Rocketplane Global Out of Bankruptcy, Seeks Funding for Space Plane

The Rocketplane has been revived.

Rocketplane Global, which went under two years ago, is out of bankruptcy and searching for about $100 million in investment to build its six-passenger suborbital space vehicle.

Speaking at the Next-generation Suborbital Researchers Conference in Palo Alto, Calif., Vice President of Business Development Chuck Lauer said the firm came out of bankruptcy last  year under a new Wisconsin-based holding company called Space Assets, LLC. Original backer George French is involved in the new venture.

Space Assets was the winning bidder in an auction in December for the assets of Rocketplane’s Kistler parent company, Lauer said. Those assets included Rocketplane Global’s trademark and intellectual property.

The plan is to raise funds to build the space vehicle and to fly it out of Europe and Asia on wet lease arrangements, Lauer said. A subsidiary, SpaceLinq N.V., has been established in The Netherlands to handle European operations. The vehicle would fly out of spaceports in Holland and Barcelona, Spain. A Spacelinq company also will be set up in Asi. 

Lauer said that the investment climate in the United States remains poor, so the company is seeking investment overseas.

Space Assets has a plan to launch suborbital payloads using modified F-104 fighters from Florida in order to bring in revenue. He said that service should be made operational in about two years.

Rocketplane Global declared bankruptcy in 2010 after spending about $25 million to develop the business-jet sized space plane. The company was awarded $17 million in tax credits from the state of Oklahoma for operating at the Burns Flat spaceport.