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Space Knights? Virgin Territory for the Pentagon October 19, 2008

Posted by Nick Azer in NASA, private sector, space conflict, space tourism, spaceplane, Virgin Galactic.

The Times Online has a story today about the Pentagon planning a “spaceplane” that could deliver troops (or supplies) to an emergency zone within four hours.

Codenamed “Hot Eagle”, the craft is designed closely off of Virgin Galactic and Scaled Composites’ WhiteKnight craft, which Burt Rutan carried to a collection of the $10 million Ansari X Prize in 2004.

A government picking up on a private spacefaring design is an interesting precedent. Barack Obama, in his space plan, talked of using the private sector to “amplify NASA’s reach“; but this is a whole another level of interaction between government and private enterprise (and it’s happening already!).

The Pentagon hopes to have these craft in use within 11 years (2019). Check out the article for a lot more of the details and background.

One interesting angle (excuse the pun): these same craft could fly someone commercially from London to Sydney in four hours. Now that’s executive class.


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