Huntsville AL (SPX) Feb 18, 2011
Space Operations, Inc. has announced plans to build a two-seat manned orbital spacecraft for commercial and government use. The company plans a test launch on February 20, 2012, with a regular flight schedule beginning in late 2012 or early 2013.
The Eclipse spacecraft will utilize the highly successful legacy Gemini technology that was developed by NASA to allow SOI to bring this product to market in a very short time frame.
"We will incorporate modern materials and the latest proven technologies into the design to improve performance. This design was flown successfully 13 times back in the sixties, 10 of those missions were manned," said James Hopkins, company CTO.
"The technology will allow for land recoveries and quick refurbishment for future missions," said Hopkins. In addition to the crew, the Eclipse will be able to carry approximately 10,000 pounds of cargo into orbit.
The company will utilize the services of other commercial rocket manufacturers to launch the spacecraft.
"America needs a manned space flight capability based here in the U.S. now, not in four or five years," said Craig Russell, company CEO. A former Air Force pilot and retired airline pilot, Russell has been developing the business model for five years.
"We identified the prime contractor and sub-contractors to build the vehicle last year."
The company will use the spacecraft to service different sectors in the orbital space market including satellite servicing and repair; satellite deployment; space tourism, including space walks; new space station construction/re-supply; and space debris de-orbit.
The company is seeking investors to participate in this tremendous growth opportunity in commercial space flight and interested parties to purchase seats on the first few flights.
"The purpose of the first few missions will depend on who is first to put a deposit on the seats," said Chris Gattis, company President. "We're going to space in 2012, we're looking for others to go with us."
Space Operations Inc. (SOI) is located in Madison, Alabama near NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center and the U.S. Space and Rocket Center.
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