China plans to make world’s largest space ship by 2020. It is a part of the space tourism business. In fact, in International Astronomical Congress in Mexico last year the country mentioned the project.
Britain’s weekly magazine, New Scientist published that a Chinese institute, Chinese Academy of Launch Vehicle Technology has already designed the blueprint of the plane.
“The vehicle will take off vertically like a rocket and land on the runway automatically without any ground or onboard intervention,” team leader Han Pengxin has stated.
They are developing two versions of the space plane. The smaller will accommodate five passengers. As a matter of fact, it will upend the space tourist industry.
However, Paul Marks writes in New Scientist about how the:
“…scaled up 100-tonne version, with a 12-metre wingspan, could fly 20 people to 130 kilometers at Mach 8, giving 4 minutes of weightlessness. That larger spacecraft is fast enough to help deliver small satellites into orbit, with the help of a small rocket stage add-on that would sit on top of the vehicle. And that payload-carrying capability will reduce tourist ticket prices, says Han. They also intend to make it reusable, so each plane should be good for up to 50 flights.”
Han says the project could be a reality surprisingly soon. He further says, “The test flights will be finished in the next two years because almost all of the ground tests have been finished and all the subsystems of the test vehicle worked very well.”