China is all set to build the world’s biggest space plane by the end of 2020. The aircraft would take 20 people 80 miles above Earth into the stratosphere which give tourists 4 minutes of weightlessness. The plane has been developed by the China Academy of Launch Vehicle Technology in Beijing.
The idea of the plane and its working was presented at the International Astronautical Congress held in Guadalajara, Mexico last month. According to its developer, the plane will take off vertically just like a rocket and it will land like a normal aircraft on the runway.
The developer team presented two ideas for the aircraft — a smaller aircraft and a larger aircraft. The smaller aircraft weighs around 10 tonnes and has a wingspan of 19.6 feet (6 metres). While the larger plane weighs over 100 tonnes with a wingspan of 40 foot (12 metre). The smaller aircraft can carry five people to an altitude of 62 miles while the bigger aircraft has can carry 20 people to a height of 80 miles.
‘The test flights will be finished in the next two years, because almost all of the ground tests have been finished and all the subsystems of the test vehicle worked very well,’ Han Pengxin said.
One thing is for sure, the journey will not be inexpensive and it will not be for everyone. People with deep pockets will be able to experience the journey to space as predicted estimates of ride are between $200,000 and $250,000 (£160,552 and £200,690).
Some other researchers from the world appreciated the concept of space plane but were sceptical as the plan wasn’t presented in much detailing. However, the aircraft maker believes that more and more people want to enjoy space and are willing to spend fortune for the life time experience. Moreover, the project is ‘very attractive’ to ‘ bosses and businessmen’.