New rocket plane due to fly within two years.

Lynx: drives women wild

American space plane manufacturer Xcor Aerospace has announced that their Lynx space plane will be ready for launch by 2010. Like other similar commercial space plane projects around the world the firm believes that rich people with a death wish will pay a fortune to experience a few minutes worth of weightlessness in a sub-orbital flight.

You wouldn't get Triple P up in one of those.

The Lynx only has room for one passenger plus the pilot so you can't even join the sixty mile high club in it (unless you are very fond of the pilot).

EADS Space Plane. Looks exactly like..a plane.

The Lynx, like the EADS announced space plane, will take off like a conventional aircraft and then once it has reached a certain altitude will fire rockets to boost it up to sub orbital height.

Inside Virgin's SpaceShipTwo. Would you want to be trapped in here with beardy Branson?

Richard Branson's Virgin Galactic plane uses a different method and will be carried on the back of a larger plane to get it up to altitude.

Not exactly elegant.

But will they have stewardesses to give you a zero g neck massage?

This is also the method of choice for the mysterious reputed US Government Blackstar space plane.

The XB-70 Plenty of room on top.

Many wondered why the SR 71 Blackbird was retired in 1990 and theorists think that the US had a super-secret replacement pulling together a launch plane based on the notorious XB70 Valkyrie bomber and the NASA Dyno-soar orbiter.

Me 163

The first rocket plane was the German Messerschmitt interceptor although there was a proposal to produce a manned version of the A4 (essentially a V2 rocket with a cockpit) which was never realised. Probably just as well!

Proposed German A4 rocket plane

Agent Triple P can't help thinking that these space planes are to space flight what those waterline reef observatory boats are to submarines, i.e. not the real thing. If you really want to get into space then you have to pay the Russians £25,000,000 to take you up in a proper rocket.

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