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My Trip In Space


Rocketplane XP

The Rocketplane XP spaceplane is taking reservations for highflying adventurers who want to go where few men have gone before. The Rocketplane XP is a combination of spacecraft and airplane.

Rocketplane XP

Rocketplane has engineered the XP so that it utilizes both jet engines as well as a rocket engine to propel it into suborbital heights and achieve a safe landing. You can hop in the Rocketplane XP spaceplane and start your flight on a modified Learjet 25 (plus delta wing and V-tail) from the Oklahoma Spaceport. You will then fly to about 40,000 feet using the two J-85 jet engines.

So far, the trip is pretty normal as you'll know if you have ever flown in a plane before. Nothing should feel any different until the pilot flips a switch and fires the rocket engine, propelling the pilot and passengers at 3,500 feet per second.

This rocket engine is reusable, meaning that it does not drop away and need retrieving like that of a traditional spacecraft. The Rocketdyne RS-88 rocket engine will make the Rocketplane XP soar to over or 62 miles high where it will enter suborbital space and low Earth orbit.

This will result in the passengers experiencing a few minutes of weightlessness and awe-inspiring views. They will be able to get a glimpse of the Earth that only a few astronauts have ever seen.

The select few can finally observe the vast place that we live in with a super eagle eye view, rather than in pictures or on TV. Once the weightlessness time has elapsed, the Rocketplane XP will start on its way back to Earth.

The Rocketplane XP's jet fuselage has been specially designed with a thermal protection system that will safely transfer heat away from the spaceplane upon reentry. The jet engine will pick back up at about 30,000 feet and bring the Rocketplane back to its beginning location in Oklahoma.

The Rocketplane XP will be able to carry a pilot and three passengers. The first 25 passengers can expect to pay a ticket price of $250,000 for the initial voyages. Each passenger thereafter can expect to purchase a ticket for $150,000 to $160,000. Rocketplane expects that about 200 people a year could go up in the XP, with the potential for more.

Besides the cost of the ticket, there are other hurdles that the Rocketplane XP must overcome. Other roadblocks in Rocketplane's way could be lawyers, insurance agents and the government. And then, there are the technological hurdles of modifying the Rocketdyne RS-88 rocket engine from NASA so that it works well in conjunction with a Learjet.

Right now, the Rocketplane XP is in the trial stage. The company spent about 10 years doing the background work and now that they have a working model, they are testing it out. The first set of space tourist flights are scheduled for early 2009.

The Rocketplane XP is more economical and efficient than any spacecraft that NASA has at it's disposal or most other developing space tourism companies as well. The XP uses oxygen from the atmosphere during takeoff instead of stored, compressed and liquefied oxygen that the traditional rockets use. The Rocketplane XP rocket engine, however, is fueled by liquid oxygen (LOX) and kerosene to propel it into low earth orbit.

The XP also has a single body, where the traditional spacecraft have several pieces, and some are ejected once they have been utilized. This new spaceplane has everything it needs right now onboard.

The goal for Rocketplane is to one day make a spaceplane that will enter orbital space, but that may take many years of research and test runs. Keep an eye out for this company and their XP spaceplane for further developments as the countdown to low earth orbit continues.


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