China plans to develop world’s biggest spaceplane

commercial ship is going to be the biggest in the world, if it ever gets off the ground.

The spaceplane looks like a cross between a rocket and a jet plane. It will take off into near regions of space and then steer back down to planet Earth.

Rocket scientist Lui Haiquang presented the project at the International Astronautical Congress in Guadalajara, Mexico last week, telling attendees that the academy’s designs could be scaled up to accommodate more passengers. Team leader Han Pengxin tells New Scientist that ground tests are nearly finished, and that he expects test flights to be completed “in the next two years.” Han expects payload launches to begin by 2020, and if proven to be safe, the spaceplane could carry passengers for about $200,000 to $250,000 per ride.

There are other companies that are into space tourism and building spaceplanes such as Virgin Galactic, XCOR, and Blue Origin. The Virgin Galactic is designing a spacecraft called SpaceShip Two that offers six tourists. Meanwhile, XCOR has the Lynx vehicle that could carry a single tourist seated beside a pilot. Blue Origin also has the New Shepard, a space capsule that could carry six passengers. These indicate that the academy has a spaceship with much higher capacity.

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