Astronauts and space tourists could one day be sharing an armrest as they hurtle toward outer space under an agreement announced Wednesday between aerospace giant Boeing Co. and a private spaceflight marketing firm.
Under the deal, Space Adventures of Vienna, Va., will market passenger seats aboard the seven-person spaceship that Boeing is developing in Huntington Beach. It is designed to fly atop a variety of launch vehicles and is expected to be ready to go by 2015, Los Angeles Times reports.
Space Adventure's chairman Eric Anderson enthused: "We are excited about the potential to offer flights on Boeing's spacecraft. With our customer experience and Boeing's heritage in human spaceflight, our goal is not only to benefit the individuals who fly to space, but also to help make the resources of space available to the commercial sector by bringing the value from space back to Earth."
The CST-100 could, funding permitting, make its first test flight in 2014 before going operational in 2015. It's a seven-astronaut reusable vehicle designed to ride on "multiple launch vehicles", then parachute back to Earth a la Apollo capsule, although it will come gently to rest on terra firma with the assistance of airbags, rather than in the sea, Register says.