EADS Astrium to Develop Suborbital Spaceplane With Singapore

EADS Astrium To Develop Spaceplane
Aviation Week

EADS Astrium has disclosed that Singapore will be a partner in its suborbital spaceplane program.

At the Global Space & Technology Convention in Singapore, EADS Astrium executives announced that Singapore will be building a small-scale demonstrator of the spaceplane and may be involved in developing parts for the commercial product. EADS Astrium is also hoping Singapore will ultimately have a fleet of its commercial spaceplanes stationed at Singapore’s Changi Airport.

Astrium Continues to Work on Suborbital Space Plane

Space tourism jet work continues
BBC News

The plane, which would make short hops above the atmosphere, was announced in 2007 and then almost immediately put on hold because of the global downturn.

But Astrium, Europe’s largest space company, says internal development work continues and it will spend a further 10m euros (£9m) on the concept in 2011.

“We keep the investment going,” said Astrium CEO François Auque.

“We continue to mature the concept, maintaining the minimum team, in order that when we find the relevant partnership we are ready and have progressed sufficiently,” he told reporters on Wednesday at the company’s rocket manufacturing facility at Les Mureaux just north of Paris.

Read the full story.

Lockheed Launches Spaceplane Prototype in NM; Spaceport America Predicts Launches in Q1 2009

Lockheed Martin conducted another test flight of a winged space vehicle from Spaceport America on Tuesday, LiveScience‘s Leonard David reports. A press release is reproduced below.

UPDATE: David reports that the prototype went out of control and was damaged to the point that it cannot be reused.

Spaceport America Press Release

LAS CRUCES, NM – New Mexico Spaceport Authority (NMSA) officials announced a successful launch of a test flight vehicle for Lockheed Martin by UP Aerospace from Spaceport America on Tuesday, August 12. The brief test flight was a non-public, unpublished event at the request of Lockheed Martin, who is testing proprietary advanced launch technologies.

“Today’s launch successfully lifted off at 7 a.m. local time at the beginning of our three-hour launch window. We are very pleased to be a small business partner with Lockheed Martin on their research and development technology programs by supplying low-cost, fast turnaround launch operation,“ said UP Aerospace President Jerry Larson. Today’s launch represents additional progress for Lockheed Martin, which did preliminary launch testing at the Spaceport in December 2007.

The latest launch represents yet another successful experience at Spaceport America, the nation’s first purpose-built commercial spaceport. “We are extremely pleased to host another launch by UP Aerospace, which continues to set the precedent for safe, practical commercial spaceflight at Spaceport America,” said NMSA Executive Director Steve Landeene. “The aerospace community increasingly understands the benefits offered by Spaceport America.”

Spaceport America is the nation’s first purpose-built commercial space facility. Spaceport America holds great promise for New Mexico’s economic future, and has been working closely with leading aerospace firms such as Lockheed Martin, UP Aerospace, Virgin Galactic, Microgravity Enterprises and Payload Specialties. With planning moving along rapidly, the NMSA currently projects that licensed vertical launches can begin in the first quarter of 2009 and that the terminal and hangar facility for horizontal launches should be completed by 2010.