Misc: PD Aerospace spaceplane progress + Updates on Georgia and Colorado spaceport projects

NewSpace Watch
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Launch
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September 2, 2018

An update on PD Aerospace of Japan, which is pursuing development of a winged suborbital rocketplane for space tourism and research payloads: Japanese startup aims for commercial space travel in 2023 – Kyodo News

The Nagoya-based company plans space flights to an altitude of 110 kilometers by the spacecraft, capable of carrying six passengers and two pilots, at a price of 17 million yen ($153,000) per person.

Currently, 11 workers at a plant in Hekinan, Aichi Prefecture, are working to fly an unmanned test vehicle to an altitude of 100 km.

“We would like to open a new space era (with the spacecraft),” said Shuji Ogawa, the 48-year-old president of PD AeroSpace.

Last summer, the company successfully carried out a combustion experiment of the spacecraft’s pulse detonation engine, which is switchable from an air-breathing mode to rocket mode.

PD Aerospace spaceplane

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Two articles about commercial spaceports, one proposed and one that just got a license:

Camden County, Georgia, right on the border with Florida, has a big idea for its future. Its leaders have spent millions trying to get a license from the FAA to launch rockets from a spaceport they don’t yet have.

County officials are confident this will be an economic boon, but not everybody’s convinced.

After the release of the draft environmental impact statement an unprecedented 15,000 comments were submitted, according to the FAA. The vast majority were form letters from advocacy groups. Previous spaceport draft statements had received hundreds.

The environmental evaluation process is designed to make sure the proposal is in compliance with the National Environmental Policy Act, after which the FAA will make a decision about a launch site operator license.

However, no changes will likely be made overnight. Ruppel stressed that the spaceport is run just like any other business and won’t be developing dramatically until more clients fly out of Watkins.

The FAA will also have to OK the space planes before they can be based in spaceport hangars. That will bring another round of environmental and safety analysis and a period of public comment that could prevent any space tourism or travel in Colorado.

“As with anything that is new like that, there’s going to be resistance to it because people don’t really understand it,” Ruppel said. “It either seems crazy, like it’s science fiction, or it seems scary because it’s an unknown.”

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