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  Wednesday, October 16, 2019
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The privately owned American SpaceShipOne was a technical sensation this fall
The privately owned American SpaceShipOne, which made two manned flights (September 29 and October 4) to an altitude of more than 100km, was a technical sensation this fall. The rocket glider did not make a full orbit around the Earth, it only "peeped" into space for several minutes and returned. However, this event signifies an important step toward the creation of the space tourism industry, reported the newspaper Trud. In the opinion of Vladimir Khodakov, head of the Central Research Institute of Machine-Building, a State Prize winner, Russia had chances to be the first to develop space tourism. In March 2002, the Myasishchev Experimental Plant in Zhukovsky, Moscow Region presented a full-size model of the Cosmopolis-XXI shuttle for space tourism. The three-seat 3.5 metric ton spaceship is about eight meters long. A M-55 Geofizika aircraft, made and tested at the same plant in the '90s, lifts the shuttle to a height of 17km. After separating from the aircraft, the shuttle uses a rocket engine to reach an altitude of 50km and then under its momentum, 101km. At the design stage, Russia was ahead of all foreign corporations. The first flight of the shuttle was planned for 2004. In March 2002, the press reported: "Russia will be the first in the world to launch a spaceship for space tourism." More than 100 people entered their names in the list of those who wanted to be on such flights. The project called for only $60-$70 million. According to Mr. Khodakov, this was more than the Americans spent, but the Russian spaceship's safety level was much higher. "Unfortunately, our businessmen did not show a desire to make such investments in the project [they prefer to buy yachts and soccer teams]," he said. "As a result, the Americans launched the first sub-orbital shuttle."
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