Space Adventures took a step closer to making its space tourism a reality this week when its partner, Armadillo Aerospace, conducted a successful rocket flight test out of Spaceport America in Albuquerque, New Mexico. The company tested proprietary launch technologies using a reusable sub-orbital rocket called STIG A.
“The flight successfully demonstrated many of the technologies that we need for our manned sub-orbital program,” said Neil Milburn, vice president of program management at Armadillo Aerospace.
After watching a video of the launch, I imagine such a flight would be quite stressful on the human body, but I suspect the manned version will be vastly different from the rocket seen in the video below.
Designed, built, tested and preformed by students from the School of Aeronautics and Astronautics at Purdue University, the test flight also studied a liquid and gas flow process sensitive to the stresses encountered during spaceflight. The rocket shot up to 137,500 feet, where a parachute deployed and brought the vehicle down to the ground. And while the landing may appear random, a designated landing area is calculated based on the launch parameters, so you shouldn't worry about these types of rockets falling out of the sky.
In addition to suborbital flights, Space Adventures plans to offer orbital flights, lunar missions, zero gravity flights and other space experiences. Several other companies are working toward making commercial space travel accessible to the general public, including Xcor Aerospace and The Spaceship Company — a joint venture between Virgin Galactic and Scaled Composites.