"The profile of the vehicle is very similar to a rocket-propelled vehicle," Sippel explained. "We only have a small corridor in which we can fly safely and economically."
SpaceLiner's design will make use of study results from a FAST20XX (Future High-Altitude High-Speed Transport 20XX) project funded by the European Union and backed by researchers from Germany, Austria, Spain, Switzerland, Italy, Belgium, the Netherlands, France and Sweden. It can also draw lessons from upcoming efforts such as Project ALPHA by Aerospace Innovation GmbH — a space plane that aims to launch in midair from an Airbus A330 aircraft.
But future success ultimately depends upon the success of space tourism efforts by companies such as Virgin Galactic. If enough people prove willing to pay top dollar for suborbital flights as part of their travels around the world, Sippel envisions a fleet of SpaceLiners eventually making 10 to 15 flights per day.
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