:

“My projection is that we could have one million people going into space in the next 15 years. Once the programme gets underway costs will come down quite rapidly, perhaps down to as little as a few thousand pounds.”