China’s Suborbital Space Tourism Ambitions Heat Up as Two Companies Seek to Challenge Blue Origin & Virgin Galactic

CAS Space crewed suborbital vehicle in flight. (Credit: CAS Space)

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

Two Chinese companies — CAS Space and Space Transportation — are pursuing the suborbital tourism market, with the former closely copying Blue Origin’s fully reusable New Shepard vehicle and the latter developing a winged vehicle that could be adapted for hypersonic point-to-point travel between distant locations on Earth.

CAS Space, a.k.a., Guangzhou Zhongke Aerospace Exploration Technology Co., Ltd., is developing a single-stage reusable rocket that lands under its own power topped with a capsule that descends under three parachutes.

(more…)

Suborbital Spaceflight by the Numbers

New Shepard launches on its 21st flight of the program on June 4, 2022. (Credit: Blue Origin)

Part II of II

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

The first half of 2022 was a busy period in suborbital space with 23 launches conducted that did not involve tests of ballistic missiles or defensive systems. Twelve people flew above the Karman line, new boosters and space technologies were tested, and the first commercial suborbital launch was conducted from Australia. And some science was done.

We covered the above mentioned flights in depth in a story published on Tuesday. In this piece we’ll look a broader look at who launched what, when, where, why and on what.

(more…)

A Busy Six Months as Suborbital Spaceflight Comes Into its Own

New Shepard lands after the NS-21 flight. (Credit: Blue Origin webcast)

Part I of II

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

For decades, the suborbital launch sector was largely a backwater. Militaries tested ballistic missiles, scientists conducted experiments, and engineers tested new technologies. A sounding rocket is small potatoes compared with orbital rocket launches and the glamor of human spaceflight. Few people paid much attention.

All that has changed in recent years as Virgin Galactic and Blue Origin and their billionaire owners — Richard Branson and Jeff Bezos — started launching themselves and others on suborbital joyrides. Startups have been conducting suborbital flight tests of new orbital launch vehicles designed to serve the booming smalls satellite market. Suborbital has become a much more interesting sector.

This year has been no exception. The first half of 2022 saw Blue Origin send 12 people into space on two New Shepard flights, a Chinese company conduct six launches in a program to develop aa suborbital spaceplane and hypersonic transport, South Korea and Iran perform flight tests of three different smallsat launchers, Germany test technologies for reusable rockets, and first-ever commercial launch from Australia. And, a great deal of science was done.

(more…)

FAA to Hold Meeting on Space Transportation Center of Excellence on Feb. 25

A public meeting will be held on February 25, 2010 at the Crystal Gateway Marriott Hotel, 1700 Jefferson Davis Highway, Arlington, Virginia to discuss the FAA COE for Commercial Space Transportation. This meeting is being held as a follow-on meeting for all interested parties unable to attend the public meeting held on February 9th due to weather conditions.

Contact

Kristen Piotrowski
FAA William J. Hughes Technical Center
Atlantic City International Airport, NJ 08405
Telephone: (609) 485-5163

Slide presentations (PDF) from the Feb. 9 meeting.











Embry-Riddle to Collaborate with FAA on Space Transportation Research

faa_logo

EMBRY-RIDDLE PRESS RELEASE
November 2, 2009

The Space Shuttle’s fast-approaching retirement is opening up new opportunities for commercial space transportation, and Embry-Riddle is making strides to support the industry’s growth under a new collaboration with the FAA’s Office of Commercial Space Transportation. A new agreement with the agency identifies five space transportation topics that can be supported by Embry-Riddle faculty and student researchers:

(more…)