15 March 2002
News - Tourism (Good)
Sub-Orbital Space Tourism Moves Closer
New Russian spaceplane and frequent flyer miles announced
by Alan Breakstone
A new Russian spaceplane for sub-orbital space tourism
is under development, and your airline frequent flyer
miles could help you to ride it into space.

The Myasishchev Design Bureau (builders of the Soviet
Buran Space Shuttle), the Cosmopolis XXI Suborbital
Corporation and Space Adventures, Ltd., announced on
March 14 the debut of the Cosmopolis XXI Aerospace
System (C-21), a spacecraft designed specifically for
sub-orbital space tourist flights. The full-scale mockup
of the reusable launch vehicle ( RLV) was unveiled at the
Zhukovsky Air Base outside of Moscow. Test flights for
the C-21 are expected to begin by 2004.

The rocket-powered C-21 will carry one pilot and two
paying passengers on a sub-orbital space flight,
reaching altitudes of over 62 miles (100km). The C-21
rides piggyback atop its off-the-shelf carrier aircraft,
the Russian M-55X jet, which takes the spaceplane above
most of the denser atmosphere. At that point, the C-21
separates from the jet and ignites its rocket motor.
At the peak of its parabolic trajectory, passengers will
experience several minutes of weightlessness and see the
Earth from space. Four days of space flight orientation
including centrifuge, zero-gravity and high-altitude jet
flight training, as well as safety and onboard system
lessons are expected to be required.

In a recent Space Adventures study reported in
SpaceFuture, the sub-orbital space tourist market could
generate revenues of over $1 billion annually. Space
Adventures has over 100 sub-orbital reservations and is
currently accepting bookings for sub-orbital flights
departing by 2005 at $98,000 (U.S.) per seat.

"Sub-orbital flights are central to the space tourism
industry," said Eric Anderson, President and CEO of
Space Adventures. "The demand for these flights already
exists, now it is just a matter of developing affordable
aerospace systems like the C-21."

In a bid to make flights aboard the C-21 and other
tourist spacecraft more accessible to the public, US
Airways and Space Adventures have formed a new business
agreement where US Airways’ Dividend Miles members will
have the opportunity to earn and redeem frequent flyer
miles for space tourism. US Airways is the world’s first
airline to offer mileage accrual and redemption for
space travel.

In addition to an actual flight to space, US Airways’
Dividend Miles can be earned and redeemed for Space
Adventures’ zero gravity and supersonic high-altitude
jet flights, as well as astronaut-led shuttle launch
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Alan Breakstone 15 March 2002
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