Tuesday, December 20, 2005

What is the Rocketplane?

RocketPlane Ltd, Inc. has its money on a suped-up jet capable of sub-orbital flights, launched from Spaceport Oklahoma, which boasts the third largest runway in North America at 13,502 ft.
Although not well-known as a hub of Space-related activity, Oklahoma has been aggressively seeking space technology companies since before the creation of the Oklahoma Space Industry Development Authority in 1999.
Rocketplane Ltd, Inc. has done quite a bit to secure its place at Spaceport Oklahoma, including qualifying for heavy tax incentives of up to 60 percent for investors, and promoting the spaceport's use to other launch companies. To date, more than a dozen space tech companies have expressed an interest in using the Oklahoma facility and infrastructure, once it's completed.
The Rocketplane XP itself is a fairly straightforward spacecraft. It's based on a conventional jet design with a delta wing and V-tail, powered to space by a time-tested, LOC kerosene fueled Rocketdyne RS-88 engine de-rated to 36,000 lbs of thrust to increase life expectancy.
The ship will use conventional thrusters to lift itself to 22,000 feet, the pilot fires up the rocket and propels the craft to about 62 miles altitude before bringing it down for a horizontal landing. Time elapsed: about 45 minutes.
Tickets are expect to range from $150,000 to $200,000 when they go on sale, but Rocketplane officials are not saying when that will be, but most likely some time before flights are expected to begin in late 2007...

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