da Vinci’s new project

New Scientist is on the scene at the ISPS in Las Cruces and reports that The da Vinci Project (or, more accurately, “The GoldenPalace.com Space Program – Powered by the da Vinci Project”) has unveiled designs for a new series of suborbital passenger vehicles. The XF1 is a single-person design that would initially be launched from a balloon (like the project’s original designs), but could later take off from a runway under jet engine power. The XF2 “Excalibur” is a two-passenger version that takes off from a runway and fly to 160 km altitude, while the XF3 “Valkyrie” would carry seven passengers and two pilots and be air-launched from a plane (similar to SpaceShipTwo). All these vehicles would be operated by a new venture called DreamSpace. The XF1 would be ready to fly as soon as the end of 2007, with the XF2 to follow in 2008 and the XF3 in 2010. However, the article makes no mention of how much funding (if any) da Vinci/Dream Space has lined up to actually develop and fly these vehicles. (The da Vinci Project web site doesn’t have any information about these new vehicles.)

SPACE.com’s Leonard David has an overview article about day 1 of the ISPS. Other than the da Vinci announcement it doesn’t sound like there was much in the way of news from the conference.

Update: the DreamSpace Group has a web site will illustrations of the XF1.

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