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|Description||Ascender is designed to be the first sub-orbital aeroplane since the X-15, and the first ever to carry passengers to space. It would start a sub-orbital space tourism business that would build up the credibility needed for full orbital tourism. It is based on a design included in a feasibility study for the European Space Agency. Four leading British aerospace companies took part in this study, Dowty Aerospace Limited, Dunlop Aerospace Limited, Pilkington Aerospace Limited and Ricardo Aerospace Limited. The UK Minister for Space commissioned an independent review of this study that "did not identify any fundamental flaws" in the concept.
Ascender uses proven materials and existing engines. It takes off from an ordinary airfield using its turbofan engine and climbs at subsonic speed to a height of 8 km. The pilot then starts the rocket engine and pulls up into a steep climb. When the rocket fuel is used up Ascender is climbing close to the vertical at a speed of Mach 2.8, from which it coasts to a maximum height of 100 km. Ascender then enters a steep dive. On reaching the atmosphere the pilot pulls out of the dive and flies back to the airfield from which he took off 30 minutes previously.
Span 7.9 m Length 13.7 m Maximum Speed Mach 4.5 Maximum Altitude 100 km Take-Off Weight 4500 kgEngines 2 x Williams-Rolls FJ44 and One Pratt & Whitney RL 10
|Date||1 November 2006, 01:40|
|This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic license.|
|This image, originally posted to Flickr, was reviewed on December 30, 2007 by the administrator or reviewer File Upload Bot (Magnus Manske), who confirmed that it was available on Flickr under the above license on that date.|
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