Europe Developing Planes For Space Tourists
Astrium, the aerospace division of the European Aeronautic Defense and Space Company (EADS), has developed concepts for Vinci, a luxury space plane about the size of a business jet which will give a few lucky tourists a chance to experience zero-g and suborbital flight.
Vinci will take off and land like a normal plane, but will ignite a methane and liquid oxygen rocket engine and propulsion system when it reaches about 12 kilometers above the surface.
Check out their video after the jump for a glimpse of what you could enjoy if you ever decide to blow your entire life savings in one day. (Or rather, the two hours that the trip actually lasts.)
For such an exciting venture, the first thing I noticed was how mellow I felt while watching it. I really enjoyed the dramatic shots of the sharply suited space tourists, but was confused when it contrasted with the soothing synth pop. I think they were trying to go for new-age and futuristic, but really, it sounds like bad 80′s elevator music. If I were them, I’d choose something more exciting and adventurous, like anything from this list.
Otherwise, this encapsulates perfectly what I would imagine I would do given the chance to experience a few minutes of weightlessness: slow motion swing dancing, revolving gently in place by myself, and spilling complimentary drinks on purpose to watch it float around while grinning inanely…
Yeah, not really.
What I, and any sane person, would actually do is take advantage of the brief moments of zero-g to practice my best Dragon Army moves (the enemy’s gate is down!) and then audition for the upcoming Ender’s Game movie.
Regardless, judging from the perpetually enraptured expressions frozen on the faces of the “space tourists” and the cushy retro-looking seats, this would be the trip of a life time. Don’t pull out that credit card quite yet though, EADS has stated that it’ll probably be another seven years before the actual thing comes out.