ESA and European space tourism

The European Space Agency (ESA) is taking a small step to promote the development of a European space tourism industry through a small-scale initiative announced Thursday. The “The Survey of European Privately-funded Vehicles for Commercial Human Spaceflight” will allow European companies planning vehicles intended to serve the space tourism market to submit proposals through ESA’s General Studies Program; three of the companies will receive awards of up to €150,000 (US$190,000) to further develop their plans. “The aim of the study will be to critically review the spacecraft design and mission profiles, ensuring they are technically feasible, and develop sound business plans in order to allow companies to approach potential investors,” the ESA study notes. Given that there hasn’t been too much vehicle development activity in Europe to date that has been focused on space tourism (former X Prize contenders like Starchaser and Bristol Spaceplanes in the UK and ARCA in Romania), one wonders if this project will stimulate some new plans on the continent.

2 comments to ESA and European space tourism

  • […] MSNBC’s Alan Boyle checks in with PlanetSpace, one of the lesser-known space tourism companies. PlanetSpace evolved from Canadian Arrow, one of the two Canadian X Prize entrants (The da Vinci Project being the other); Canadian Arrow planned to develop a vehicle similar to the V-2 for suborbital spaceflights. Most of the focus of the report is on the company’s “Silver Dart” orbital spacecraft, which was proposed for NASA’s COTS program but did not make the cut. Still, the company is proceeding on several fronts, including negotiating a Space Act agreement with an unnamed NASA center, working with the Canadian Space Agency on plans for an orbital spaceport in Canada, and may get involved with ESA’s space tourism initiative. […]

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