Astrium Ready to Rocket

If space travel for tourists seems like a far-fetched fantasy available for a small few who are willing to pay millions for the experience, EADS Astrium is making it a reality for a broader audience. Astrium, part of Europe’s biggest aerospace company, is hard at work in Munich, Germany, on a rocket plane that is targeted to fly into space by 2012. The business-jet-size vehicle features luxury interiors designed by Marc Newson, with stylish canary-yellow seats and numerous windows to enjoy the view. The craft will carry four passengers more than 60 miles high, for three minutes of weightlessness (the seats fold away to free up a play area) and a spectacular view. Take-off and climb are powered by a pair of jet engines, then a rocket engine kicks in for the final boost. The trip is expected to cost about $300,000 per person. (www.astrium.eads.net)

? Mary Grady


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