ATK’s big Liberty push

An illustration of the cargo module capability for the ATK/EADS Astrium Liberty system announced earlier this week. (credit: ATK)

Some people noted earlier this week an article by Talking Points Memo (TPM) reporting that NASA plans to make selections in the next round of its commercial crew effort, the Commercial Crew Integrated Capability (CCiCap) […]

ATK and Astrium unveil a full-fledged Liberty transportation system

Illustration of the ATK/EADS Astrium Liberty system, featuring the Liberty rocket and a crew capsule. (Credit: ATK)

Early last year Alliant Techsystems (ATK) and EADS Astrium unveiled a new launch vehicle called Liberty, using a five-segment solid rocket booster built by ATK for the lower stage and a modified Ariane 5 core stage built […]

A review of space tourism in Europe

I was on vacation last week in London, but that did not stop me from making a visit to the Royal Aeronautical Society last Tuesday for their “Space Tourism: A New Industry in the Making” conference. I’ve written up some highlights of the conference in The Space Review this week.

One of the bigger developments […]

What does Astrium’s decision mean for suborbital spaceflight?

Rob Coppinger reported this week that Astrium has put on hold “indefinitely” its plans for a suborbital spaceplane. Astrium, a division of European aerospace giant EADS, announced plans for the “space jet” at the Paris Air Show in 2007, but there had been little visible progress in the vehicle’s development since then, beyond some propulsion […]

Video: Whitehorn assesses the competition

Below is a brief snippet of Will Whitehorn’s speech at the FAA Commercial Space Transportation Conference on Friday. In this segment Whitehorn examines some of the other ventures developing suborbital vehicles, including Rocketplane, EADS Astrium, Blue Origin, XCOR, Armadillo Aerospace, and Copenhagen Suborbitals, a little-known Danish firm developing a very minimalist suborbital system. Whitehorn’s theme […]

Virgin, Surrey, and Astrium

There was some coverage earlier this week of reports that Virgin Galactic and Surrey Satellite Technology Ltd. (SSTL) were teaming up to develop a small satellite launcher using a new rocket launched from WhiteKnightTwo, the aircraft being developed to launch SpaceShipTwo. Virgin has been interested in some time in developing a small satellite launcher using […]

ISPS Day 1 wrap-up

(The picture above doesn’t have anything to do directly with the conference, it’s just a nice view of the Moon rising around sunset Wednesday as seen from the conference site in Las Cruces.)

Yesterday’s sessions of the International Symposium for Personal Spaceflight didn’t have any groundbreaking revelations, but there were still some interesting developments […]

More on EADS’ suborbital vehicle plans

Some reaction (and clarification) on the EADS Astrium announcement this week about its plans to develop a suborbital vehicle for space tourism markets:

Burt Rutan, contacted by, doesn’t think much of the plan. He thinks it, and other rocket-powered aircraft that take off from a runway under rocket or jet power, will be more […]

EADS reinvents Rocketplane

Yesterday the European aerospace company EADS Astrium announced its proposal to develop a suborbital vehicle to serve the space tourism market. While this is a new design, the concept of operations is almost identical to what Rocketplane Global has been developing for several years: a vehicle the size of a business jet that takes […]