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Rocketplane unveils new XP design
Posted: Sat, Oct 27, 2007, 7:39 AM ET (1139 GMT)
Rocketplane XP design as of Oct. 2007 (Rocketplane Global) Rocketplane Global revealed on Friday a new design for its XP suborbital spaceplane that the company plans to have flying in 2010. The new design eliminates the Learjet heritage that had been the previous basis for the XP in favor of a design with a larger cabin that can accommodate five passengers and a pilot. More powerful jet engines will allow the XP to fly to 12,000 meters altitude before igniting its rocket engine, about twice the altitude of the old design. Company officials said that they are currently raising an unspecified amount of money for the vehicle to fund its development, with test flights slated to begin in 2010. Rocketplane Global's parent company, Rocketplane Inc., also operates Rocketplane Kistler; that company lost a funded COTS award from NASA earlier this month that would have supported the development of a completely different orbital vehicle, the K-1.
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